The Mirror

Mediaite Columnist DEMOLISHES Politico Reporters For Not Properly Crediting Him

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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A bunch of male media reporters fighting?

Does the world of dick swinging media reportage get any better than this?

Mediaite columnist Joe Concha is taking a proverbial butcher’s knife to the reporters who stole a story he broke last week on MSNBC’s big, badly needed program shakeup. Three shows have been canceled — The Cycle, Now With Alex Wagner and The Ed Show — and Chuck Todd is returning with a one-hour program.

After Concha broke the news, some seven hours later, Politico‘s Mike Allen wrote it up as if he were the one reporting it for the first time. Except as both men knew, that wasn’t true. Allen congratulated Concha on his story and didn’t change a word in his famed and widely read Politico Playbook. He even — hilariously — called it an EXCLUSIVE.

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Allen’s colleague Dylan Byers also ran a story on the MSNBC mess later that day and also didn’t credit Concha, and this was now some 12 hours after Concha broke his story. Byers credited and linked to Allen, who did not break the story.

At the time, Concha was beside himself and blasted Politico in a new column, recounting the failed steps he took to get the reporters to properly credit him.

Fast forward a week.

Doofus MSNBC President Phil Griffin finally decides to “officially” confirm the news that had been out there for a week. Guess what’s happening? As initially reported by Concha, MSNBC is canceling three shows, Chuck Todd is returning to the network – gee, what a surprise!

Last week, Concha would not comment on the matter to The Mirror. This week, he had a few things to get off his chest.

“Dylan Byers is grossly irresponsible and should not be considered a serious media writer,” he told The Mirror Thursday night. “The bottom line is Mike Allen and Byers and Politico for that matter should be ashamed for stealing an exclusive that they know came from Mediaite first…as in eight hours and a week earlier first.

“Byers in particular has a horrible reputation in this industry as somebody who lifts and steals and credits himself with the work that others have done. The fact that I used to actually admire his work is an embarrassment. He deserves no respect and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to rethink his or her evaluation of his so-called work.

“And it’s not about me or Mediaite, but simply fairness and accuracy. Media is less trusted than ever before, and to see ego and self-importance trump right and wrong is both sad and disappointing.”

Byers declined to comment.

The larger issue here is independent confirmation versus reporting and timing. In some reporters’ minds, being first to an original story by a reasonable time frame means they should be credited with breaking the news. But others fall into a different camp — they think if they confirm the news on their own, then screw the man or woman who broke it first.

Some even believe it really doesn’t matter who broke what first. It’s just competition and skill — why should those things matter?

The Mirror has always subscribed to the former camp that believes crediting is not only a polite way to behave in the journalism profession, but a must. But some seasoned reporters vehemently disagree with me — hello there WaPo‘s Paul Farhi.

HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone got into a tangle with Concha on Thursday after Calderone reported the news on MSNBC. In his original story, he did not give Concha or Mediaite credit for first revealing the news last week.

Concha briefly knifed him on Twitter.

“Hey Michael — Please don’t tell me you’re part of the non-attribution crowd too,” he wrote. “I reported the Cycle cancellation last week. …  So you’re an advocate of claiming exclusives seven hours after like Mike Allen? Ok- congrats on your Cycle scoop. Quality work. …I also love the whole Chuck getting his own MSNBC show was something The Huffington Post reported last week. Pure comedy.”

Calderone didn’t seem to care.

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But after the ugliness on Twitter, Calderone contemplated the matter and swiftly altered his story to credit Mediaite with first breaking the story.

Asked why he changed his mind about giving Mediaite credit, he told The Mirror, “On Thursday afternoon, I broke the news on Twitter that MSNBC officially axed ‘The Cycle’ after Phil Griffin notified staff. I then quickly wrote up a post on ‘he Cycle’ and honestly didn’t think it merited going back to credit Mediaite since I myself wrote on the coming changes last week. But after Joe’s complaint on Twitter, I thought about it, and reconsidered. Mediaite should get credit.”

If Calderone’s error deserved — at best — a $25 traffic ticket, the New York Times, as usual, was felonious in its behavior toward the story.

On Thursday, the NYT‘s John Koblin reported the news as he’d broken it, as if it hadn’t already been reported one week ago. In his story, he selfishly links back to a NYT story, saying the changes at MSNBC had been in the works for two months.

The story he linked back to, however, concerns Brian Williams returning to MSNBC — not the fact that three programs, as Concha originally reported, were being canceled and Chuck Todd was returning.

Concha appreciated Calderone’s change. “Professional stuff by @mlcalderone for updating his MSNBC changes story to include attribution to Mediaite,” he announced on Twitter Friday morning. “Much appreciated & admirable.”

Media reporting can be so heartwarming.