It takes a certain amount of clumsiness to break something that’s already broken.
The Hill‘s Alexandra Jaffe broke the news yesterday that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was distancing himself from remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in,” Brown told The Hill. He was referring to Romney’s recently surfaced comments that labeled “47 percent” of Americans as people who feel “entitled” to government benefits.
Jaffe’s story was picked up by HuffPost, Political Wire and Politico, all of which attributed The Hill for breaking it.
The AP also picked it up.
Shortly after Jaffe’s story broke, AP reporter Steve LeBlanc wrote the same story, correctly paraphrasing Brown’s quotes. What was missing, however, was any attribution to The Hill.
LeBlanc’s story was updated later with actual quotes from Brown, the same quotes from Jaffe’s story. But LeBlanc’s article attributed them to a statement from Brown’s office. The first version of his story did not attribute to any statement.
Pictured is a screen capture of LeBlanc’s original story.
The Boston Herald‘s Hillary Chabot wrote the same story, attributing the same quotes to a statement. NYT did the same.
We requested comment from the AP media relations, LeBlanc and Chabot. A publicist is looking into it.
We’ve also sought comment from Brown’s campaign office to clarify if they sent out a statement with the same quotes after The Hill‘s story was published. But even if that is the case, the paraphrased version of LeBlanc’s story still did not cite The Hill for breaking the news.
UPDATE: AP’s Paul Colford explains…