The waters are getting muddied with the alleged sexual harassment story on Herman Cain. Since Monday, Politico has been getting loads of credit for breaking the news — on TV, online, and in print. The publication’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman broke the story and have been doing gobs of TV hits ever since.
But curiously on Tuesday night, Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau Chief David Corn pointed out a rather glaring omission from a NYT story by Jim Rutenberg, Jeff Zeleny and Mike McIntire on how much a Cain accuser was paid. Namely credit for the Politico reporters who broke the original story. Corn wrote to Zeleny on Twitter, “Good story re the Cain scandal. But why not one mention of Politico? Did I miss that?”
Weirdly, the NYT cites HLN and Fox News — so they do understand the concept of attribution.
Now we realize former Politico scribe Kendra Marr ripped off material from the NYT sans attribution. But tit for tat? Seems unusual for the NYT.
UPDATE: If you don’t watch yourselves you could find yourself on the receiving end of a condescending journalism lecture from NYT‘s Rutenberg, who is full of lame excuses. In a subsequent email he told me he doesn’t care that much but that he was explaining the “business of newspapering” for my benefit. Thank you very much, Jim — you’re a gem. So here it goes: “We wrote our story right up against our first print deadline,” he wrote to FBDC. “Credit to Politico was in our second (and it happens, last) edition story, as well as our online story as of some point last night, as we smoothed through the story between editions, which is how it works in newspaperland when news comes in late and close to the first deadline. I hardly think the newspaper has been stingy about credit on this story, which has taken on a life of its own now anyway.” Memo to Rutenberg: The fact remains, the credit was not in the first version of the story and should have been “smoothed” into that first version as a basic piece of information. Should you want to attend a really boring FBDC lecture on the matter, we can arrange it. My panel will be Ezra Klein and Lester Kinsolving. Jason Mattera will ambush but I can’t tell you when or it’ll ruin the ambush. It will be four hours.