On Monday, Voice of San Diego investigative journalist Will Carless reported at length on the complicated topic of a local school district in big financial trouble for having relied on Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs). At the time, Joel Thurtell, a retired Detroit Free Press reporter who had broken the story a few months earlier on his blog and helped source the VoSD report, seemed fine with the well-researched VoSD feature.

The nature of Carless’ Poway reporting falls well beyond the realm of Internet “hat tipping.” Thurtell seemed to recognize this, linking to the VoSD article on Monday and deeming it “excellent.”

What a difference an outlet makes. Once Carless jumped to the national airwaves of CNBC on Tuesday and let a network host frame the Poway story as his scoop, Thurtell hit the roof. In a long, angry August 8 open letter to the network, Thurtell outlines the full chronology of his reporting efforts, his contact with Carless and the earlier acknowledgment of his Poway reporting by another California journalist. He is demanding a CNBC correction.

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