On Tuesday evening, shockwaves blasted through the Twitterverse as the Drudge Report website put up a siren and claimed to be dropping a bombshell that would rock this Presidential election. A story from The Daily Caller would be unveiled on Fox News at 9pm ET that Drudge calls the “EXCLUSIVE RELEASE OF ‘UNSCRUBBED’ OBAMA VIDEO.” Could this be the rumored “Whitey” tape? Could it be Obama dressed as Malcolm X for Halloween? WHAT COULD IT BE????
Drudge and The Daily Caller gave hints by releasing excerpts of what to expect when the tape aired. In doing this, it propped opened the door for people to rush online and try to find what was in the video before it even aired. Leading this charge were the muckrakers at Buzzfeed, who seemed to find the speech in a matter of minutes. Daily Caller’s media reporter, Jeff Poor quickly weighed in, tweeting, “Question: Why is @Buzzfeed working so hard to get to the smoking gun in this video? You guys can’t wait until 9 pm? Go have dinner… Relax ” Journos from all over Twitter took Poor’s bait and began arguing over who had the right to scoop this story. Politico’s Jake Sherman responded to Poor saying, “It’s called journalism. They want to be first. The name of the game.” He went on and tweeted, “Of course an outlet would try to chase it. Why not? We’re all competitive!” Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins weighed in and asked Poor, “Better question: Why are you waiting until 9:00 pm to publish the ‘smoking gun?’” Poor’s response was simply, “Umm.. because we can. But if you get off of Twitter, you might beat us by 9 if you keep up this great detective work.”
In the end, Tucker Carlson went on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night and aired the videos which, by most accounts, fell flat. So, who ended up with the scoop? Did Buzzfeed cross any journalistic lines? Or did The Daily Caller tip their hand too early?