Hats Off

Updated! Searching for cable news truth, they read johnny dollar’s place…but don’t want you to know about it. A not-very-shocking exposé.

The hat-tip is an internet tradition. Here is how one site describes it:

A hat tip is an acknowledgment to someone who contributed to an online endeavor. It is considered proper netiquette to offer a hat tip to someone who has drawn something to someone else's attention, assisted with the establishment of a website, and so forth. It is given as a gesture of respect and appreciation, and has come to be expected in many settings....Hat tipping is especially common in the blogging community, where linking and networking are used as tools to build blog audiences.

For these reasons you will often find hat-tips associated with the links published here at J$P, denoted with h/t or via and a link back to the site that published the information before we did.

A few weeks ago Buzz Feed published a collection of Terry McAuliffe videos; the first of these found Mr McAuliffe praising Fox News, and the hat-tip read ‘via Andrew Kaczynski’, the author of that Buzz Feed post. But the only contribution Mr Kaczynski appears to have made in regard to that video was removing some of the content--including two instances showing the logo and identification of ‘johnny dollar’s place’. That video was actually produced by this website, taken from a radio program (not ‘an interview on Fox News’ as Mr Kaczynski inaccurately describes it). We created and added the visuals, and the unedited result of our effort can still be found right here at J$P. After some twitter exchanges Mr Kaczynski added a link back to our original post.

This let us to wonder if some websites read J$P for cable news truth, but are reluctant for whatever reason to tell their readers. So for the past few days we’ve been conducting an experiment. We’ve been adding extraneous material to some of our links, additional characters that don’t affect how the links work but make them unique. Example, this unaltered link goes to the Drudge Report. So does this link, but it’s different: we’ve added ?tds at the end. The browser ignores the question mark and whatever follows it, so it works just like a standard link…but if this link turns up elsewhere we know it came from here.

Just today our friends at Mediaite did a story about Allen West joining Fox News. Their report is sourced to this story…look at that link and you’ll see the tell-tale ?tds at the end, just as we posted it earlier today. They got the story from J$P, yet there is no hat-tip. On Thursday Newsbusters published a piece about Comcast shareholder protests; it was sourced to The Hollywood Reporter. Again the ?tds identifies the link as the one we posted Thursday morning, but no hat-tip from Newsbusters to J$P. On the other end of the spectrum, The Huffington Post was happy to learn of the protest via our link, but just as reluctant to tell their readers that. As for the good people at Buzz Feed, who inspired this little exercise, here a tweet about CNN delving into reality tv programming. Sure enough, it’s the same ?tds link we published earlier that day. Again, no hat-tip to J$P, even though a few hours later the same Buzz Feed writer was tweeting multiple hat-tips to others.

And what of the highly respected TV Newser, a favorite source for industry insiders? They’ve been good with giving credit in the past, yet their report on the Comcast protest is based on our ?tds link to the Hollywood Reporter story. And just today they posted about Maria Bartiromo’s new agent, linking back to a Deadline report. You guessed it: another ?tds link they found on J$P this morning…but no hat-tips. Even Inside Cable News used one of our links without credit, but they knew what we were up to with our little experiment because we had told them.

The hat-tip is a widespread, near-universal practice on the interwebs. Yet it seems when we’re the source the hats come off, and for whatever reason some are reluctant to admit they get their news about cable news from johnny dollar’s place.

UPDATE: Email from Alex Weprin of TV Newser

The Comcast link came in through the tip box (so someone read it on your site and decided we should see it too!) but I definitely saw Bartiromo first through J$P. Hat tip added! Apologies sir, keep up the fine work. -Alex

Email from Tim Graham of Newsbusters

Sorry to offend. I'd simply say a colleague sent the link to about five of us. I decided to blog it, and the Hollywood Reporter IS the source. I respect your work, and I'm not averse to an HT. But usually it would be when someone gives it DI-rectly to me. I would have been more likely to HT the colleague who sent it to me, but we don't do much of that in-house. I pledge to HT you when I KNOW you're the tipster. Best of luck, TimG

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