Hat Trick, Part Deux

Searching for cable news truth, they read johnny dollar’s place…but don’t want you to. A not-so-shocking sequel to a not-very-shocking exposé.

Back in 2013 we conducted a little experiment. You can get all the details here, but the gist of it was to see who read J$P for our links, used them as sources for their own sites, but gave no credit to where they found them. We gave away the game, including how we were able to track the links we posted, and assumed that with all those felines out of the bag, that would be that.

But even after the whole thing was made public, the practice continued. So this time, armed with a new descriptor (?dtoc) we started tracking our links again, concentrating on sites that heavily covered cable news stories. Before we get into what we found, a few disclaimers for clarity. Nearly of the websites we name have given J$P proper hat-tips some of the time. Websites often have multiple writers, some of whom may be more scrupulous than others in acknowledging credit. And the appearance of one of our ?dtoc links isn’t proof that the website ‘stole’ it from us--it may have come from a reader’s tip, or from some other website who used it first. However, when the number of examples grows to a certain point, it becomes increasingly improbable that such possibilities can explain all those examples.

Submitted for your consideration: TV Newser, the leading website about broadcast news. They have certainly credited J$P a number of times, but this year alone we counted scores of occasions where our links were not hat-tipped. A few examples:
There’s more where those came from (as we said, ‘scores’), but you get the idea.

Not quite as prolific as TV Newser, but no slouch, is Inside Cable News. Again, despite crediting us sometimes, we get:
There are dozens more, but ICN has a way to go to equal TVN’s output.

And then there’s FTV Live. On occasion they have given J$P a hat-tip, but then there are all those other times:
With nearly as many instances as TV Newser, FTV Live is a strong player in the hatless competition. But at least they show some empathy for websites that aren’t given proper credit:
FTV Live is up! Just waiting for the other sites to start copying.
Although we haven’t closely tracked other sites, we’ve stumbled across a few items here and there. For example, Mediaite has a post about Greta with a J$P-sourced link (“took to her blog”). And this post from Matt Wilstein is an example of the twice-removed hat-tip. Mr Wilstein gives credit to Dorsey Shaw...who’s passing along a story he credited to J$P. But this one is another no-credit-at-all exemplar (link: “interview with TV Guide”). Meanwhile at Politico, this Dylan Byers post does not credit J$P (link: “show us the view from 30,000 feet”). And to show there can be J$P readers in the most unlikely corners, consider Ellen Brodsky’s newshounds, documented serial fabricators about Fox News. Here they eagerly pounce on a piece whose ?dtoc link (“Fox News Insider”) clearly came from J$P. Newshounds may not tell the truth about Fox, but at least they know where they can get it.

On the other side of the coin, we want to give a hat-tip of our own to several independent websites that have used stories and links from J$P and never failed to give the appropriate credit. Thanks to Carpe Diem and CNN Commentary for adhering to the highest standards of accreditation netiquette.

And with that our hat-tip experiment is over; we have no plans to revive it any time soon. Certainly not this year at any rate.
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