Monday, March 23, 2009

R-J Finally Realizes Its Own Scoop! Well, Sorta.

[UPDATE, 7 a.m. PT, 3/24: The Sun's Lisa Mascaro has a piece in today's newspaper that fails to acknowledge the origin of this controversy, the R-J column by Howard Stutz. That, too, is inappropriate. If it had originated from the AP or Politico or the LA Times, she absolutely would have. Print media for far too long have been incapable of acknowledging their competitors' roles in how fast-moving news breaks. It's one reason the print media's credibility is losing ground to the Web, where even news-gathering bloggers almost always link to one other's work. -sf]


So here I am, getting MGM and the Sen. Reid on the record deciphering the tale that was merely hinted at in Howard Stutz's Review-Journal column yesterday. And between Jon Ralston and me, we bring it out that the Senate Majority Leader did, in fact, call banks on MGM Mirage's behalf to try to finance the rest of CityCenter.

The world starts to take notice. The Los Angeles Times and Politico.Com both write about it, crediting Ralston and/or me.

And finally, FOUR hours after I break this news here, along comes the R-J not just declaring this "Breaking News" but also pretending as though nobody else had done any journalism in the matter. Remember, of course, that I *always* provide credit for what the R-J or anyone else has come up with. If I discover I'm wrong in claiming to be first on something, I fix it with ALL-CAPS RED TYPE.

But there's the R-J, still pretending it's the only entity in the media universe. If Stutz had understood what gold he possessed, he would have called MGM and Sen. Reid's office before he even ran the allegation. So, Howard, don't go pretending that you had this awesome scoop and knew it and did all this great journalism to advance it. You get credit for mentioning the hint of the controversy first but not for realizing it was controversial or doing your due diligence as a journalist to ferret out the rest of the story.

And what's more, Stutz once again misses the news that he has. You see, by the time he wrote this it wasn't news anymore than Reid had made these calls. I'd reported that. The news he DID have was that MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., had done the same thing.

Of course, it took Ralston to fill in the details on that, getting this e-mailed remark from Feldman and blasting it out to the universe via e-mail:

Wouldn’t you also be outraged if a Senator DIDN’T stand up for the largest employer/taxpayer in his/her state and try to inquire about what issues stand in the way of financing the largest investment in US history and the largest job-creator in the nation? What Senator wouldn’t do that? Our two certainly did. There were public hearings on what the banks were doing with all the bailout funds they had received and the banks all claimed they were lending money. Have you seen any? We haven’t. As the nation experiences an unprecedented credit freeze on Wall Street, a politician calling on a bank to get funds moving again seems the right and appropriate action, not something deserving of scorn.

If I sound angry, this time I am. Normally, I comment on the R-J's shortcomings with a certain amount of humor and in the hopes that someone over there might once in a while take a suggestion or realize a mistake. This time it's personal. Stutz and his editors are absolutely aware of how badly they've stumbled on this story and they want to pretend they didn't, that they were on it the whole time and that that those shitty little pajama-clad blogger assholes don't exist. And yet, if we didn't exist, Stutz still would have no clue what he overlooked.


Anonymous said...

Call me silly, but maybe they'll credit you in the print edition.

Jeff in OKC

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you and to Ralston, for doing good journalism. Whether you think it was right or wrong for Reid and Ensign to try to help MGM Mirage (I'm a little dubious; what they're doing could easily be seen as pressuring people whom they have the power to regulate), there's no question it's a story. I'm surprised at Howard Stutz! First "going concern," now this. And he's the best of the business bunch over there!

Anyway, the fact that pajama-clad bloggers exist and are holding the MSM accountable is delicious. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

nice job biting the hand that feeds you, friesster. don't you get a healthy paycheck from Mascaro's bosses?