Where’s The Fact Checker When I Need Him?

Bear with me while I vent my annoyance with the pompous prigs at the Washington Post.

The Post hates blogs. It’s not a new thing - their first foray into blogging was based on the idea that they’d enter into relationships with local bloggers, the bloggers would provide content, and the Post would pay them precisely nothing. Like interns, only cheaper. Needless to say, that idea didn’t go anywhere.

The Post’s attitude, as far as I can tell, is based on the arrogant, snooty idea that “real journalists” are just vastly superior to some guy with an iPad and an off the shelf WordPress site.

Well, that may be so, and I don’t claim to be a journalist, but the reality is that just in the past week, this guy right here has beaten the Post to two major stories: the resignation of Delegate Will Campos and the withdrawal of Valerie Ervin from the CD8 race.

What did the Post have to say about that? On Campos, I posted my story, which I held for the better part of the day to confirm it, on September 10 at 5:49 p.m. The Post story, by Arelis Hernandez, wasn’t online until 6:00 a.m. on September 11, more than 12 hours later. Based on how I learned about it, I am as close to 100% certain as I can be that no Post reporter was remotely aware of the story until I posted it. And yet, no acknowledgement or credit was offered.

Last week, I posted about Valerie Ervin’s withdrawal from the CD8 race at 9:45 a.m. on September 17. Bethesda Beat posted its article with no more information than I had at 10:21 a.m. Bill Turque of the Post wrote later in the day: “Ervin’s announcement was first reported by Bethesda Beat.” Really? Look me in the eye and tell me that both stories weren’t prompted by my blog post. I dare you.

Look, on the one hand, it doesn’t matter, it’s just ego. But I’ve worked hard to develop good sources and sometimes I get the story first. Bethesda Magazine credits me on occasion, and so has the Baltimore Sun. But never the Post - even to the point of inaccurately crediting another outlet for being first when it wasn’t.

I’ve tried to find out whether this failure to acknowledge local blogs is just snottiness or whether it’s policy. Neither Turque nor Hernandez has thus far seen fit to call me back and discuss it. And I am very familiar with Hernandez, as I was part of the story when Will Campos got a challenger last year and the case ended up in court (her description this week of her own series of stories on that case is grossly inaccurate - I called her about that, too, but no call back). So I know she is capable of returning a phone call, at least when she wants to.

Hey Glenn Kessler - I don’t think your fact check meter has enough Pinocchios on it to cover this situation. Maybe it’s time the local beat reporters stop acting like whiny children and give credit where credit is due. And maybe, just maybe, if I have a story that I don’t want to print for whatever reason, I’ll give it to you. But right now I’m far more likely to call Aaron Kraut or John Fritze than the snobs at the Post.

OK, I’m done. Stress released. Back to work breaking cool stories. And beating the Posties as often as I can.

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