March 02, 2007
MSNBC Steals My Story; Takes Credit (by guest blogger Dorian Davis)
Reading Hillary Rodham's Hidden Thesis
As MSNBC.com found, it is available to anyone who visits the archive room of the prestigious women’s college outside Boston
is a little odd, since this information was actually published on the HotAir website a month ago.
I published this stuff at my own website - and HotAir.com linked it - on February 7, 2007.
It also appeared at Blogs Against Hillary, Suitably Flip, Urban Elephants, and American Spectator Blog, among others.
No reasonable person can read this article without concluding that MSNBC has discovered it themselves!
Make a correction, MSNBC.
Posted by Dorian at March 2, 2007 03:10 PM
As I explained to Dorian,
You decide: Read her blog posting from last month, and read our articles from today, and look for the difference: reporting.
If you want to claim to be the first, be precise. Talk to Rick Heller, who did what you did, but two years earlier. He's one of my students from Boston University. I sent the entire journalism school class out to read the thesis!
Of course, what's new today is the documentation that it was the Clintons who had it sealed.
These two stories are online now at MSNBC.com:
Reading Hillary Rodham's hidden thesis
Clinton White House asked Wellesley College to close off access
How the Clintons wrapped up Hillary's thesis
"A stupid political decision," says her former Wellesley poli-sci professor
Dorian is a male name.
As I mentioned to you by email, it is extremely odd to claim that "MSNBC.com found" something that was published 1 month beforehand, at a popular website.
I was the first to publicly disseminate the fact that this thesis was available, and HotAir was the first high-traffic website to report it.
Let's assume - for the sake of argument - that you were correct in your attribution to Rick Heller. Why, in the world, didn't you write "as previously reported by Rick Heller?"
I find it very interesting that - in the course of a long, investigative search that turned up comments from anonymous readers at Free Republic - you managed to miss the numerous references to this thesis in the past month at my own website and HotAir.com.
I think you wrote a really splended article, but this is a big error in attribution.
I'm not sure I understand this line:
You decide: Read [Dorian's] blog posting from last month, and read our articles from today, and look for the difference: reporting.
Is the implication that when a blogger finds and publicizes something that it's not "reporting", but when a member of the media does that, it is?
Or that there is a vaguely-defined minimum of additional information (e.g. the Clinton cover-up request) that must be included, before it rises to the level of reporting?
That is, what would Dorian have had to do, to merit mention in the MSNBC piece? Write a longer post? Include more information? Include quotes from other sources? Have it distributed via a more mainstream channnel?
Oh, and thank you for replying here. I like when media folks are receptive to feedback.
I think what he was saying is that Dorian publicized a two-year-old story, whereas MSNBC reported a new angle about the story. I don't know enough about the facts to analyze the truth of the charges and countercharges but I don't see anything in Dorian's response that convincingly challenges Dedman's response.
If the story predated Hot Air / Dorian, they don't have to be mentioned simply because they were the most recent "popular" site to report about it.
Heller wrote that the thesis was available to the public, and about the thesis, at TPM cafe two years ago, just as Dedman said. The "myth of the sealed thesis" was the key to your story but a passing mention in the MSNBC story. I'm not sure what you want credit for.
Dorian had a comment in between my comments but I don't know what happened to it.
I think you might have missed the point.
Let's assume that the story was broken by Rick Heller. In that case, it would make sense for the MSNBC copy to read, "as previously reported by Rick Heller." Not, "MSNBC.com found."
The only way that attribution would make sense would be if Rick Heller currently worked for MSNBC.com, which I have not investigated.
Now, on to the link you provided.
I never doubted that someone, somewhere, on this planet was aware this paper was available. So, I'm not sure the mere existance of a link to someone's blog is proof that he "broke the story."
My website outlined the history of the search for Mrs. Clinton's thesis, and how much of the speculation over these past 7 years has been false.
No one seems to have done a similar thing.
This little exercise in myth-busting was publicized when it was linked at HotAir.com, and at that point some of the biggest Clinton scholars in the country found out - from me - the situation surrounding the status of the thesis.
I believe this story was written in good faith; at the same time, I believe a correction is warranted.
Good work, Dorian.
I think when Bill writes, "...MSNBC.com found...," he's admitting that regardless of what you do or Rich Heller does, it just ain't news until the MSM blesses it.
Was there ever any update or further response from MSNBC?
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