An “asshole” has found itself right in the thick of media things today. And no, this has nothing to do with George Will’s prostate exams.
Yesterday evening CQ Roll Call‘s Jonathan Strong and Daniel Newhauser double bylined a story headlined “‘Obstinate’ Factor Continues to Roil GOP.” The article looks at the decision of Republican leadership in the House to recently strip four GOP congressmen from coveted committee assignments. It contains the following (emphasis ours):
“‘What I tried to explain to them was, it didn’t have anything to do with your voting record, a scorecard, your work across the street or anything else. It had to do with your ability to work within the system and to try to work. And to be, I guess, constructive in things. And I said, “I guess you could say it was an asshole factor,”‘ Westmoreland said. ‘Now I wasn’t calling any member in particular an asshole, I was just trying to describe an environment where some people that you’re trying to work with, they just don’t want to work within the system.’
“Westmoreland later expressed regret for using that language, saying, ‘Maybe I should have used ‘obstinate factor.'”
Today, 15 hours later, Politico‘s Jonathan Allen published a very similar story with very similar language… Unashamedly, even the headline was familiar (“The a–hole factor”).
From Allen’s story (emphasis ours):
“Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative who is close to party leaders, told them that ‘the a—hole factor’ came into play in the Steering decision.
‘He said that it had nothing to do with their voting record, a scorecard, or their actions across the street [meaning fundraising],” Westmoreland spokeswoman Leslie Shedd told POLITICO. “It had to do with their inability to work with other members, which some people might refer to as the a—hole factor.’
“Shedd said her boss didn’t intend to call anyone a name and acknowledged later to her that ‘perhaps he should have said obstinate factor instead and wanted me to reiterate that he did not and would not call another member of Congress an a—hole.’”
Though Allen’s story was published just shy of a full day later, with strikingly similar quotes (though not from the same person), there was no citation in his piece of CQ Roll Call breaking the story first.
“The asshole factor: Politico giving no credit for a Roll Call scoop,” Strong tweeted, tongue-in-cheek. His colleague Amanda Becker added that Politico, “did this twice yesterday,” though she offered no example and did not return our request for comment.
A glaring difference between both stories is that CQ Roll Call‘s actually quoted the congressman who said “asshole” directly. Politico got the same information, but from a secondhand source, a spokeswoman.
It’s possible Allen simply missed the original scoop by CQ Roll Call (though a Google search would have helped). We don’t know, he didn’t return our request for comment and Strong wouldn’t talk on the record.
Then again, this probably wouldn’t be a thing if it weren’t for the fact that speedy scoops is Politico‘s main selling point.