Politico Behaves Unprofessionally

Politico prides itself on winning the morning, right? And the afternoon, the evening and sometimes the twilight.

Well, this time they stole the morning when Politico CLICK Editor Caitlin McDevitt wrote up an item on FNC’s Greta Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale, attending Kim Kardashian‘s wedding this weekend. FishbowlDC broke the news on Thursday afternoon. Politico‘s McDevitt ran her item Friday morning with no mention of where she lifted the news, giving off the perception that she had broken the story. Sure, she quotes Coale, but just because you quote someone does not mean you are breaking news. The Atlantic also ran news of Van Susteren and Coale attending the wedding and cited FBDC.

Politico knows better — or does it?

We’ve noticed lately that Politico CLICK has a growing problem with sourcing — the problem being that they choose not to.

We reached out to Editor John Harris and posed three questions.

1. Is it a Politico policy to not cite other publications that have broken the news you are writing about?
2. Do you plan to rectify this and give FishbowlDC the credit that it should have on this item?
3. Are you aware that CLICK is now accumulating a growing number of posts that blatantly steal from other publications and if so, what do you plan to do about it?

Harris replied to FishbowlDC: “I just don’t know anything about the item you wrote or what Politico wrote. I’m copying managing editor Bill Nichols and Click editor Caitlin McDevitt. Bill will respond, if he thinks best. Thanks for checking in.”

Other items Politico CLICK has taken at a five finger discount as of late include the following: After The Hill‘s Judy Kurtz broke the news that Rob Lowe‘s son was coming to Washington to intern for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Politico CLICK followed up by rewriting the item and “confirming” the news. They did not cite The Hill. In another item on Betty Ford‘s funeral, they wrote the item like they were there and cited no one. The item is weak, but still, it wasn’t theirs. They cobbled it together from other news reports. Which ones? Who knows? And in their minds, who cares?

McDevitt responded to FBDC by email on the Van Susteren/Kardashian item: Hi Betsy, Thanks for bringing this to our attention. POLITICO had this information from our own reporting — an e-mail exchange with John Coale on Thursday — before the Fishbowl item was published. But since you did report the news first, we’ve updated our post to reflect that. Thanks, Caitlin McDevitt

A word of advice: Hold onto your news Washington journos. Thievery at Politico is on the rise. But if you bring it to their attention, perhaps they will be receptive, as they were with us today, and add the proper citation.