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Politico Trashes Breitbart Reporting, Publishes Same Story Days Later

Politico Trashes Breitbart Reporting, Publishes Same Story Days Later


After accusing Breitbart News of “terrible reporting” on the intrigue surrounding John Boehner’s re-election as Speaker of the House, Politico ran a detailed article repeating most of the same facts found in our reporting.

When editors proofed Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan’s article titled “Conservatives rebel against Boehner” there must have been a sense of déjà vu, as point after point reported at Breitbart was re-confirmed, this time with the stamp of approval from the Beltway Journo-list’s favorite rag.  

Indeed, Sherman himself must have been a bit chagrined after engaging in a public back-and-forth on Twitter with his Politico colleague Alex Burns that culminated in Burns accusing Breitbart of making up the news: 

The specific story Sherman and Burns referred to in the Jan. 2nd Twitter exchange had to do with a congressman speculating that Boehner might resign after a closed-door meeting of the GOP caucus. The story was fully sourced, and included a direct quote from outgoing Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), stating that another member had told him “there’s a pretty good chance Boehner will resign at the conference tonight.”

It is standard practice when reporting a story that was broken by a competing media outlet to include a statement such as “as previously reported by…”–but, strangely, we find no mention of Breitbart News’ reporting on the conservative insurgency against Boehner in Politico’s “Conservatives rebel against Boehner” article.  

It’s doubly peculiar considering Sherman and Bresnahan specifically accused Breitbart of leading the charge against the Speaker in a Dec. 29 post titled, “GOP unlikely to oust Boehner as speaker of the House.”  

That’s right–the same reporters who, on Dec. 29, proclaimed to their readers that the GOP was “unlikely to oust Boehner” then breathlessly reported late in the day on Jan. 3 that conservatives “rebelled against Boehner.”  

Burns continued his tirade on Twitter Wednesday accusing Breitbart of “terrible reporting” and suggested that “traditional media” (one assumes Politico falls into that category) is validated by such irresponsible reportage:

Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle, Kerry Pickett and Mike Flynn provided up-to-the-minute reporting and analysis on the developing story. Coverage began with the purge of conservative members from key committees in the House (apparently due to their lack of obedience to Boehner during the disastrous 2011 debt ceiling negotiations). Our coverage continued up through the concessions made by the Speaker to the conservative caucus in a last-minute attempt to hold onto power – all items found in yesterday’s Politico story. 

It appears the major difference between Politico’s Beltway-approved report and Breitbart’s “terrible reporting” is that Politico told their readers about the story after Boehner had survived the threat, while Breitbart reported the intrigue as an on-going, developing story with exclusives and breaking stories as they occurred.  

We understand how Politico might feel threatened by Breitbart News taking the lead on a story involving political intrigue, back room deals and “inside baseball.” After all, Politico has spent a lot of time building its brand as the go-to place for these kinds of reports.  

We’re glad to have Politico’s imprimatur on this narrative and we hope in the future they’ll focus on improving their own reporting rather than attacking others who beat them to a story.

Don’t get bitter, Politico–get better.

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