Boston Globe Does It Again: Front Page Story Based on Uncredited Research

Boston Globe Does It Again: Front Page Story Based on Uncredited Research

The Boston Globe has quite a racket going. They identify valuableresearch from other news sites and then turn them into their own front pagestories, stories which forget to mention the source of the information.

Case in point, a Boston Globe front page story today claims that Mitt Romney was at Bain Capital three years longer than he claims. The story itself is dubious, but there is no doubt that the way in which the Boston Globetook credit for the information in its report was completely dishonest.Just hours after it was published, a Globe editor admitted they hadfailed to credit to two other writers who published key information daysand weeks earlier:

“Pieces of this story were reported by other news organizations. Webelieve the Globe advanced the story with a more comprehensive andcomplete look that broke significant news and included additionaldocuments,” [Globe editor Martin] Baron said in a statement to POLITICO. “However, our policyis to give credit to other news organizations for their work. In theediting and shortening process, I have learned, passages giving creditwere removed. That was a mistake, and we are now adding appropriatecredit back to the online version.”

The two authors who were not credited were David Corn of Mother Jones and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. Both dug up and published documents which appeared in the Globe‘s story. Neither was credited.

If all of this sounds familiar that because this is precisely what the Globe did in May with another splashy front page story. As I noted at the time, the Globe’s story on Elizabeth Warren’s Native American ancestry was based on a 1999 document which Breitbart News had published two weeks earlier. And yet, Breitbart News was not credited in the Globe story. On the contrary, the Globe claimed the discovery of the documents was new.

I contacted three individuals at the Globe about the obviousoversight, including two senior news editors. I noted the obvioussimilarities including the fact that the key document in both storieswas identical, and I asked them to correct the record by crediting Breitbart News for the scoop. One individual responded and privately acknowledged familiarity with the Breitbart story but the Globe never corrected or updated the piece.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with value added reporting. Even in the case of the Elizabeth Warren story, the Globe added new information with their reporting (and I said so both privately and publicly at the time). But that’s not an excuse to avoid giving credit where it is due. The Globe’s claims the most recent oversight was just a case of sloppy editing, but what it really amounts to is plagiarism of keyinformation from outside sources. One time may be an accident, but twice is a pattern.