Scanning Kevin Cate’s must-have Above The Fold service (which this week is celebrating its one-year anniversary of going live), I see that the Tampa Bay Times is front-paging a story about state Senator Tom Lee taking responsibility for a political committee making 1.2 million recorded calls featuring old recordings of Charlie Crist when he was a Republican.
“Tom Lee lambasts Crist as the embodiment of why the public distrusts elected leaders. And he is leading a campaign to make sure hundreds of thousands of Democratic and independent voters in Florida hear Crist in his own words tout his rock-ribbed conservatism,” writes Smith.
Good story, huh? Smith even gets Lee on record calling Crist a “sociopath.”
Kudos to Smith for getting to the bottom of who is behind the mysterious “The Conservatives” political committee who paid for the robocalls.
The problem for Smith is Matt Dixon of the Naples Daily News reported the same exact thing three days ago.
“State Sen. Tom Lee is running a committee behind a new round of robo-calls aimed at using Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist’s policy changes against him,” wrote Dixon on Tuesday.
Giving credit where credit is due, it was Smith who on Tuesday first wrote about the robo-calls. But that was just about the calls occurring, not about Lee being the force behind them.
Nowhere in Smith’s front-page story is there an acknowledgement that it was Dixon who sleuthed out this mystery. In fact, Smith updated his Tuesday blog post with his Friday story rather than linking to Dixon’s reporting.
Please understand this is not one of those news items where every newspaper needs to have its own take, i.e., today’s report on the state’s unemployment numbers. In those cases, every reporter received the same news at the same time and so each one has to write their own version.
No, in this case, there is Smith first writing about the robo-calls, then Dixon uncovering who was behind them, and then Smith also writing about who was behind them, but doing so as if his reporting occurred in a vacuum.
Well, it did not. This is not to say Smith would not have figured out Lee was behind the calls, but Dixon got there first and Smith should have acknowledged that.