Associated Press (Or CBS) Surrenders Their Dignity

A lot of people out there still seem to think that all blogs do is riff off of major media content. Reblog it, or just plain plagiarism. Most people know that most major news is now broken by blogs, but the prejudice is still out there.

One thing we abhor is “the unattributed rewrite,” When some publication takes a story that was broken by someone else and simply rewrites the same story in their own words without any attribution to the source of the story. It’s just not done by reputable sites, whether they’re blogs or mainstream media. A simple “the story was first broken by the Associated Press,” or whoever, is the honorable thing to do.

Speaking of the Associated Press, they’ve stepped in it again.

We’ve been critical in the past. They have ridiculous rules around the quoting of their work. Rules they’ve broken themselves multiple times. They still owe me $12.50, for example, and there’s the more recent Woot story. Then there was that whole Obama thing. And the legendary story about AP Threatening their own affiliate for embedding an AP YouTube video.

We love them so much for their hapless foray into the Internets that we’ve banned them for life. We’re not sure exactly what that means, but we’ll figure it out over time.

Now there’s this.

On November 18 we broke the news of the MySpace/Facebook surrender in a post titled Hell Freezes Over As MySpace Fully Surrenders To Facebook. Everyone covering the story read ours, simply because we were hours before the news officially broke.

The AP later that day published their own version of the story. And they used “Surrender” in the title. See MySpace to Facebook: OK, We Surrender.

Even that isn’t cause to complain. I mean, they were surrendering after all. But their choice of picture for the story – the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, is just too much of a coincidence. There is no way that story was written and that picture added as a completely independent beginning. They should have chosen a different picture, or they should have given us credit for breaking the story.

And so for that, AP, we must respond. As of this moment, you are on double secret probation, and we ask that you exit the tech news business in an expeditious and orderly fashion until you can behave like non-evil, non-lazy citizens again.

Update: Jason Kincaid says that CBS may have chosen the image and even the title, not AP. See here for the same article without the picture and with various titles. If that’s the case I apologize to AP and revoke the double secret probation. Insert CBS above instead. We’ll update if we hear more from either organization.