Monday, January 9, 2012

Jake Wagman Used Tea Party Research Without Attribution

Jake Wagman wrote an article last week documenting how Ann Wagner's congressional campaign is heavily dependent upon donations from Enterprise (where her husband was a lobbyist) and Enterprise-affiliated companies. The story is newsworthy and does include some original reporting such as a reference to an email sent out by Enterprise Holdings President Pamela Nicholson, but a big chunk of the article was directly based on information researched by tea party activists and already reported at tea party blogs.

For example, though the numbers differ slightly, Wagman reported in his January 2nd article that $255,000 of the money Wagner had collected came from donors associated with Enterprise. On December 30, a tea party blog reported that Wagner had raised $249, 750 from Enterprise. Other details, such as Ray Wagner's role as a lobbyist as well as donations from managers around the country and founder Jack Taylor have also been reported by tea party blogs prior to Wagman's story. Likewise for donations from the Podesta Group, Fleishman-Hillard, and Ogilvy. Both 24th State and Reboot Congress have made it very clear that the footwork on this research was done by St. Louis Tea Party members.

I can see two possible scenarios for what happened. The worst would be if Wagman directly used the research from these blogs without bothering to reference them. The other possibility is that someone from Martin's campaign passed on the research from the blogs and Wagman vetted it and then ran the story as if it was his own. Even in this case, I would think a good journalist would do a basic Google search to see if others had written about it before.

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