ABC News And Center For Public Integrity Slapping Each Other Silly In Nerdiest Bitchfight Ever

ABC News And Center For Public Integrity Slapping Each Other Silly In Nerdiest Bitchfight Ever

Remember how we ignored the Pulitzers because US Airways tweeted a picture of a lady with a plane in her vajayjay? Turns out the Center for Public Integrity won for a series on how the medical profession screws over black lung patients. Now ABC wants a piece of that Pulitzer too.

ABC News’ new president Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to the Center for Public Integrity Tuesday asking CPI to share its Pulitzer Prize with ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross and producer Matt Musk, whom it said worked as equal partners with CPI investigative reporter Chris Hamby on the prize-winning story.

Why so selfish, CPI? Didn’t your moms teach you that it is nice to share, especially when the thing you could share is a prestigious journalism award? Suck it, says CPI, because we did all the work and you just dropped in every once in a while, ABC, so the Pulitzer is ours all ours.

[CPI Executive Director Bill] Buzenberg says that Sherwood and Schneider are overstating the network’s role.

“The truth is that ABC did not join the investigation until partway through; it focused on only one part of a multipart series; and its reporting was sporadic and almost entirely geared toward the needs of television, not original content for the print series […] We value these sorts of partnerships and were happy to work with ABC. But let’s be honest about the contributions of each party. Chris Hamby lived and breathed this investigation almost exclusively for a year. ABC dropped in periodically over the course of a few months in between work on many other stories.”

Oh, snap! YA BURNT, ABC! Also, says CPI, you guys over there at teevee news have been kinda whiny and needy all along and we only added you to the story because you wouldn’t stop bitching about it.

The contributions of Brian and Matt do not come close to warranting a byline. We nonetheless inserted their names in the byline fields at ABC’s insistence because we hoped to foster a sense of trust and partnership. It is clear now that ABC’s intent all along was simply to attach their names more prominently to this story for use later in precisely the way you now are: as a weapon to wield in an attempt to claim undue credit.

Who mad? CPI mad! Also too it looks like ABC’s beef might be with the Pulitzer rules, which exclude teevee news because they hate freedom. CPI told ABC that if they want a Pulitzer, they should man up and get into the writing game, but ain’t no way CPI is going to share the award. Finders keepers.

Oh, and just because we are the kind of organization that will always bring you late-breaking cutting edge news, one of the CPI reporters who won the Pulitzer and did the bulk of the work, Chris Hamby, just jumped ship, leaving CPI for BuzzFeed. You read that right. You now live in a world where someone parlays their Serious Investigative Journalism Pulitzer into a job at the listicle kitty cat factory of the internet. We are simultaneously jealous, frightened, and confused.

Postscript: no matter who gets credit for it, if you haven’t read the CPI series, you really owe it to yourself to take the time and do so. It’s a really great piece of investigative journalism about a really awful thing: the pervasive and deliberate denial of medical benefits to black lung victims and Johns Hopkins’ role in helping ensure that denial. Since the series ran, Johns Hopkins has suspended its black lung program, which pretty much never ever found black lung, and the Department of Labor will change how it deals with coal miners to level the playing field. Sometimes journalism kicks ass, kids.

[Mediaite/Politico/Center for Public Integrity/Capital New York]

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