Midday Friday, capping off what will likely go down as one of the worst weeks any politician has ever had, Big League Politics released a viral photo showing Democratic governor of Virginia Ralph Northam and a friend dressed in blackface and a KKK hood from his yearbook at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Mike Cernovich, known for his self-published book “Gorilla Mindset,” was not happy that BLP put watermarks on the Northam photo, which we did to prevent people like Cernovich from taking credit for our original work.
Cernovich has a history of this behavior. In fact, he passed one of my original stories off as his own just this week.
“ANTIFA member pulled a gun on police,” Cernovich said on Twitter on Monday. “He was shot dead. ANTIFA is outraged. At police.”
He added a couple more Tweets to the mix:
The story would appear to have originated with Cernovich. But it did not. Big League Politics broke the viral story earlier in the day.
Only later did Cernovich share our story – without mentioning who first reported it. The screenshots in his Tweets are from links that can be derived from BLP’s original report.
Cernovich and other Twitter verified personalities have a history of this type of “reporting.” Their modus operandi follows: pretend they’re in the know without ever setting foot in a newsroom. We’ve had enough, and will be calling out this behavior every time we see it, even if the material is not stolen from Big League Politics.
Fast forward to Friday. After BLP released the bombshell photo of Northam, Cernovich was miffed that he could not take the watermarked images and post them to his Twitter account without giving us due credit.
Strangely, he direct messaged me on Twitter eight times, demanding that we provide him with the original source of the information. (Cernovich could have independently corroborated the story like Virginia Pilot did hours later, but this “journalism” thing isn’t all that easy when you’re not stealing other people’s work).
“I can’t comfortably share that,” he said, as if we had asked him to share, or we needed his permission to report the news.
An hour later, he was back.
“Could someone bring a physical copy of the yearbook to a third party to verify?” he asked. “This is either a major story or a major hoax.”
Of course, we knew it was a major story and not a hoax, having thoroughly vetted it before accusing a sitting United States Governor of a blatant racism that will likely cause him to resign. We vet both sources and stories before publication. Perhaps Cernovich is unschooled on editorial standards, given that ripping stories off and sharing them on Twitter isn’t exactly journalism.
By the way: what’s with the DM’s?
Is Cernovich the arbiter of all that is true on the internet? Are we to run our stories past him to make sure they’re newsworthy and accurate? Or is he just a bit too big for his britches?
Wrap your Gorilla Mindset around this, Mike – we’re not asking for your permission to do the news.
Without managing to steal our scoop, he still managed to recycle our Tweets on the story. Note the time stamps:
Since the story was released, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, and Benny Johnson and Amber Athey from Daily Caller have all managed to report the story without giving BLP the credit it deserves.
Johnson, who was fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarism in 2014, direct messaged Big League Politics asking us to confirm the story, which would necessarily involve revealing our source. We declined.
We await their apologies.
Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca
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