The Gawker-Toronto Star cat fight about the Rob Ford "exclusive"
Last night, Gawker posted a video for sale allegedly starring Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The video became the subject of a frenzied discussion on Twitter, with many cautioning about libel laws. And then started the hilarious cat fight on Twitter about who got the "exclusive."
Gawker appears to have forced the Toronto Star into publishing the story on the video that they had been sitting on for almost two weeks. Reporters Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle apparently saw the alleged video on May 3, but were doing due diligence, one can suppose.
I have never seen someone bolt out of a room faster than @robyndoolittle when I showed her the headline on my phone.— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) May 17, 2013
About an hour and half later, the Star "took a cagey approach that linked to Gawker — along with the promise of “much more to come,” canada.com reported. And editor-in-chief Michael Cooke tweeted an "exclusive" to come. (Picture courtesy of canada.com)
Toronto Star reporters Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan have seen the Ford video in question! Huge story. Exclusive. In the Star tomorrow.— Michael Cooke (@TorStarEditor) May 17, 2013
Here is the Toronto Star's front page with the "exclusive" label from the morning after:
Needless to say, Gawker's managing editor Tom Scocca and many other casual readers were not impressed by the Star's claim to an exclusive. And then there were those who felt Gawker's rant was unnecessary.
— marc weisblott (@scroll) May 17, 2013
Maybe the "Exclusive" label on the Star's story was a bit much, but Tom Scocca doesn't need to throw his spaghetti all over the floor.— Ronan O'Beirne (@rpobeirne) May 17, 2013
The "exclusive" gaffe made the Star's editor-in-chief a trending topic in Canada:
And here's how reporter Robyn Doolittle responded:
@tomscocca Tom take a breath. Focus on the news happening.— robyndoolittle (@robyndoolittle) May 17, 2013
@chapattak Gawker is great. Big fan. They broke it. Ours is still exclusive. We have other reporting. We have more detail about the contents— robyndoolittle (@robyndoolittle) May 17, 2013May 17, 2013
Nitpicking aside, it's clear that Gawker broke this story. As canada.com reports:" In the end, the New York outlet was able to gloat that it technically published a blockbuster story about Mayor Rob Ford before the local newspaper that has dedicated itself most to following his trail."