Last night, former New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman wrote a post on her new-ish Hollywood blog “The Wrap” that alerted the world to the now confirmed news that Comcast is in talks to acquire NBC Universal from GE (GE).
What a huge scoop!
Sharon did get some details wrong–reporting that the companies had reached a deal–and this enabled Comcast to issue a carefully worded denial calling the report “inaccurate.”
Meanwhile, Sharon’s most heated rival, Deadline Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke, didn’t take the scoop well. In her first post on the story last night, Finke called the story “an Internet blog’s bullshit.”
Nikki was hardly the only one annoyed that they had to read about the news instead of reporting it. CNBC’s David Faber went on the air to debunk Sharon’s story this morning. David was plenty condescending himself, saying:
“You can call it a big story, but there may not be much of a story at all at this point. It’s very hard to say where speculation and actual news lies on this. Nonetheless, an entertainment gossip site [Faber laughs] — this is where we are in journalism today — started a great deal of speculation on whether Comcast would buy or take control of NBC Universal. That is not the case.”
Writing up David’s on-air report, Nikki one-upped him, writing:
“How humiliating for that struggling Hollywood blog, which might fare better to remember that it takes a long time to build a reputation for news accuracy, and just a blink of the eye to lose the trust of readers.”
Even when David went back on air to eat crow and back Sharon’s story this afternoon, Nikki pressed on:
“Let’s get this straight: NBC Universal is now formally in play. But that struggling Hollywood blog is spewing bullshit.”
All we know is, we’ll never eat lunch in that town again.
Update: A reader wrote us:
Totally don’t understand your nikki/waxman post. because it seems pretty clear – they’re both wrong.
Waxman’s story was first but wrong: she said there was a done deal at $35 billion. now conventional wisdom says it will be something entirely different, and nothing close to being done. Had she only said there are talks she would have had a scoop. and her story did force comcast to come out and deny it in a way that generated even more reporting, so if you really want you can give her credit for that. but by normal standards she published an inaccurate story.
Nikki – as you know – pooh poohed the whole thing and now has to admit that there are talks but can’t bring herself to acknowledge that waxman has half-right. Stupid but expected.