Look, we're not trying to be all whiny and self-righteous. We're not saying we're particularly surprised to see Perez Hilton pass off our reporting as his own, or that we expect his blog to adhere closely to the traditional ethics of journalism.
All we're saying is this: Perez Hilton stole our story, and that's a dick move.
Here's an excerpt from a story we published Monday, after Real Housewife Elsa Patton collapsed during the show's season two premiere party:
"There were a couple of things that happened," she told Cultist. "She hadn't really eaten all day, and wasn't feeling good to begin with. When we arrived, she was a little nervous because she has never walked a red carpet before. Once inside, she was swarmed by people. Then, plus the fact it was so hot, we were all suffocating. Then all of a sudden, she just collapsed. She is getting older; it happens."
No need to worry: Mama Elsa is back in action: "Don't worry, mom is fine," Marysol says. "We went to the hospital right after it happened and got home around 3 a.m."
And here's an excerpt from Perez's blog post, "Real Housewives of Miami Momma Collapses, Rushed To The Hospital At Premiere Party" which appeared online yesterday:
According to [Elsa's] Real Housewife daughter:
"There were a couple of things that happened, she hadn't really eaten all day, and wasn't feeling good to begin with. When we arrived, she was a little nervous because she has never walked a red carpet before. Once inside, she was swarmed by people. Then, plus the fact it was so hot, we were all suffocating. Then all of a sudden, she just collapsed. She is getting older; it happens."
Marysol says Elsa is already back to her old self, and assures fans:
"Don't worry, mom is fine. We went to the hospital right after it happened and got home around 3 a.m."
Yes, those are our quotes, presented in a way that insinuates Perez was on the phone with Marysol Patton, rather than Cultist's own entertainment reporter Stacey Russell (who's killing it on Real Housewives coverage this week, by the way). We emailed and tweeted at Perez this morning, hoping that the lack of attribution was just an oversight, but have had no response.
In professional blogging, information gets picked up. It gets shared. We -- those of us who write and publish things online for a living -- often rely on each other's reporting to produce the best story. This is the way things work down here in the blogmines.
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But we also rely on each other to credit that shared information to its originator rather than passing it off stolen material as our own. It's about giving credit where it's due. It's about sharing readers' respect with the person helping you in your job. And, of course, it's about kicking back pageviews, which we all depend upon to keep us employed, to the person who did the hard work in the first place.
Even in the seedy realm of entertainment bloggery -- even when your job entails drawing childlike doodles of penises across photos of celebrities -- this kind of blatant plagiarism is pretty low.
UPDATE: Perez's blog post has been updated with a link to a story in The Daily Mail, which cites Cultist as a source. Still no mention of either publication in the text, though.