They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That theory is being put to the test.
As many of you know, I wrote an article on the seemingly ridiculous "rules of conduct" sign at the Harlem branch of Chuck E Cheese this past Monday. The article detailed how various gang clothing, conduct, and weapons were banned from Chuck E. Cheese and questioned whether the sign was motivated by the area's racial or socioeconomic make-up. The article was well received and went a little viral with Gothamist.com, Curbed.com, Eater, NYMag.com's food section picking it up, as well as it being re-tweeted hundreds of times. The thing that all of these outlets had in common is that every single one credited the story to A. Fine Blog. That was until this morning.
At 4:30 or so this morning I woke up for a moment, the TV was on and tuned to Ch.4. I was in a blur and just drifting back to sleep and then I heard in the background something to the effect 'I can't believe that story on Chuck E. Cheese'. Huh? Whaaa? I woke up and pushed rewind on the dvr. Sure enough, they were talking about the same story that I wrote about, but it was on page 11 of today's NY Post. I later heard that the article was highlighted on the "in the papers segment" on NY1 as well. So, after being unable to find the article online that early I went back to sleep. First thing I did later when I woke up was to go to the newsstand and buy The Post . Oh yeah, a 3/4 page story with the same story line, same graphic of the "rules of conduct" sign, and even the same conclusion that the sign made you feel as if you were entering a prison rather than a pizza arcade. EXCEPT, in this article, no credit was attributed to A. Fine Blog as the genesis for the story, and it came off as if they had just come up with this organically on their own.
Needless to say, I think there are some journalistic ethics that have been twisted here and I shot off an email to the Metro Editor of The Post to make her aware of the grift and to see what she can do to rectify it. I have long complained that the media has lost it's originality and would rather just repeat stories than actually do some real work. I think this situation exemplifies that point.
A. Fine Blog, March 1st: "Harlem Chuck E. Cheese Experience Starts With Ominous Warning"
NY Post, March 5th: ""Chuck E. Squeeze On Thugs, Harlem Branch's Gangsta Ban"
Queens Crap, March 5th: "NY Post Steals Yet Another Story From A Blogger"