Attribution Matters

You have to love the hit pieces from both sides of the Irvine city council race. There is one clear difference. Attribution. There is a right way and a wrong way to use attribution.

In 2004, the Irvine First team published a notorious flier that resembled the Irvine World News and called it the Irvine Chronicle. The “paper” had no information on the Irvine First Platform or reasons why voters should select them. It was a piece that called into question the ethics of Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang (who, as a new candidate, was featured in one article mocking the Governor’s accent; haven’t’ we all?).

The publication republished articles from the LA Times, the OC Register, OC Weekly and IWN without permission. Worse, it edited the original stories making them appear worse than they really were. Still worse, they left the bylines on the original stories making it appear that reporters who work hard to maintain a sense of neutrality and objectivity were so slanted against the Great Park team, that all voters should be too. The publication was paid for by former council members Mike Ward, Greg Smith and IUSD trustee Steven Choi.

The reprint policies of all papers mentioned clearly states you must get permission to reprint complete articles (and pay for the right to do so) and you cannot edit or alter the original content. So in sort, Irvine Chronicle was a publication dedicated to ripping apart the Great Park Team’s ethics by illegally republishing articles that were unethically edited to make the original stories very negative.

Bad attribution. If this were 30 years ago, these guy would have lost their house. But with today’s corporate media ownership, the cost-benefit analysis on legally going after Choi, Ward and Smith probably didn’t make financial sense.

The attribution on Shea’s record is pretty easy to track down via any news search engine.

I still find it ironic that the very people who endorsed the Irvine Chronicle would not support the tough new ethics standards passed by Krom earlier this year. Careful what you ask for.