Not Again: This Time It’s TBS Fabricating Headlines (And Plagiarizing Real Journalists)

  • Timothy Burke

On the heels of last week’s apology from Fox about fabricating NFL headlines, TBS has been caught not only repeating that feat but plagiarizing the text from the stories to which they claimed the headlines belonged.

Late in the coverage of ALDS Game One between the Rangers and Rays from Arlington, TBS ran a similar “Look at these headlines” piece to the one that landed Fox in hot water. Even worse, the text TBS implied belonged to those headlines were plagiarized from real stories — many of them having no relationship whatsoever to the headlines.

Here are the graphics TBS used in order of their display, along with a description and link to the story TBS plagiarized:

There is no such place as “Tampa Bay, Florida.” That headline never appeared in the September 3 Tribune or anywhere else. The article’s byline attributes the story to a “Justin McDaniel,” but it is actually this 2011 ALDS preview from The Sports Network by Chris Ruddick. Better yet, look down at the bottom and you can see TBS copied and pasted the article from the Kansas City Star website, which uses The Sports Network’s syndicated content. Here is the Tribune’s actual September 3 Rays article.

The second frame is a fabricated headline attributed to the St. Petersburg Times on September 11. The article is attributed to “Scott Pulcifer” filing from, of all places, Anaheim, California. The article’s text was lifted from the Tampa Tribune‘s article on September 29 written by Anwar S. Richardson.

As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as the Tampa Bay Observer. The September 19th headline was made up. The text is given the Justin McDaniel byline again, and is identical to the text shown in the first frame.

Tampa Tribune, again, this time claiming to be from the September 26 edition (here’s the real Trib article). The text, unattributed, is bizarrely copied from an October 7, 2010 AP wire story by Fred Goodall.

I have a physical copy of the September 29th Times, and can confirm it looks nothing like this. The text is attributed to the mysterious Mr. Pulcifer again and is taken from Evan Grant‘s article about the Rangers in the September 27th Dallas Morning News.

TBS owes both the sportswriters whose content they appropriated and viewers they misled an apology.

Follow Timothy on Twitter at @bubbaprog.