For Your Consideration: A Curiously Timed Pete Hammond-Deadline Item*

It’s been a while since there has been any real public skirmishing between The Hollywood Reporter and Nikki Finke‘s Deadline. But lo and behold, in this quietest of holiday weeks, another small chapter in the PMC-Prometheus rivalry is being written.

At issue is whether a 9:55 p.m. PST December 27 story by Deadline’s Pete Hammond about troubles with Academy member online voting had more than a little to do with a longer, more exhaustive 2:58 p.m. PST December 27 story about the same topic by THR‘s Scott Feinberg (headline displayed above). From our vantage point, it would certainly seem so.*

It looks as if, after the THR item hit, Hammond’s marching orders were to produce a version of his own, pronto. The shame of it is that an acknowledgment of the Feinberg piece in his post would have in no way denigrated the overall impact. In fact, it would have made for a more interesting Deadline item if Hammond had specifically bounced off the Hollywood Reporter article, challenging and contrasting what he has been hearing with what Feinberg reported.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Feinberg noted that he was “stunned another outlet basically rewrote and posted the same article…” THR website editor Chris Krewson also cheekily chimed in via Twitter. The good news for Feinberg is that Drudge pointed only to his end of this two-headed 12/27 Oscar voting analysis, bringing in the usual bounty of extra eyeballs and wacko reader comments.

*Update/CORRECTION – 01/18/13: We heard today from Pete Hammond, who only just belatedly caught up with this December 28 FishbowlLA item. He takes issue with all of the above:

I wish you had called or at least emailed me about this before giving the strong inference in your piece that I somehow wrote this particular story because Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter had done one earlier in the day. My piece about snafus with Oscar voting was 100% NOT a reaction to anything THR did (or any “skirmish between THR and Nikki Finke’s Deadline”). I hadn’t even seen Scott’s story at the time, but if you had been following this story on Deadline or clicked on the links provided, you would see my 12/27 post was simply a follow up to my previous reporting on Oscar voting problems ( and half of it was actually about separate issues within the Academy’s music branch).

You would have seen earlier pieces I had posted on Nov 28 and Dec 14 (as well as a Dec 18 Mike Fleming piece re troubles with the voting). I was continually breaking new elements of the Oscar voting saga with exclusives long before the THR piece which you say I should have acknowledged. Why “acknowledge” a story that was apparently the first Feinberg wrote on the subject this season, and that appeared one month after my original story warning of complaints and troubles with the registration system for voting that the Academy had imposed. As a result of that piece the Academy (which they admit) received a deluge of concerned calls from some major players and extended the registration period by two weeks. That was followed by a 12/14 piece where I reported exclusively that they were making even more significant changes involving paper ballots.

Since the 12/27 follow-up, I have continued to track this saga with pieces on 1/5 regarding the end of voting (and more voter complaints) and 1/10 with an exclusive with Academy President Hawk Koch on the status of online voting post nominations. I think my consistent work on this subject (which actually began long before this season) speaks for itself but I just wanted to clarify the actual facts.

We appreciate Hammond taking the time to correspond with us about this matter. While the item was written while traveling during the Christmas holidays, there should have been from this author a pre-publication email opportunity at least afforded to Hammond to respond. FishbowlLA apologizes for the oversight.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.