By Andrea Rael and Don Knox
STATE BILL COLORADO
DENVER — 7News Investigative Reporter John Ferrugia called State Bill Colorado this week to complain about its story on the origin of the plagiarism allegation against former Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis.
In a half-hour conversation with a reporter, Ferrugia insisted that State Bill’s conclusion — the story likely originated from a tipster — overreached.
“It’s a mystery,” State Bill said Aug. 2 of how The Denver Post and 7News discovered material copied from a 26-year-old water article. “But [the source] probably wasn’t a reporter.”
State Bill arrived at that conclusion because neither media outlet had claimed credit for the discovery. The Post and 7News also did not disclose who did discover the similarities.
Ferrugia also challenged a sentence in the State Bill story that read, “The person or people who tipped off The Post and 7News have so far managed to stay in the shadows.”
“You made that up,” Ferrugia said over the phone. “Real journalists” go out and find information, he said.
Anyone could have found out whether McInnis had plagiarized if they had only looked on Google, Ferrugia said. State Bill’s story came to the same conclusion, speculating that besides Republican and Democratic strategists, academics and lawyers could have made the link. But as the story noted, no one has come forward to claim credit.
For that matter, Ferrugia still isn’t talking. Asked again this week how 7News learned of the plagiarism, he declined to say.