Executives at the Daily Caller news Web site profess to have no insight into vanishing bylines on at least five Kaitlin Collins stories — but have vowed to fix the problem.
Last week, Media Ink revealed that bylines on at least five potentially embarrassing click-bait stories written by the now CNN star when she worked at right-wing Daily Caller had mysteriously disappeared.
The stories had been running only with the word “contributor” instead of her byline. But the Web site appears to have since restored Collins, CNN’s star White House correspondent, as the rightful author.
That means she gets to take credit, once again, for “13 Syrian Refugees We’d Take Immediately,” which explained that the refugees in question were “Syria-sly hot.”
Her byline has also been restored on “Ice Bucket Challenge Hipsters: These Guantanamo Detainees Did It First,” which likened the then-viral ice bucket challenge, where people threw freezing cold water on their heads to raise money for ALS, to waterboarding of Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Instead of simply “contributor,” the five stories Media Ink wrote about now read “Kaitlan Collins, contributor.” That includes, “The Internet Wonders: Are the Obama Girls Skirts Too Short,” which ran when President Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, were 16 and 13, respectively.
Efforts to track down the reason behind the missing bylines initially led us to Geoffrey Ingersoll, the current editor-in-chief. He referred calls to Neil Patel, the current CEO and a co-founder who bought out Tucker Carlson’s share of the venture in 2020.
Patel finally got back to us the day after Media Ink’s story of the missing bylines ran in print, but didn’t shed much light on the switcheroo — or how it happened.
“Just heard your voicemail. Interesting question,” Patel said on July 15. “I’m not sure whether those were Kaitlan pieces and/or whether there were any changes as you allege,” he wrote. “[I] asked our editors and due to how long ago that was nobody has any recollection,” he said.
But by Tuesday, Patel said the bylines were being restored. “We of course initiated a byline change for all pieces we are aware of,” Patel e’mailed. “[It} should be reflected although sometimes due to caching that can take a while.”
Left unanswered is who made the switches in the first place and when they were made.
Was it a glitch or did Collins herself change them before she left in 2017 in order to erase some of her less politically correct stories? Or did a friend go into the Daily Caller’s content management system and make the changes?
Initially, Collins had responded via Twitter that she had “no idea” how the bylines were changed and that it was a question for the Daily Caller. But she had not responded at the time of writing on Tuesday to follow-up questions.
Tech experts say it should be relatively easy to go into a content management system and detect when and who made editing changes. But if Patel and the Daily Caller had gotten to the bottom of that mystery, they have not told Media Ink.