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Plagiarism and politics

A few people have asked me why I've been so "strangely silent" on the Ben Domenech plagiarism scandal. The answer is much simpler than you might imagine: I'd never heard of the guy until the scandal had already broken, and he was practically on his way out the door.

Ideological bias had nothing to do with it. I also didn't post about socialite-turned-liberal-blogger Arianna Huffington's recent (and second) plagiarism scandal. What would be the point? To demonstrate that Huffington is an opportunist and a moron? We all already knew that. There are few ideological points to win here, because all but the most hyperpartisan idiots realize that plagiarism occurs across the political spectrum. For every Monica Crowley, there's also a Joe Biden, and vice versa.

None of this has stopped the lefty bloggers from having a field day with this, however. As near as I can figure it out, their logic seems to be something like this: "Hah! Take a look at what YOUR guy did!! He did something wrong, so if you share any of his political views, this invalidates anything and everything you stand for!!!" Of course anyone who's rhetorically challenged enough to live by such vapid tactics will certainly die by them as well.

And meanwhile, the AP has been busted plagiarizing a blog. Does anyone believe this will get even a fraction of the attention that the Ben Whatsisname story got? Does anyone care?

(Hat tip: Dean)


So that's where the AP gets most of its stories from; the ubiquitous "On the Net."

Maybe I missed the point. Did you mean Monica Crowley is a plagiarist too or what? Also, there's a big difference between Joe Biden cribbing stuff in college, if that's what you are talking about, and Monica Crowley, a current and active paid journalist currently and actively plagiarizing material.


The link above is to a posting about conservative plagiarists written by a conservative author. Now I found the whole Domenech plagiarism thing to be pretty much an appropriate embarassment for the WaPo and plagiarism in general to be an embarassment to the plagiarists and those who publish them. But don't tell me you think the AP thing won't get any notice because it is liberal or something. How much mainstream attention has Crowley's plagiarism gotten? Domenech got a lot of attention because the Internet went nuts over it. Which is cool. That's what we do around here: go crazy all at the same time over a story. Sometimes it gets traction and sometimes it doesn't.

Anyway, speaking as a professional writer, I find plagiarism to be exceptionally heinous. That's just my little corner of the universe, but there it is. The posting about the AP stealing that woman's work is an excellent one in that it describes the amount of work that went into the story that the AP people just cavalierly lifted.

After reading that, I posted a copyright notice on my page, which I never had before. My stuff may be crap, but dammit, it's my crap!

My point is simply that plagiarism is not a partisan issue. And yes, I think it's safe to say that Monica Crowley is a plagiarist. A few years back she lifted quotes wholesale from historian Paul Johnson. What made it even more embarrassing was that she kept the "Britishisms" intact. If she's still currently and actively plagiarizing, I'm unaware of it.

And the example of Joe Biden was considerably more recent than his college days. It was during his 1988 presidential campaign, IIRC.

Aha. Thanks for the clarification. Didn't remember the Biden thing.

But I don't consider him a progressive or left in any way. But I don't disagree with you in essence. I would wager you could find some plagiarists who were liberals. Can't think of any myself and don't know of any, but there must be some...somewhere...maybe. Well, I'll concede the point anyway.

Although if you are talking about the Huffington Post thing where she made it sound like Clooney had written a blog post, that wasn't, strictly speaking, plagiarism. It was bad, but not plagiarism. More a case of playing fast and loose with the facts and standards of truthiness. I don't care for that stuff either.

The link I posted in my previous comment describes a recent Crowley plagiarism. Bad thing, plagiarism. Like I said, I write for a living (better, I hope, than I blog, since I blog in a rush most of the time). Plagiarism is a major crime to me, worthy of a proper Singapore caning.

Not to split hairs, DBK, but the Crowley link you posted was not that all that recent. It referred to the same incident I referenced, and occurred back in the 90's.

And yes, Arianna's recent embarrassment regarding George Clooney does fall into a sort of gray area, but as I pointed out, she seems to be a serial offender. Huffington was actually tried for plagiarism some years back and eventually settled out of court.

DBK -- I think a simple bare-handed spanking would be more appropriate for Ms Crowley... I would be willing to take that responsibility upon myself if need be...

Really That long ago, eh? I figured it was recent since it was a recent posting and the wound sounded fresh. I probably wouldn't still be smarting over something that was a decade old.

I love how conservatives are now reduced to justifying everything their compatriots do with "Buh...buh...but DEMOCRATS......".

I thought your guys were supposed to be the moral arbiters for America?

Jill, where did Barry "justify" what Domenech did? Do you even read this site before you spew your nonsense?

"Spew your nonsense"? Ooo. That's a bit harsh.

I wouldn't say that Barry was justifying plagiarism at all, but simply saying that the problem is not confined to conservatives. Jill's point is valid when referring to things like the Culture of Corruption, and specifically the Jack Abramoff scandal, but I don't think, again, that is what Barry was doing.

Do you even read this site before you spew your nonsense?

No, she doesn't bother reading the site. Facts tend to get in the way of her arguments. Strawmen are much easier.

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