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Avatar of BillBy on May 18th, 2009 at 10:16 am

NY Times Columnist Maureen Dowd- Master of Plagiarism

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In a May 18th column about former Vice President Dick Cheney, Ms. Dowd wrote-

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Compare that to what blogger Josh Marshall at TPM wrote on May 14th-

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq

Ms. Dowd lifted what Josh Marshall wrote almost word for word. The NY Times columnist tried to explain what happened-

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in an email to Huffington Post, admits that a paragraph in her Sunday column was lifted from Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall’s blog last Thursday.

Dowd claims that she never read his blog last week but was told the line by a friend of hers. In a follow-up email, she forwarded her desire to apologize to Marshall, writing that had she known, she would have gladly credited Marshall.

Dowd’s column has been changed. It now reads-

Josh Marshall said in his blog: “More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”

I think blogger Steven Taylor gets it right, when he says-

The thing is, it is difficult to believe that she heard “the line”: from someone who quoted it near verbatim and that she also remembered it verbatim. If anyone has ever played “telephone” one knows how unlikely this is.

Plagiarism is a serious offense and I think its clear Ms. Dowd did just that. This can’t be an inadvertent mistake, the passages are just too alike. Should the NY Times suspend her, or go even further and fire the lying thief?

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4
  • Richardson
    7:01 am on May 18th, 2009 1

    Ah, the irony;

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/12/us/biden-s-deba

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:29 am on May 18th, 2009 2

    Richardson nice link. I didn't think my opinion of our Vice President could get in lower and it just did.

  • JoeC
    11:11 am on May 18th, 2009 3

    The subject of plagiarism will be a much greater concern in the near future. Online publications that don't produce their own original content will be severely limited in their ability to lift material from original source sites.

    The futures of many commercial newspapers are in question right now and, I think, within a year or two, those remaining will press for all means to assert ownership and revenue from their content. One way that seems obvious will be to demand a tightening of the copyright fair use standards. They will especially target bloggers.

    They will take a hard line on cutting and pasting hundreds or more words from their reports directly into someone else's sites.

    Fair use may be defined as a relatively small number of continuous words and a very few such lifts from any one article. Anything more, and you probably be required to subscribe and pay of content usage licenses.

  • JoeC
    11:27 am on May 18th, 2009 4

    Correction: continuous = consecutive.

 

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