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Saturday, March 25, 2006
 
Sherrod Brown, Plagiarist

Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (who, by the way, I was the first to link over at Kerry Haters), points us in the comments section of a post at Protein Wisdom to this example of plagiarism.

Apparently, U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown sent a letter to Mike DeWine regarding the Samuel Alito nomination, and the letter essentially copied a Nathan Newman post about Alito's take on labor rights. Brown's staff admitted to Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Stephen Koff that "90 percent of what Brown, an Avon Democrat, wrote in his letter was lifted from an Internet posting by a blogger."

Brown's office acknowledged that it should not have used Newman's words without giving him credit. Spokeswoman Joanna Kuebler said she found Newman's work when researching labor issues. Brown's legislative staff confirmed its accuracy, and Brown then signed the staff-prepared letter, Kuebler said.

"We should have cited it, and we didn't," Kuebler said.


Sherrod Brown, of course, is running for the Senate in Ohio, against DeWine. I'd say let's see how hard the progressive blogosphere comes down on this one, except that it's months ago that this came out, and they've already closed ranks:

Duncan "Atrios" Black -- who works at Media Matters, mind you, concurs:

Genuine plagiarism in this context is lifting out paragraphs of unique prose, not culling some information from a blog post.


Drezner points out the sloppiness of this claim:

For instance, Newman, an attorney and labor and community activist, posted this on his blog Nov. 1: "What is striking about Alito is that he is so hostile even to the basic rights of workers to have a day in court, much less interpreting the law in their favor."

Brown's letter merely changed the last clause so the sentence read, "What is striking about Alito is that he is so hostile even to the basic rights of workers to have a day in court, not to mention interpreting the law against them."


Paul, in the comments section, compared the Domenech sitation to Rathergate, noting that we had engaged in excessive celebration over Rather's downfall, so it was petty of me not to allow the liberal blogs some champagne. It's probably a fairer point than I gave him credit for in my reply. But there's at least one significant difference. Almost the minute we conservative bloggers were handed credible evidence that Domenech had plagiarized, we rose up to condemn his actions. Rick Moran, Dan Riehl, and, painfully for her Michelle Malkin, quickly acknowledged his misdeeds.

Were there any major liberal bloggers acknowledging Rathergate back in 2004? Let's take a trip back in time. Here's the sum total of what Atrios had to say about it in the course of the week of September 12-18, 2004 (the famed Smoking Memo post at LGF was dated September 14):

Docudrama

CBS and Dan Rather have their problems which they're going to have to sort out, but as anonymous reminds us in comments, this is the key point:

Q Scott, on the National Guard documents on "60 Minutes," the First Lady says she believes these are forgeries. The RNC has accused the Democratic Party of being the source of these documents. Knowing then what you know now, would you still have released those documents when you did?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's a hypothetical question, John. We received those documents from a major news organization. We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.

If the basic thrust of the memos was false - if, say, Bush came forward and said "Hey, wait a minute! Those can't be real! I never disobeyed a direct order..." then why would our dear Scotty say such a thing?

And, yes, trolls, if the documents are proven to be forgeries than Rather and CBS will have major egg on face, and they'll get their punishment like the Bush administration did when they fell for forged documents recently. And, yes, if they're proven to be forgeries, then whoever passed them to CBS, at least if they *knew* they were forged, should be outed.

But, none of that changes the fact that as Scotty said, they "had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time."


No calls for Rather's resignation; indeed an insistence that they were right to publish the documents. No links to the charges, no acknowledgement that they appear substantive beyond "they have their problems". Just kind of a sullen insistence that there's still something to the underlying story.

How about Kos? Can't find his archives (why I am not surprised that he's not interested in the past?). Oliver Willis doesn't have archives to 2004. Crooks and Liars only search result for Mapes takes us to another one of those "fake but accurate articles, this one well after the fact:

Lost in the commotion over the authenticity of the documents is that the underlying facts of Rather's 60 Minutes report are substantially true...

Indeed, this post, written six months after the Rathergate Memos were proven to be phony, steadfastly refuses to come to that conclusion:

Surprisingly, the panel was unable to conclude whether the documents are forgeries or not. If the documents are not forgeries, what is the reason for the report? The answer is: to criticize the newsgathering practices of CBS, whether the documents are authentic or not. As such, the report is less than fully credible.

Our side, when confronted with credible evidence moved swiftly to condemn Domenech's actions. Their side? Tried to weasel that the fraudulent documents didn't matter, and maybe they weren't phony anyway. It's as if we said, it doesn't matter that Ben stole those words, the important thing is what he thought of the movie.

Anybody know of a large, liberal blog that promptly acknowledged that the documents were fake and condemned CBS for presenting them? I've checked a half dozen, but most of them seem to have forgotten that 2004 ever existed.
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