Coulter No Plagiarist
The portside blogs have been pushing this story
for awhile, including some of the larger blogs like TPM, Josh Marshall's blog.In a statement sent to E&P, Universal President and Editor Lee Salem said: "Last week a software program company official ran Ann Coulter's columns through a 'match-text' program, frequently used by teachers to detect original work. The New York Post cited two columns in which some text matched other published materials and also mentioned three snippets in her book, 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism.'
"In addition to looking at the columns mentioned in the New York Post story, we also reviewed a sampling of other columns that have been mentioned in the media. Like her book publisher, Crown, Universal Press Syndicate finds no merits to the allegations of plagiarism brought by the software company executive. There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism.
Indeed, if you look at the supposed examples of plagiarism at TPM, it's not hard to see that they're pretty weak beer
. Here's the first one, just to give you a flavor:Example 1: "As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire 'would become the abortion mill of the United States.'"
Alleged Source: "In 1977, Souter as state attorney general spoke out against a proposed repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime -- even though the measure had been largely invalidated by the Supreme Court in Roe. vs. Wade… 'Quite apart from the fact that I don't think unlimited abortions ought to be allowed . . . I presume we would become the abortion mill of the United States[.]'" ("Liberals Leery as New Clues Surface on Souters Views," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 1990)
(Identified by John Barrie/New York Post)
As you can see, the elements that might convince one that the passages are copied amount to a) facts and b) quotes. But facts, as Lee Salem observed, can only be stated in so many ways, and quotes can only be stated in two ways: verbatim and paraphrased.