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Monday, August 11, 2008
 
McCain Plagiarism Scandal?

Oh, boy are they scraping the bottom of the barrel today:

A Wikipedia editor emailed Political Wire to point out some similarities between Sen. John McCain's speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. Given the closeness of the words and sentence structure, most would consider parts of McCain's speech to be derived directly from Wikipedia.


Most? Most what? Most liberals with an axe to grind? Check out these purported instances:

one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion (Wikipedia)

vs.

one of the world's first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion (McCain)


And that's the best one. Now you can argue that maybe McCain's speechwriter culled the basic factoid from Wikipedia (or from a common source), but there are a limited number of ways to enunciate that fact once you have it.

Here's a real stretch:

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. (Wikipedia)

vs.

After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises. (McCain)


Again at worst, the McCain speechwriter has taken some fact from the Wikipedia entry, and reworked the writing. Hey, they should hire this guy as an editor; his prose reads much better than Wikipedia.

And the third one is completely ridiculous:

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities. (Wikipedia)

vs.

Following fraudulent parliamentary elections in 2003, a peaceful, democratic revolution took place, led by the U.S.-educated lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution changed things dramatically and, following his election, President Saakashvili embarked on a series of wide-ranging and successful reforms. (McCain)


Wonkette is similarly unimpressed:

What kind of idiot thinks he can use the unique phrase “the Soviet Union in 1922″ or the archaic term “economic crises” and, somehow, get away with it? If anything, he’s damn lucky that people didn’t call him out for stealing the term “Cold War” from Wikipedia, too.


And Blog PI puts it well:

Pretty soon they’ll be accused of doing research.
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