Democrat Plagiarized Blogger To Bash Alito

Discussion in 'Politics' started by GotZoom, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I'm shocked. Really...I am. O.K. I'm not.

    ------

    Rep. Sherrod Brown wrote to Sen. Mike DeWine last Friday, voicing concern about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's labor record.

    Brown's language was crisp -- and was plagiarized.

    Roughly 90 percent of what Brown, an Avon Democrat, wrote in his letter was lifted from an Internet posting by a blogger, as Brown's office acknowledged Monday when The Plain Dealer presented the similarities.

    Brown had not credited the blogger, Nathan Newman of NathanNewman.org, or any other source.

    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."

    Brown's letter cited details of 13 rulings by Alito, who in early 2006 will face confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The problem is, Brown's descriptions in 12 of the cases were almost verbatim what Newman wrote on his blog.

    Students can be flunked for copying others' words without attribution, and journalists can be fired. While the line dividing politicians and online political commentary sometimes seems fuzzy, University of Chicago political scientist Daniel Drezner, himself a blogger and co-editor of a forthcoming book on poli tics and blog ging, says Brown went "outside the bounds."

    He com pared it with Sen. Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who dropped out of the 1988 presidential race after it was learned he plagiarized part of a stump speech.

    "It strikes me as pretty much the same thing," Drezner said. "It's plagiarism."

    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. "The Republicans were rushing to confirm Alito, and we wanted to collect as much accurate information as quickly as possible."

    Brown has filed papers to run against DeWine in 2006, though he'll have to get through a primary first. His letter to DeWine, which he released to reporters Friday, was as much a political taunt as it was heartfelt correspondence to a Judiciary Committee member.

    "We couldn't decide who to respond to -- the person who sent us the letter or the person who wrote the letter," joked Mike Dawson, DeWine's communications director. "So we decided not to respond to either."

    http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1131445870289970.xml&coll=2
     
  2. Hagbard Celine
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    Hagbard Celine Senior Member

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    Rep. Brown is not being graded because he isn't a student and his pay is not based on the originality and quality of his writing like a journalist. So though he has committed plagiarism, he has done nothing more than embarrass himself. He doesn't deserve to lose his job IMO.
     
  3. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    So morals and ethics aren't important to you.

    Plagiarizing = cheating.
     
  4. Hagbard Celine
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    Hagbard Celine Senior Member

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    In a black and white, chimp-inhabited world like the one depicted at the end of Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes"--Yes. But in the real world, where there are many shades of gray that make issues more complex than "Hulk smash," you have to take minor things like "facts" into consideration. Brown's staff wrote the paper and made the mistake of not citing Newman's article. Brown, who is a busy man, a US Representative no less, doesn't have time to check the accuracy of all the sources his staff uses when he signs-off on the stacks and stacks of documents he is presented with everyday. If anybody should be fired, it's the staff member who wrote the document.
     
  5. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    The writer is a member of his staff. It happened on his watch. He is ultimately responsible.

    Being "a busy man" is not a defense.

    I agree. The staff member should be fired.

    Now...will he/she?
     
  6. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Rep Brown should fire the staffer that "wrote" this and thus embarrassed him in public.

    The excuse of using a blogger to find as "much accurate information as possible" is also ridiculous considering the fact that bloggers are discredited often because they do not have the same checks as even the crappy regular media has and we've seen how those "checks" work with cBS. It makes me wonder how often this Rep has been using the words of others and taking credit for them, even without his knowledge.
     
  7. Hagbard Celine
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    Hagbard Celine Senior Member

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    The staff member, Kuebler, said they checked Newman's facts and validated them before they put them in Brown's document.

    I don't think you're being fair to the MSNM. Most, if not all news organizations have strict ethical codes that require journalists to check facts and stay on the straight and narrow. Now before you say anything, I know there are exceptions to the rule, like Dan Rather's gaffe or the Jayson Blair fiasco, but their actions aren't indicative of all journalists.
     
  8. unlawflcombatnt
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    unlawflcombatnt Guest

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    Let me see if I've got this straight. Representative Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to Mike DeWine using information he obtained from an outside source, but failed to acknowledge the source of the information in the letter. What's the problem? People write letters all the time using information they obtained from other sources.

    Do you think Bush writes his own speeches, or does his own research?


    _________________
    The economy needs balance between the "means of production" & "means of consumption."
     
  9. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    Did you see the movie "Shattered Glass"?
     
  10. Hagbard Celine
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    Hagbard Celine Senior Member

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    No, but I looked it up on IMDB. It looks interesting though. It's very appropriate for what we're talking about here.
     

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