I often thing media plagiarism "scandals" are overblown, and almost always highly selective. Citation standards are cultural and vary by types of publication. There's no room for footnotes in a column or in a speech, and sometimes things which are clearly meant to be referential, like quoting a relatively famous quote without actually crediting the original author, are attacked. Often it's clear that sloppy paraphrasing is involved. That's wrong, but it isn't capital crime level wrong.
But that doesn't mean anything goes. Lifting whole paragraphs regularly without proper citation is wrong. And most of the defenses I mentioned don't apply to your Ph.D dissertation, as in academia citation standards are fairly clear and fairly high. There is room for those foot(or end)notes. This seems to be a "degree revoking" level of plagiarism, though I don't know anything about how universities deal with such things (specifically, it's a "throw them out before you grant the degree" situation if you catch them, but without clear processes in place, it's a bit more problematic to revoke a degree once granted.)