Thursday, February 07, 2019

Glass Houses

I'm a bit of a softy on plagiarism charges generally because sometimes it gets into "is this enough of a paraphrasing" territory. I guess I buy the sloppy defense a bit more than some do. But especially when you're a journalist writing a book about how all the new journalism is bad unlike the good old days of journalism and the good old journalists like yourself, and you screw up that badly (bad enough that even I don't think the sloppy defense is applicable), you have a bit of a problem and a little bit of remorse and shame would be appropriate.. But New York Times journalists and alums are not known for their sense of shame, as by definition they can do no wrong. They never get it wrong.
It’s not the status of the words that defines the offense, it’s the status of the person who originally wrote the words compared to the person who copied them. That’s why people who otherwise profess to care about professional standards are rallying around Abramson. Jill Abramson can’t seriously be a plagiarist, because plagiarism isn’t a serious offense when people like Jill Abramson do it. Fareed Zakaria, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose, Juan Williams—above a certain level, a public figure is immune to any real career consequences for stealing work from the lower castes.