19 May, 2009

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Sometimes, little events have unexpected consequences. MoDo plagiarizes TPM blogger extraordinaire Josh Marshall, which leads to a lame-ass excuse from her, which leads Digby down memory lane (who was it who accused Joe Biden of plagiarism, eh?). Glenn Greenwald asks, "Who's the parasite now, bitches?" and TPM blogger Boyd Reed muses, "Hmm, wonder if I've ever been plagarized by the MSM? Well, well, whaddya know!"
So, I started using teh Google on some of my older blog titles. About five minutes later, I found a case of out-and-out, wholesale plagiarism of one of my own pieces.

I wrote the blog entry "Michele Bachmann - Unstable AND Unable" here on TPM on February 20, 2009.

A writer on Salem-News.com, Dorsett Bennett, wrote this article on February 27. To conserve space, I won't quote it here.

The first half of Bennett's article is, well, my blog. With only a few cosmetic changes, he essentially lifted my piece and made it part of his own. Of course, I am not cited anywhere in the article, nor is TPM.
My, how things change when a newspaper's caught in flagrante plagiarizo:

Shorter, sweeter, and salted liberally with paens to the TPM source they ripped off. However, dear old Bennett apparently does not know the power of teh Google cache. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you before:

The frantic credits have been growing all day. They started simply, with just a little mention right at the end, as caught by commenter Winslow:

Cute how he tried to sneak that in without noting it's an update, innit? Alas, teh Google knows all, and knows he wasn't giving Boyd one iota of credit before he got his ass caught:

Apparently, plagiarism is this paper's area of expertise, and Bennett is their grand-master. Shameless flatterers, they are. Something tells me that after this, they shall be obsessive about giving credit where it's due. And cursing Maureen Dowd for ruining their fun all the while.

Funny how one thing leads to another, innit? And I'm sure the story won't end here. One small comments section in TPM, together with Greenwald's piece, demonstrate that filching from bloggers without attribution is a favorite trick of the very same news outlets who bitch about bloggers quoting their work. Perhaps it's because we, y'know, actually credit them.

All of this has given me an idea for the next iPhone app: maybe they can create one called iBeenPlagiarized, making it simple for us to search the intertoobz for instances where "original reporting" is MSM code for "I ripped it off from a blogger."


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you saved some screen shots because the article appears to have been deleted. Too bad. I thought it was a great example of plagiarism and at least initially, a pretty insufficient response by Salem-News.com editors.

Allan Erickson said...

As a new writer for Salem-News trust me when I say the editors were outraged and made very uncomfortable by some those Bennett was plagiarizing from. It turns out virtually every piece he wrote he stole.

All of his articles have been removed from Salem-News.com