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Big fight over plagiarism accusation

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Elliotte Friedman, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    Pretty amazing plagiarism accusation and reaction at The Globe and Mail.

    Last week, Carol Wainio -- who runs a blog site called "Media Culpa" -- accused Margaret Wente, who is arguably the newspaper's top columnist, of plagiarizing a 2009 Ottawa Citizen column. In that posting, she also providing links to three other situations where Wente appears to have crossed the line. (Personal note: I really like Wente's work).

    Here is Wainio's complaint (including those other links): http://mediaculpapost.blogspot.ca/2012/09/margaret-wente-zero-for-plagiarism.html

    The Globe ignored this for a couple of days, although several Canadian media members made an issue of it on twitter. It stirred the paper into a response, which rivaled only Yunel Escobar's apology for total crisis ineptitude. Really, I was stunned when I read it: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/community/inside-the-globe/public-editor-we-investigate-all-complaints-against-our-writers/article4559295/ The "anonymous blogger" references are about as elitist and tone-deaf as it gets, especially since the Wainio is not exactly anonymous.

    That, of course, only inflamed the situation.

    Today, The Globe published one story indicating Editor-and-Chief John Stackhouse "took action" against Wente and made changes to the public editor's responsibilities. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/globe-takes-action-on-allegations-against-columnist/article4565683/

    Then, Wente wrote a defence. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/columnist-margaret-wente-defends-herself/article4565731/ She apologizes (sort of) and basically says she's the victim of smear campaign by people who don't like what she writes. Wainio struck back with another posting including all of her claims of Wente's plagiarism -- http://mediaculpapost.blogspot.ca/.

    It's a lot of reading, but it's quite the story and I'd really like to hear your opinions.
     
  2. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    Agreed, Elliotte, that the response was totally tone-deaf.

    I've never bought the "the chaos of gathering material" excuse either. I would never read someone else's words and think that I wrote them. I don't see how you might lift an entire paragraph, say, and forget that it wasn't yours.
     
  3. JR

    JR Active Member

    Tim Harper from the Star weighed in with a column today about what I guess Type refers to as "the chaos of research" although I'm not sure the argument stands.

    There's a difference between having a casual conversation with someone and writing about it as opposed to lifting sentences and paragraphs from other writers' columns

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1262116--tim-harper-the-perils-of-mainstream-journalism-in-the-social-media-era


    At a reception Monday evening, I gleaned some fascinating information about the Canadian airline industry from an executive, a man I had never before met.
    If his expertise ever morphed into an opinion under my byline, I suppose I should credit him. But I’ll be damned if I can remember his name.

    It seems to me to be a false equivalency. Quoting someone in a casual conversation is not plagiarism.

    On a personal note this saddens me since I've been reading the Globe for over 50 years. Yup, half a century.

    I grew up on Scott Young, Dick Beddoes and God help me, Richard Needham.

    Globe columnists have always been the best and the brightest and Wente has diminished that.
     
  4. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    Ditto on the 'chaos' of research. Terrible bullshit Information Age excuse.

    Wiki! Microfiche! Stacks at the library! Nexis-Lexis! Fog of war!
     
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    Wait, my assistant just sent me a research file for this post.

    I've never bought the "the chaos of gathering material" excuse either. I would never read someone else's words and think that I wrote them. I don't see how you might lift an entire paragraph, say, and forget that it wasn't yours.
     
  6. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    But going back through my notebooks I found this, which I feel comfortable updating to

    Ditto on the 'chaos' of research. Terrible bullshit Information Age excuse.

    Wiki! Microfiche! Stacks at the library! Nexis-Lexis! Lexis-Nexis! Fog of war!



    and I just "found" this "online" unattributed.

    Globe columnists have always been the best and the brightest and Wente has diminished that.
     
  7. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    I've never bought the "the chaos of gathering material" excuse. I would never read someone else's words and think I wrote them. I don't see how you lift an entire paragraph and forget that it wasn't yours. Terrible bullshit Information Age excuse.

    Wiki! Microfiche! Stacks at the library! Lexis-Nexis! Fog of war!

    Globe columnists have always been the best and the brightest and Wente has diminished that.
     
  8. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Chaos of research = It's not that I steal other people's work, it's just that I'm really bad at my job.
     
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