Sunday, November 04, 2007

He's so fine, Hm, my lord, Wish he were mine, Hm, my lord,

(one of he most lovely bits of plagiarism ever known)

The MSM (MainStream Media) have been late to the dance in recognizing or even considering the effect of blogs on the, well, media. Often derided, and depicted as amateurish and ineffectual, the acceptance of bloggers has been slow in coming.

But our friend skippy tells us we may have a case of a Professional Writer™ who just may have, ahem, 'borrowed' from a blogger. Without attribution or credit.

The normally bat-shit crazy Patterico (a prosecutor in Los Angeles County; keep that in mind, would-be criminals) notices this little bit of coincidence:
Here’s Joel Stein, November 2:
Just how easy is it for Coulter to offend someone? Would any words from her mouth do the trick? To test this theory, I developed the Ann Coulter Mad Libs.™

It’s a good thing he used that ™ mark. He wouldn’t want anyone to steal his concept.

Oh, look! Here’s Media Bloodhound, October 18 (two weeks earlier):
In honor of Ann Coulter’s influence on American media and politics, the Penguin Group (USA), in a joint venture with Ms. Coulter’s Random House publisher, the Crown Publishing Group, is releasing a special edition of Mad Libs titled Ann Libs.
There's more at the Patterico post. And if you follow the links to both Media Bloodhound and Stein's posts, the similarities are indeed similar!

As skippy points out in an email to me:
granted, there are no copied jokes other than the premise, but the premise, prima facie, is identical to the point approaching zero percent of difference.

Indeed. While it doesn't seem to rise to the level of famous media plagiarists:
  • New York Times reporter Jayson Blair plagiarized articles and manufactured quotations in stories, including stories regarding Jessica Lynch and the Beltway sniper attacks. He and several editors from the Times resigned in June 2003.[34]
  • Conservative blogger Ben Domenech, soon after he was hired to write a blog for the Washington Post in 2006, was found to have plagiarized a number of columns and articles he'd written for his college newspaper and National Review Online, lifting passages from a variety of sources ranging from well-known pundits to amateur film critics. Domenech ultimately apologized and resigned.[37]
  • In 1999, writer and television commentator Monica Crowley allegedly plagiarized part of an article she wrote for the Wall Street Journal (August 9, 1999), called "The Day Nixon Said Goodbye." The Journal ran an apology the same week. Timothy Noah of Slate Magazine later wrote of the striking similarities in her article to phrases Paul Johnson used in his 1988 article for Commentary called "In Praise of Richard Nixon".[33]
still, the coincidence is startlingly coincidental. As skippy suggests:
why not help out by emailing the latimes editors, their readers' representative, and/or joel stein, and pointing out this obvious bit of literary thievery?

Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to!