The new administration is already notorious for one high-profile example of this: our new first lady used without attribution a passage from a speech once given by her precursor as FLOTUS.
Now, though, another example has popped up. Plagiarism may yet become a theme of the coverage of the dreary years to come. It is not the gravest of sins, but it may be a valuable symptom of what people do and don't consider important.
The POTUS-elect has named Monica Crowley, of Fox News, as director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. This appointment reminded people that Crowley is the author of a book, one with a cutesy title at that: What the (Bleep) Just Happened (2012).
CNN's KFile looked carefully at that book and found 50 examples of word-for-word copying, many of them quite extensive passages.
Here's one example. From the book, a passage criticizing Nancy Pelosi:
She also said that she was only briefed once—in September 2002—on the advanced interrogation methods.
At the time, Pelosi was the House Minority Whip and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She said that CIA briefers told her that "the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal" and added that waterboarding "was not being employed."
And from a Fox News article two years before:
Last year, Pelosi said she was only briefed once on the advanced interrogation methods, in September 2002.
At the time, Pelosi was the House Minority Whip and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She said in May 2009 that CIA briefers told her that "the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal," and added that waterboarding "was not being employed."
Of course, Pelosi's comment could no longer be dated to "last year" when Crowley got around to the copy and paste job. So she had to change that bit. After that she inverted two clauses and substituted dashes for a comma. (If it were up to me, I'd go with the original structure and punctuation -- Crowley's originality here seems to have weakened the sentence.) In the following graf, and in the following two grafs I haven't bothered to include here, she didn't bother with face saving changes at all.
Personally intriguing to me is a bit of plagiarism at the expense of Investopedia, a publication to which I make occasional contributions myself.
Crowley took for a lengthy explanation of the "Keynesianism multiplier" an Investopedia comment by Andrew Beattie.
This is how she wrote it:
A critical part of Keynesian theory is the "multiplier effect," first introduced by British economist and Keynes protégé Richard Kahn in the 1930s. It essentially argued that when the government injected spending into the economy, it created cycles of spending that increased employment and
prosperity regardless of the form of the spending. Here’s how the multiplier is supposed to work:
a $100 million government infrastructure project might cost $50 million in labor. The workers then take that $50 million and, minus the average saving rate, spend it on various goods and services. Those businesses then use that money to hire more people to make more products,
leading to another round of spending. This idea was central to the New Deal and the growth of the Left’s redistributionist state.
Here is the Investopedia explanation:
The Keynesian multiplier was introduced by Richard Kahn in the 1930s. It showed that any government spending brought about cycles of spending that increased employment and prosperity regardless of the form of the spending. For example, a $100 million government project, whether to build a dam or dig and refill a giant hole, might pay $50 million in pure labor costs. The workers then take that $50 million and, minus the average saving rate, spend it at various businesses. These businesses now have more money to hire more people to make more products, leading to another round of spending. This idea was at the core of the New Deal and the growth of the welfare state.
This doesn't leave a lot of room for doubt that she had the latter in front of her when she 'wrote' the former. The changes she introduces here are presumably due to her polemical purposes. Crowley calls Kahn Keynes' "protégé" because Keynes is a better known name, long demonized on the right, so the connection between the two men, implicit already in Investopedia, has to be driven home. She changes the term "welfare state" (not demoniacal enough?) to "the Left's redistributionist state." Otherwise ... she didn't even bother changing the numbers in the example.
Crowley's book had no footnotes or bibliography, which makes this worse. With the scholarly apparatus, even if the word-to-word match up seems uncomfortably close, she could at least have pointed to a page on which she gave Fox News or Investopedia some credit. Here ... nada.
UPDATE: Crowley is not taking the job after all.