Plain-Dealer Concocts Blog Scandal

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer did a hatchet job this week on potential Ohio Senate candidate Sherrod Brown and liberal blogger Nathan Newman.

On Tuesday, Plain-Dealer Washington bureau chief Stephen Koff reported that Brown plagiarized a weblog post written by Newman about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's record on worker's rights issues.

Koff accurately describes how Brown's staff reused Newman's writing in a letter, but the 20-year reporter made a rookie mistake: He never asked Newman if he objected.

Newman doesn't object at all, and he informed the newspaper that his weblog entry was published on Daily Kos with permission for others to copy it: "Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified." An Associated Press story properly noted Newman's consent.

If Koff had spoken to Newman before the story ran, I have trouble believing it would have been published at all. No editor would want the story "Politician Omits Attribution on Letter; Original Source Doesn't Mind."

Instead of correcting its mistake, the Plain-Dealer has responded by attacking Newman in an unsigned editorial:

We need to know who is speaking. Is it a responsible, elected public official, or an Internet dilettante? Or is theirs a seamless relationship that makes a vote for Brown a vote for nathannewman.org or the Daily Kos?

Newman is an attorney and author with 20 years experience in public policy and postgraduate degrees from Berkeley and Yale. I'd love to find out which Plain-Dealer opinion writer wrote that sneer, so we can compare that journalist's background to a blogger dismissed as a dilettante.

Comments

If a friend gave you his old term paper and you turned it in under your name, would the prof give you a pass because you had permission?

If a TV news show runs a report on the White House under its own logo, but it's actually a tape prepared by a GOP PR firm, would you consider that acceptable journalism because the flack said it was OK?

Complain if you want about where the PD played the story or the tone of its editorial ... but please don't try to change the definition of "plagiarism" because you don't like it. We don't need to go down that whole "it depends what your definition of 'is' is" route again.

Sherrod apologized. He admits it was a mistake. Can we move on?

There are two elements to the definition of plagiarism: (1) copying text without permission and (2) claiming it as your own work.

Brown had Newman's permission, so the first element isn't there.

anyone in the news industry should know that many many minor news stories have large sections of text that are "borrowed" from news releases. a good activist will write a press release to look like a news story to make this easier for the overworked reporters to regurgitate it into their story, often word for word. I would venture to guess that the Plain-Dealer is just as guilty of that type of plagiarism as just about every other newspaper in this country. also, many many politicians have speechwriters whom they do not credit at the time of their speeches.

Rogers lashes back at the backlash his backlash elicited, "Brown had Newman's permission, so the first element isn't there."

The Right has no ability, whatsoever, to cover up any misfeasance, such as done by Brown's staff, because the Left won't let them. And you specifically, Rogers, promote such efforts to *reveal* any attempts to excuse or forget those errors in judgement in your various 'blogs.'

Yet, when the Right attempts to highlight the errors in judgement done by the Left? You are johnny-on-the-spot to call them murmerers and backbiters -- thereby identifying your own vile character by projection.

Plagiarism it was and plagiarism it remains, despite the partisan (after the fact) *permission* by the original author And the slavishly partisan attempt to defame and revile the messenger who noticed it...

Laughing at you on this one, Rogers...

The letter was addressed to Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio). His communications director, Mike Dawson, had the best line:

"We couldn't decide who to respond to--the person who sent us the letter or the person who wrote the letter."

Yet, when the Right attempts to highlight the errors in judgement done by the Left? You are johnny-on-the-spot to call them murmerers and backbiters -- thereby identifying your own vile character by projection.

My own vile character didn't stop me from reporting the Air America loan issue, which I regarded as a pretty egregious mistake.

I don't think the left vs. right component of this story is particularly interesting. It could just as easily have been Brown shopping a cheap talking point to a reporter about how DeWine plagiarized a right-wing blogger.

I'd like to hear the Plain-Dealer's explanation for the attribution in this story on air quality, in which the Heartland Institute is cited as a "Chicago-based nonprofit research and commentary group."

No where is it mentioned that Heartland is funded by ExxonMobil, or that an ExxonMobil executive serves on its board of directors.

(Heartland also likes to play the sockpuppet of industry in the debate over municipal wireless networks, but the press rarely picks up on it.)

Rogers says, "My own vile character didn't stop me from reporting the Air America loan issue, which I regarded as a pretty egregious mistake."

You reported it as an excuse for Air America and why they weren't responsible for any "errors." You even got in a lick or two about "conservative blogs" making "it" an issue.

Now, here we are with you misdirecting your effort to revile and defame the truth! The blog, under question, and those reporting on it did not make any "errors," but you are trying to spin that lie into reality! You make Brown out to be innocent with Newman's post hoc "permission," while the real "bad guys" are those nattering rightwingers on those "conservative blogs."

"I don't think the left vs. right component of this story is particularly interesting. It could just as easily have been Brown shopping a cheap talking point to a reporter about how DeWine plagiarized a right-wing blogger."

It could have been anything other than what it was, Rogers. In this particular case, it was you attempting to lay some sort of blame on a blog, and author, for noticing that Brown plagiarized the work of another and pretended that it was 'his' own.

That they (Koff, et al) noticed wasn't a lie, a misdirection or any other 'thing.' Instead, it was a lie that Brown, or his staff created the opinion, it was a misdirection to use that story to blame Koff for some rookie 'error' and to shift that 'thing' off of Brown and onto him.

Admit it, you're just jealous of a 'scoop,' eh?

I didn't offer a single excuse for Air America in that item about the loans. Nor did I make any digs about conservative blogs -- I gave them credit for popularizing the story, which began as a small item in an obscure New York City newspaper picked up by the New York Sun.

So, just to be clear here: You're saying it's all right for a college student to turn in someone else's term paper under his name, as long as the original writer says it's OK?

The college student analogy is not apt. A student is bound by a code of conduct to not pass off someone else's work as his own, whether or not he has permission from that person.

A politician regularly uses the work of speech writers, public policy institutes, and his own staff. Brown's office used a blogger's information without attribution. The blogger offers blanket permission for such use. The blogger approves of their use of his work. How is this a story?

Tadowe-If the website (dailykos) had not had the express permission already pasted on their site, then your "partisan (after the fact) *permission* by the original author" jibe might make some sense.

Since everyone seems so fond of analogies, it would be like you getting bit by a dog and saying you weren't warned even though the owner of the property you were on had a "Beware of Dog" sign.

Sean writes, "Tadowe-If the website (dailykos) had not had the express permission already pasted on their site, then your "partisan (after the fact) *permission* by the original author" jibe might make some sense."

I suppose that some can convince themselves that the conservative blog/blogger was incorrect in their criticism of Brown. First of all, it isn't Brown, himself, who wrote the letter -- it was his staff, and he merely signed it. Indeed, the staff usually write the 'letters' for their political boss' and so it is technically 'plagiarism' in those cases, too, but can't be considered anything wrong, per se. Secondly, the 'idea(s)' expressed in the 'letter' were reproducible without permission.

Unfortunately, and as Rogers knows, it is still plagiarism because Brown, in the abstract, is a political 'leader' and is expected to use his own 'idea(s)' and express them in his own way, even if borrowed -- not use almost exactly the same words produced by another; without attribution. The 'staff' even acknowledged that they should have mentioned the website, at least.

Rogers continues to misdirect by indicating that the 'idea(s)' are often borrowed and the sentiments are the same. That is true, but it is still an original presentation of those ideas and sentiments, and not copied from originals. When that happens, it is plagiarism and will always be a subject for severe criticism in academia, law and science; as well as literature and journalism.

That's why it is so strange to see Rogers defend it, after receiving honors in journalism...himself...

Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you), is about to explain how all this ties into intelligent design - a fancy term for creationism.

Lonestar J.R. mocks, "Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you), is about to explain how all this ties into intelligent design - a fancy term for creationism."

I am not a religionist, Jr., and don't feel any insult in your effort to put words in my mouth -- a sort of reverse plagiarism, and as oxymoronic as that might indicate your 'position' to be.

You are misdirecting the subject in issuing a personal attack, and demonstrating a sophomoric understanding of debate to top it off.

Besides, I don't think Rogers needs your 'defense,' when that support is as inane as you have written...

You are misdirecting the subject in issuing a personal attack ...

Where is the personal attack in the above post? Point it out.

Back in 2001 in W.'s budget address to congress, he began the speech by using "No child left behind," which is a trademarked phrase that belongs to the Children's Defense Fund. He closed the speech with "Juntos Podemos (Together We Can). That was the slogan of the United Farm Workers.

I could care less. I didn't get pissed off about that. It was probably wrong and I am sure his speech writers were aware of it, yet, it was inconsequential and meaningless to me. I guess I could have wrung my hands and made a big scene about it since I usually don't agree with him much.

However, if I get mad about one act of plagiarism, then I need to get mad about them all. And if I get only mad about it when the other political side engages in it, then it really was never about principle or the specific case of plagiarism in question. It's about what American politics has become - cheering for one side or the other no moatter what. And being critical of one side or the other no matter what. Which make s American politicis no more significant than you cheering for the Packers and me cheering for the Saints. Yeah , I know .... I know ...

I recently wrote that I support the nomination of Alito - not because I am an Alito fan but because I think all presidents have the right to choose who they want to help implement their vision of where the country should go. My liberal friends and even some of my libertarian friends chided me. But I support that principle whether Bush, Clinton or Tadowe is the president ... God (or the Intelligent Designer) forbid.

Lonestar asks, "Where is the personal attack in the above post? Point it out."

You said, "Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you)..."

This is a juvenile, even childish, mockery of someone's name -- it is an obvious personal attack.

You also said, "[Tadowe is]...about to explain how all this ties into intelligent design - a fancy term for creationism."

This is a lie, because I had no intention of mentioning the subjects. You attempted to place-words-in-my-mouth in an attempt to belittle the effort, invented by you, to change "creationism" into "intelligent design," or try to make them the same, in order to revile that assumption you claim is mine.

Now, you are attempting to bluff your position, apparently to save your already smeared "face," by asking a rhetorical question used to misdirect the facts (and which are apparent to anyone who bothers to notice.)

Is this Harvard against Yale, or is it even Lonestar J.R. against Tadowe?

Have the rules of order for parliamentary procedure been defined here? If they were, I missed it.

Tadowe is having a formal debate with himself, as it were, since everyone else is arguing under the relaxed rules of a "backwater blog" (vide Tadowe).

Tadowe is, ipso facto, a masochist for continuing to torture himself in his futile effort to subjugate everyone to the rules he pretends to play by.

I have known Tadowe to engage in "a juvenile, even childish mockery of someone's name."

Vince asks, "Have the rules of order for parliamentary procedure been defined here? If they were, I missed it."

I don't know why you need to constantly miscontrue something, in order to find fault with it -- build a strawman in order to criticise it. I haven't mentioned anything about 'parliamentary procedures,' and you didn't 'miss(ed) it' because you invented it.

"Tadowe is having a formal debate with himself, as it were, since everyone else is arguing under the relaxed rules of a "backwater blog" (vide Tadowe)."

No one is 'arguing' except that I am being made the 'subject' by those who actually can't discuss the original topic. It isn't dictating 'rules' to notice efforts such as inventing strawman arguments, or attacking ad hominem and which are attempted to be used in place of 'argument.' You merely provide an example of such pseudointellectual efforts, and also display your continuing personal obsession with me.

"Tadowe is, ipso facto, a masochist for continuing to torture himself in his futile effort to subjugate everyone to the rules he pretends to play by. I have known Tadowe to engage in 'a juvenile, even childish mockery of someone's name.'"

I exercise my freedom to reply to comments addressed to me. If those comments are insulting, I don't feel any compunction to not reply in kind. However, I attempt to draw my insulting conclusions based on whatever evidence is provided for me by the commentator. For example, you project some effort on my part to subject people to 'rules' you say I don't 'play by.' That in doing so, I gain some perverse pleasure from knowing how futile that is, or happens to be; I am, ipso facto, a masochist.

How much more freudian do you think you could possibly be?

Tadowe says, "What would you say, Sir, if you were told that in time a bigger and better post than yours would be compiled by a Whig?"

Vince says, "A Dissenter?"

"Aye".

Vince, "A Scotsman?"

Tadowe, "Aye, and the University of Oxford will publish it."

Vince roars, "Sir, in order to be facetious it is not necessary to be indecent!"

"

Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you)..."

That might be mockery but in no way is it a personal attack. A personal attack entails a critical negative judgment or declartive statement like a claim that someone is stupid or unattractive, etc. I did none of those things, but apparently Tadowe thinks that simply him saying it was a personal attack makes it so. Again where exactly is the personal attack? Who's misdirecting now?

Tadowe says No one is 'arguing' except that I am being made the 'subject' by those who actually can't discuss the original topic ...

Seems like I had an entire post that started with "Back in 2001 in W.'s budget address to congress, he began the speech by using "No child left behind," which is a trademarked phrase that belongs to the Children's Defense Fund." And that went unanswered.

You chose to not answer that post and you chose to go off on your teatise about someone tying your name into a Police song. I didn't think it would be that easy Tadowe. But now I know it is.

Lonestar J.R. says, "That might be mockery but in no way is it a personal attack. A personal attack entails a critical negative judgment or declartive statement like a claim that someone is stupid or unattractive, etc."

Deriding a person's name is a 'personal attack.' How you can hope to twist mockery into anything other than a personal attack is beyond me!

"I did none of those things, but apparently Tadowe thinks that simply him saying it was a personal attack makes it so. Again where exactly is the personal attack? Who's misdirecting now?"

Laughing out loud at you! You can't say what mockery happens to be, if not a personal attack -- holding someone up for ridicule in laughing at their name -- but start a new attack on me by saying that I am inventing 'it?' That by asking a rhetorical question, "...[W]here exactly is the personal attack?" that that dismisses any consideration that you addressed me ad hominem...?

I can't believe that you are old enough to be married, you appear so callow...but Rogers says that he was there, so I guess you must be...

Pretty sad for the distaff member of your 'team.'

Another ubiquitous 'Visitor' says, "You chose to not answer that post and you chose to go off on your teatise about someone tying your name into a Police song. I didn't think it would be that easy Tadowe. But now I know it is."

The subject of the thread was the effort by one blog site to notice a politician who copied a blog post and used it, and the information, as if it were his own. It wasn't about borrowing a term or phrase; e.g., talking about "Blogs R Us;" but rather copying almost an entire article and claiming it as original. Of course, the twist/spin/misdirection was intented to make the site which had discovered the plagiarism at fault for noticing. An effort to blame the Right for noticing the fault(s) of the Left.

Now, here you are trying to do the same. You, and your ilk, can't admit that what was done was indeed a definitive act of plagiarism by Brown, et al, but must slavishly try to invent some 'plagiarism' to smear the Right for using; as in your claim that no-child-left-behind is the 'property' of some other organization (and anyone who copies the term is 'evil.')

What a bunch of unthinking automatons you 'ilk' just happen to be. Inveterate liars and hypocrites for your party of 'progressives'...

Might as well order your Sam Brown belts, early...

Since it's so clear that saying "Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you)..." is a personal attack, then quantify it. If it's a personal attack, then what bad thing do you think a person would think about you when they read it? Tell me what damage that particular statement caused? None, of course. You think it is just merely because you say so and everyone reading this know's that's true. And you just dismiss that it doesn't matter what the author intends - it only matters what you say about it. Of couse I might know better since I wrote it and know what was in my heart at the time. The irony, of course, is this comes from a guy who makes the determination that he thinks I am not old enough to be married, that responds to criticism with real personal blasts like, "What a bunch of unthinking automatons you 'ilk' just happen to be. Inveterate liars and hypocrites for your party of 'progressives'...", simply because you disagree. Amazing that you would argue what I said was a personal attack on you and that you will invariably argue what you said was not. Since that's the way you are going to operate, consider me done with you. By the way, I voted Libertarian in the last presidential election and Republican in the last Louisiana gubernatorial election. You try to put people in boxes whether they truly fit their or not. Have a nice life.

Here we have a never-ending argument between an electronic scoreboard and a caucus of one.

That man is "the most bellicose bantam cock that ever defied creation".

Vivat!

J.R. writes, "Since it's so clear that saying "Watchout Rogers. TaDowe, TaDeee, TaHa HA HA (is all I want to say to you)..." is a personal attack, then quantify it."

I don't know, what scale do you want to use? If the 'scale' is sophomoric debate tactics (or substitute illogic, if you will,) then you have a pretty good score. On that scale, you score up-there with the best in attempting to dismiss what I have said, and will say, with a sneer; in place of the missing logic. You do so by mocking my name, and actually saying so in parenthesis.

Now, you make more illogical excuses -- off subject -- and boring mr boabdil, who apparently is, himself, attempting an insult rather than any reasonable argument.

How's that?

Sir, Tadowe's preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to see it done at all.

One of the obsessed copies, "Sir, a woman's [Tadowe's] preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to see it done at all."

Not content to plagiarize the words, the "obsesssed" mimes the inventiveness they themself lack and sign off as:

"The Great Cham"

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money".

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