November 3, 2013

Should we bully Rand Paul about plagiarism for cutting and pasting 3 pages of Heritage Fund text into his book "Government Bullies"?

Buzzfeed uses the word "plagiarism," but there is an endnote to the Heritage Fund report and Heritage Fund itself is only saying "we like when people cite our work."

How bad is this? (Multiple answers allowed.)
  
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52 comments:

Mr. D said...

I'll have to ask Neil Kinnock about it.

Matthew Sablan said...

It's certainly plagiarism. If you want to cut him some slack, the question is what the original draft looked like. Did he initially flub his citation so badly, or did somewhere along the way (editor/layout/proofer/etc.) someone ELSE screw it up and he just totally missed it when he did his final read?

With any college paper, if I turned this in, I'd have flunked it. I see no reason that a politician should be held to a lesser standard than a Freshman English student.

Paul said...

I vote none of the above.

Getting your source from Wikipedia is not plagiarize as anyone can edit the site and add or delete info.

Gahrie said...

Well at least Cruz wrote the rest of the book......we still don't officially know who wrote Obama's books.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Getting your source from Wikipedia is not plagiarize as anyone can edit the site and add or delete info.:

-- Yes, it is plagiarism. You should never use Wikipedia as a serious source in a scholarly piece. Go to the sources Wiki cites if you MUST take the lazy path.

"Well at least Cruz wrote the rest of the book......we still don't officially know who wrote Obama's books."

-- Rand Paul, not Cruz. Also: Stop fighting the last battle. There's no proof Obama did not write his books. Let it go.

Paddy O said...

"I see no reason that a politician should be held to a lesser standard than a Freshman English student."

There doesn't have to be a reason when tradition is firmly established in this respect.

SGT Ted said...

Alinskying in progress. They only care because its a Republican.

MikeDC said...

Poor editing is not plagiarism.

If he cited the work, he's obviously not trying to pass off someone else's work as his own.

Meade said...

Boo hoo hoo. Here's what I say (and you can quote me but please provide proper attribution): Good politicians borrow; great politicians steal.

Meade said...

I admit I borrowed "boo hoo hoo".

elkh1 said...

It is not a "profile in courage", nor does "it take a village", to make up "dreams of his old man", and Rand's ghost is a little sloppy, but if the "plagiarism" makes leftists read his book, low information voters hear about it, talking head discuss it,... Rand won.

jimspice said...

If only it were an isolated incident. Maddow has demonstrated over the past several days, there seems to be an undeniable pattern to this behavior by Paul.

pm317 said...

Every major speech of Obama's had plagiarized sections from other speeches. Where was MSNBC's Maddow then? Republicans need to get smarter to counter these liberal media fuckers.

pm317 said...

Paul is at least VP material. If he can get the media to turn a blind eye, then he is presidential material.

rhhardin said...

As you get older, your original lines improve, and citation becomes a pleasure.

The significance is that his original lines aren't good enough yet.

It would be better to find an older guy with good lines that are his own.

Ann Althouse said...

For every politician, there's an accumulating pile of evidence of dishonesty (and failure to supervise the dishonesty of underlings). At what point, for which politicians, do you lose your trust?

We're forced to trust people with some measure of dishonesty. The question is when have we reached the tipping point where we no longer trust.

Paul's opponents will help us feel the weight of his dishonesty.

elkh1 said...

pm317: Republicans need to get smarter to counter these liberal media fuckers...

Why would they? Maddow is doing the work the Republican establishment are afraid to do, they might have directed Maddow to the book. Like McCain's staffer's leak on Palin's clothes, RINO's attacks on Cruz.

Republicans' opponents are the Democrats, but their enemies are the Tea Party and the little people who refuse to be snookered.

Bob Boyd said...

There's no such thing as bad publicity.
I read that somewhere.

pm317 said...

@elkh1, media's preferred candidate now is Christie. They will hoist him on you guys after essentially besmirching Paul and Cruz which has already started. These guys have to go after the liberal media and show them up along with the Repub establishment.

Big Mike said...

I really don't think I want to vote until I've read the book and the report and determined whether he merely flubbed the citation or was out and out plagiarizing.

From what I gather, he meant to reference the study. A better editor should have caught that, probably.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Accidental plagiarism" is still plagiarism and would still cause you to fail the paper in most cases (barring it being found during the rough draft period where you can still revise it.)

Own up to the error, explain a citation was intended (using the endnote as proof), and explain where the citation got screwed up in the editing process, issue an apology, move on.

If it is an honest mistake, treat it as such.

David said...

Lazy and careless. Presidential timber for sure.

Balfegor said...

Should we bully him? Yes. He ought to be better than that. I want to say: "he's not Joe Biden," and it sounds like I'm doing it just to take a jab at Biden, but I really mean it.

Biden is what he is -- an extremely conventional politician, no original ideas, mentally somewhat negligible, but proficient at the basic cut and thrust of political attack and defense. And back-room deal-making, of course.

Paul is different in that he often seems to be -- and ought to be -- a politician with actual principles. Now, if all politicians had principles that would be quite horrible because then they wouldn't listen to their masters (the voters), but I think having a few principled politicians is necessary for a healthy political debate.

Balfegor said...

Re: Big Mike:

From what I gather, he meant to reference the study. A better editor should have caught that, probably.

If it's three pages, it really ought to be in a text box or an appendix or something. That's too long for a block quote.

pm317 said...

Paul is an eye doctor and not a government expert and he is not even a lawyer. He may have inadvertently taken a short cut or be sloppy and not have a good strong editor. So may be mistakes were made but not intentionally out to deceive people like some other person we know has done throughout. At least he is not a post turtle like that other person -- he is fighting every inch of the way for his place.

Bob Boyd said...

I say we give Rand Paul some slack on this. The guy's a libertarian for Pete's sake. You know how they are.
I mean, come on, he was almost certainly stoned when he was writing and probably distracted by the naked, freshly-shorn ewe licking his ear.

William said...

The plagiarism is more the fault of the ghost writer than Rand Paul. Nonetheless Paul should have the executive ability to pick better ghost writers. Theodore Sorenson would never make such a klutzy mistake. I bet there was nothing plagiarized in JFK's acceptance speech for the Pulitzer.....Paul's reputation is not as a writer, and the material plagiarized is more a recitation of facts than fine writing or novel insights. It's a very mild scandal..........I still think that Biden's plagiarism of another politician's life experience is more egregious. There should be an annual Hellman Award given for the most shameless case of plagiarism. I don't think Paul is worthy of it.

pm317 said...

Nonetheless Paul should have the executive ability to pick better ghost writers.

Like Ayers and the exclusive use of composite characters. Essentially Paul picked the wrong subject on which to write his book.

Big Mike said...

@Balfegor, have you read either the book or the study?

I take your point, which is well-stated, but I'll still reserve judgment for now.

And especially since if Rand Paul wrote a book about ophthalmology, some liberal somewhere would complain that "the eye is our organ of sight" was plagiarized from some other book about eye surgery.

virgil xenophon said...

One thing everybody seems to be forgetting is that editors of books written for the non-academic general public don't want ANY footnotes or at the most place them in the back, and consider indented bloc quotes to be a TOTAL anathema as experience has shown TIME and AGAIN that the general public avoids reading indented bloc quotes like Dracula avoids the Cross and/or sunlight..

Paul's stuff was written for general consumption, not for freshman English lit or a PhD dissertation..

eddie willers said...

From the article:

In this case, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study in the book’s footnotes, though he made no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from Heritage.

They didn't like that his attribution wasn't blatant and huge, but it is there.

Its not like he is cribbing great literature as his own but simply reciting a case history.

elkh1 said...

pm317 said...
"Paul picked the wrong subject on which to write his book."

Paul picked the wrong Party.

You could be a fake Indian woman, an accused rapist, philanderer, and sexual harasser, or an appropriator of a foreigner leader's life experience if you were in the right Party, to screw the taxpayers instead of to fight against Big Govt.'s encroachment on citizens' liberty.

In the preferred Party, you could drive off a bridge and drown your pregnant girl friend and could remain in Congress for the rest of your life.

pm317 said...

@elkh1, I agree.. (though not about being a fake Indian woman, ;)). It is a uni-party -- there is really no difference between the ruling class Rs and Ds. If the media fancies electing an R, like Christie, it will turn on Hillary in a NY minute and the next thing you know, Christie is your president, highlighting among other things obesity as an epidemic in America. So there is really no party for people like Pual.

Hagar said...

He - and his staff - should have known better.

rcommal said...

Now, if all politicians had principles that would be quite horrible because then they wouldn't listen to their masters (the voters), but I think having a few principled politicians is necessary for a healthy political debate.

Interesting point.

rcommal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pm317 said...

to @elkh1's point, if you are in the right party, the big NYT will say 'oh, he just miswrote it' and turn the other way..

Freeman Hunt said...

Since there is an endnote, I would have to read it in context to make a real judgement.

Chances of me reading a book by an active politician: 0%

Freeman Hunt said...

I bet if some enterprising journalist took on the task, he'd find that most books "by" active politicians largely consist of think tank reports.

Lydia said...

if you are in the right party, the big NYT will say 'oh, he just miswrote it' and turn the other way

That reminds me of this:

August 22, 2013, LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Rand Paul was talking with University of Louisville medical students when one of them tossed him a softball. "The majority of med students here today have a comprehensive exam tomorrow. I'm just wondering if you have any last-minute advice."

"Actually, I do," said the ophthalmologist-turned-senator, who stays sharp (and keeps his license) by doing pro bono eye surgeries during congressional breaks. "I never, ever cheated. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important."

He went on to describe studying for a pathology test with friends in the library. "We spread the rumor that we knew what was on the test and it was definitely going to be all about the liver," he said. "We tried to trick all of our competing students into over-studying for the liver" and not studying much else.

"So, that's my advice," he concluded. "Misinformation works."

I never, ever cheated. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important.

What a sound-bite. He doesn't seem to get the MSM at all.

EMD said...

I see your readers fell for the compare-it-to-Obama trap.

Lem said...

You left out what I would have voted for, and if I may the correct answer to your poll.

As a Republican, Ran Paul is held to a higher standard and as such he deserves everything he is getting... or something along those lines.

I'm disappointed I didn't get my choice.

elkh1 said...

pm317: If the media fancies electing an R, like Christie, it will turn on Hillary...

Won't happen. Christie is Media's tool to fight off other Republican candidates, but they will stay with Hillary in the general election. They will insinuate that Christie is out of self control for getting himself obese. Remember that fool called McCain? He was a Media darling when he criticized Republican conservatives, they turned on him in the general election.

Kirk Parker said...

pm317,

"If the media fancies electing an R"

Wow, I want some of what you're smoking!

Seriously, there isn't the slightest chance the our current major media is going to fancy electing a Republican. Rather, what they'll do is puff someone like Christie and help him win the R nomination, then turn on him for the general. Ask John "Maverick" McCain how well that worked out for him.

pm317 said...

Wow, I want some of what you're smoking!

Oh come on.. we don't have to look that far into the past to see that. Media propped up W and slowed down Gore quickly -- remember WaPO's lie about Gore inventing the Internet (which he never said in those exact words but that is what got spread). Of course, Gore didn't help himself much (all that sighing in the debate). But Obama didn't help himself much at all but got propped up all the way to the finish line both in the Dem primary 2008 and then every other fiasco he was part of. So watch out for media to turn on a dime if it comes to like Christie and decides that is who will be the next president.

Freeman Hunt said...

You think the media supported Bush over Gore?!

elkh1 said...

Freeman Hunt said...
You think the media supported Bush over Gore?!

Someone is smoking.

Roger Sweeny said...

You left out another possible answer (which I suspect is the truth):

Most politicians' books--like their speeches--are primarily written by their staffs. Give them a memo on plagiarism.

Roger Sweeny said...

You left out another possible answer (which I suspect is the truth):

Most politicians' books--like their speeches--are primarily written by their staffs. Give them a memo on plagiarism.

jaed said...

The poll needs one more choice to be complete:

[ ] Buzzfeed? Buzzfeed?? Srsly???

C Stanley said...

professor Althouse said:
Paul's opponents will help us feel the weight of his dishonesty.

And yet everyone can compare that to the weight of Obama's lies that are actually having adverse effect on their lives. Obama has been such a disastrous mix of incompetence, malfeasance, opacity, and dishonesty that the scales are mightily tipped in that direction.

James said...

What does Dr. Martin Luther King have to say about this? Or at least, what do all the doctoral students have to say...the ones MLK extensively plagiarized in his doctoral thesis and speeches?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._authorship_issues