Thursday, August 16, 2012

The "good guy" defense for plagiarism in the Zakaria matter

In a post titled In Defense of Fareed Zakaria , BRET STEPHENS writes:

But I will give Mr. Zakaria this: He anchors one of the few shows that treats foreign policy seriously, that aims for an honest balance of views, and that doesn't treat its panelists as props for an egomaniacal host. He's also one of the few prominent liberals I know who's capable of treating an opposing point of view as something other than a slur on human decency.

In my book, that makes him a good man who's made a mistake. No similar compliment can be paid to the schadenfreude brigades now calling for his head.

One found a similar "defense" in the Glenn Poshard matter. Without reaching the merits of whether or not Poshard plagiarized parts of his Ph.D., some people pointed out that Poshard had done good things for SIU.

Depending upon how seriously one views plagiarism as an offense, this is somewhat like defending a murderer by saying he has good table manners, interesting but not relevant.

In a world wherein the Harvard Business Review has text "Plagiarize with Pride," one does find many people who don't view plagiarism as a big deal.


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