Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Palin "plagiarism" incident

A story making the rounds is an allegation that Governor Palin "plagiarized" text from Newt Gingrich concerning Ronald Reagan in making a speech. From Politico:

On Saturday [6 June 09], Huffington Post blogger Geoffrey Dunn accused Palin of lifting passages from a column Gingrich co-authored with Craig Shirley in November 2005. Palin twice referenced Gingrich in her remarks, but Dunn claimed she did not give enough credit. Dunn’s biography on the site says he is writing a book about Palin that is due to be published by Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press in 2010.

IPBiz notes there was crediting, and it was a speech. People typically don't give footnotes in a speech.

The episode evokes Biden's lifting of Kinnock's speech. Sometimes Joe Biden did credit Kinnock; sometimes he didn't. The problem there wasn't plagiarism. It was that the facts of Kinnock's life didn't apply to Biden. That is, Biden's speech was false.
That issue does not apply to the Palin incident.

The Palin incident looks like a make-weight to publicize a book.

NewsBusters wrote: The AP story's headline on CBSNews.com screams, "Palin Slapped With Plagiarism Charge." After reading such a headline the "slapped with plagiarism charge" almost seems to say that some legal body had "charged" the Governor with some violation of the law. IPBiz notes that there is no federal law against plagiarism. As to copyright, which is not co-extensive with plagiarism, the copyright holder would bring a claim, which isn't happening in the Palin matter.

And, of course, Biden really did plagiarize in law school in a context where footnotes are expected.

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