Tuesday, November 08, 2005

As Plagiarism Goes,

The Sherrod Brown contretemps is pretty trivial. The common expectation of the American politician is that 99% of their statements, letters, and policy papers, etc. are written by staff.

But there is a difference between hiring someone to put words in your mouth, and simply cutting and pasting the work of another without attribution. More than likely, a trivial staff mistake, likely remedied by showing someone the door. But, fact remains, that Brown, through his staff, and over a letter he signed, pilfered another man’s work without attribution, and attempted to pass it off as his own.

I’m sure that Mr. Newman was somewhat flattered to have a candidate for the Senate use his stuff, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt anything, and possibly only would have taken an additional 2 clicks while cutting and pasting the post.

Unfortunately, the implication for Brown is that he’s either too inept to manage his staff, or too stupid to actually understand the underlying issue. Both charges are probably unfair, but he’s in a business with a high risk of unfair outcomes.

At least he hasn’t lifted any Neal Kinnock speeches (as far as we know).