‘Improper borrowing’? Call it what it is: Plagiarism

An illustrative example of plagiarism. Modifie...

Ol' Will could have used not only a copy editor but a fact-checker. How'd he ever amount to anything? Image via Wikipedia

Why are writers so protective of their ideas and the way they string words like beaded rocks of crack? Beats me, given the biblical observation:

      What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun.

 (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

… an idea Shakespeare borrowed, without attribution, for his 59th sonnet, “Nothing New.” If it was true way back whenever, it must be glaringly true today. Yet those classic writers couldn’t foresee our modern, tangled Web.

When I ventured two months ago into e-writing, I worried a bit about people stealing my stuff: How does one copyright the Internet?

Not to worry. Thanks to powerful search engines, it’s easier than ever to discover people ripping you off. Take the latest story about Politico reporter Kendra Marr “improperly borrowing” material from The New York Times, the Associated Press and NJ.com. Yet another lazy, sloppy journalist making us all look bad. Excuse me, a “go-go” journalist, as The Washington Post’s media blogger Erik Wemple deftly defines the phenom.

Having worked among journalists all my adulthood, especially in the role of correcting others’ errors, I recognize the character trait of being unable to accept blame. Scoop-addicted Politico did a decent job owning up to it after the fact, in its verbose editor’s note, here. Still, why all the political correctness and warm-fuzzies over this ertswhile staffer, Politico? These are SEVEN examples of plagiarism. She doesn’t belong in the business, bah-bye. I’m thinking Politico‘s “journalistic standards” need to grow a pair.

And I credit Betty White for the observation: “Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls!’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna really get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding!”

Something else I wish I’d written