Sunday, November 3, 2013

Meet Rand Paul, plagiarist

So much for respect for (intellectual) property rights:
An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation, BuzzFeed has learned. The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from other published material.
The new cut-and-paste job follows reports by BuzzFeed, Politico, and MSNBC that Paul had plagiarized speeches either from Wikipedia or news reports. The book was published in August 2013 by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group.
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.
A Paul aide defended the senator, saying he makes clear in the book’s “notes and sources” that he didn’t individually research each case.
“In the book Government Bullies all the information… was sourced by end notes. In the two cases described, the end notes clearly define the sourcing for the book. In no case has the Senator used information without attribution,” said Doug Stafford, an advisor to Sen. Paul who co-wrote the book. “There were 150 endnotes and cites including The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute. This is a witch hunt and grasping at straws.”
Sorry, Paul aide, but noting a source doesn't excuse wholesale copying verbatim without quote marks. Nor will the predictable defense that his unattributed ghost writer did the copying. And this is not the first instance:
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow discovered last Monday that Paul had plagarized a section of his speech at Liberty University about the movie Gattica from Wikipedia. A follow up report by BuzzFeed the next day found a June 12, 2013 speech on immigration plagiarized a section the Wikipedia article on the movie Stand and Deliver.
Paul defended himself in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Thursday, arguing that it was simply a matter of citation practices and that he didn’t plagiarize the movie’s plot.
“It’s a disagreement over how you footnote things, and I think people footnote things different in an academic paper than they do in a public speech, but if we were going to present any of these speeches for publication they’d have footnotes in.”
The speeches appear on Paul’s website, without footnotes.
On Thursday night, a senior advisor to Sen. Paul pledged the Kentucky Senator would be “more cautious in presenting and attributing sources” in the future after Politico confronted the office with two more instances of plagiarism.
Politico found Paul copied language in his 2013 speech responding to President Obama’s State of the Union Address from the Associated Press and a 2010 passage from the magazine of the social conservative group Focus on the Family in a speech at Howard University.

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