Skip to comments.(Vanity) Monkey See, Much Ado, or, Ann Coulter Ate My Homework
Posted on 12/03/2006 4:30:29 PM PST by grey_whiskers
Ann Coulter has long been what is known as a divisive figure in American politics and among the chattering classes. Most liberals loathe her with a passion; and make attacks in starkly personal terms usually reserved for George McChimpy BushitlerTM. Shortly after the release of Ann Coulters book Godless, she became even less popular. But here, the attack from the left was on a different front, and one which had not been used as an attack upon the right before. Ann Coulter wasget this: a plagiarist. Yes! Ann Coulter had not come up with her own material, we were told. Instead, much of her material was lifted from others, and Ann was taking credit.
Supposed examples of the plagiarism abound. Most of them seem to be reporting of specific facts or quotes from famous figures, as indicated by examples on MSNBC or (warning! offensive language) The Rude Pundit. What is odd about these examples are that they seem to be bullet points, or TV-Guide level condensations, of liberal atrocities. And due to space limitations, there are only going to be so many ways to communicate the salient features within the space constraints of the medium Ann has chosen. One might as well accuse CNN of plagiarizing the Democratic Party or Al Jazeera. (*)
A couple of other comments concerning the specific allegations made against Ann. At first blush, she does seem to have run closer to the edge with a specific example given on this website. Except, of course, that Ann is a lawyer and a political columnist, not an MD; she would by no means be mistaken for a practicing researcher in the field of stem-cell therapy. So for her to give the same list of successful therapies related to adult stem cells as someone else had given, would make her guilty of failing to document a source; but doing anything where she could expect to be given the credit for the information, no. Also, a number of sites which covered the controversy mentioned the commercial program Ithenticate in connection with Anns supposed plagiarism; but it is quite odd that as of this writing, Ithenticates home page does not explicitly list laffaire Coulter as one of its successes. Has anyone tried to run the entire corpus of one of the lefts favorite apologists through the program to see if they get flagged?
Given these issues, there are still two questions I have concerning this brouhaha. The first is, why was this little media blitz prepared? Well, it is obvious that Ann has made herself a lot of enemies, beginning with her oft-quoted statement that we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. This quote is actually listed within the MSNBC article given abovebut somehow, this quote itself is not counted as plagiarism, even though Anns own paraphrases of other public figures such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Souter are.
(By the way, I dont see why this remark qualifies as a hate crime when essentially the same course of action is actively being persued by jihadists.)
Beyond the wish to take out one of Americas most successful conservative pundits, I think there is an air of tit-for-tat in this. This modus operandi seems to be more and more the preferred method of the desperate left: shameless, mindless imitation of the accusations leveled at ones own side. Examples of this include the talk of impeaching President Bush as payback for the impeachment of Bill Clinton; the Texans for Truth group designed to mimic the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, only attacking George Bush on his Texas Air National Guard days (funny how you never hear of this group anymore after the forged Dan Rather memos ); and now accusations of plagiarism. What is the plagiarism in response to? Well, perhaps the accusations against Doris Kearns Goodwin, Kaavya Viswanathan ("How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life"), or even Joe Biden, got the left thinking of the idea.
So the left cant even make its accusations of plagiarism itself original. There is a certain irony implicit in this fact
And the second point is, real plagiarism is a serious intellectual or academic charge to make. If she really *had* committed egregious plagiarism, how come we havent heard anything of it rather than the obligatory journalistic front (no, that isnt my phrase; I heard of it from Rush Limbaugh) in an attempt to discredit her book when it came out?
So, liberals, how about it? Why haven't we heard more about this matter since, oh, July of 2006? Don't worry about a quick answer, take all the time you need to look one up elsewhere.
(*) To be fair, there is another possibility: and that is that all of these outlets are plagiarizing from another sourcethe daily Democrat Party talking points memo: wink, nudge.
Joe Biden ping.
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