Monday, July 03, 2006

coulter accused of plagiarism

after all the plagiarim-related posts i've made over the past year, i'd be remiss if i didn't mention this.

a couple weeks back, when i first read the rude pundit's allegation that right-wing attack dog and shock merchant ann coulter had plagiarized various passages for her columns and her latest book, i tried to sit down with a copy of the first chapter of the book (godless; coulter published the first chapter online), plugging phrases into google to search for plagiarism myself. i soon gave up, for two reasons: first, the task required actually reading coulter's writing, which is difficult for any sane person to do for long, and second, because the chapter had been posted online in so many different places that filtering my search results was difficult.

now, the ny post has jumped into the fray:

John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.

He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.


Meanwhile, many of the 344 citations Coulter includes in "Godless" "are very misleading," said Barrie, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in pattern recognition.

"They're used purely to try and give the book a higher level of credibility - as if it's an academic work. But her sloppiness in failing to properly attribute many other passages strips it of nearly all its academic merits," he told The Post.

Barrie says he also ran Coulter's Universal Press columns from the past 12 months through iThenticate and found similar patterns of cribbing.

unfortunately, the post mentions where in the book these passages can be found, it does not reprint the excerpts so that readers can compare the examples for themselves (nor does it acknowledge that the rude pundit had already caught two of its examples). if i were a student living on campus, or hell, if i just had the time today, i'd be tempted to roll on down to the library, find a copy of the book, and type up those passages for posterity. this being the blogosphere, though, i'm fairly confident that someone will do this very soon.

update: universal press syndicate has agreed to take a look at barrie's report. and coulter struck back at the post in her latest column (but does not actually deny the plagiarism charges).

update: tpm muckraker has the list of alleged plagiarized passages.

1 comment:

sis said...

oh my I love it! can't wait to hear how she spins it..what a laugh