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Politician plagiarizes blogger, so what?

A story about an Ohio politician who allegedly plagiarized a blogger has fueled an interesting online debate over whether there should be a political price to pay.


Cleveland Plain Dealer Washington bureau chief Stephen Koff wrote a story published today about a letter Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote to Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) airing his concerns over Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's labor record. About 90 percent of the letter was lifted without citation from labor blogger Nathan Newman, as Brown's office acknowledged, the story said. Of the 13 Alito rulings described in the letter, 12 were almost verbatim from Newman's blog, the story said.

Brown--who is running against DeWine in 2006--signed off on the letter, but it was prepared by staff members, one of whom admitted "we should have cited it," the story says.

The thing is, while some bloggers are up in arms about Brown's behavior, Newman doesn't seem to care that Brown ripped him off. Newman, instead, lashed out at the newspaper.

"Did the Plain Dealer do an in-depth analysis of Alito's labor record in response?" Newman wrote in his blog. "No, they created a bullshit meta-story that was of such supposed breaking news value that they couldn't wait for me to get back from my mini-honeymoon to get my reaction. If the crime is plagiarism, then you think they'd want to talk to the victim before running it. "

Blog community response:

"This is what happens when you get people (mainly liberal Democrats) who can't think for themselves. They don't possess the wit or intelligence to compose a thought of their own or give credit to someone else, hoping not to get caught--a la Joe Biden. The Internet is a wonderful thing. Things like this would not be covered in the liberal media."
--Lone Star Times

"Of course staffers will take the fall and somebody really should be fired. Not for plagiarism but for being so completely stupid as to plagiarize a blogger and assuming it would go unnoticed. Where have these people been?"

"Speaking for myself, if any candidate (one I supported, of course) used my words and thoughts in order to further a point, I'd be all for it. In fact, it's one of the main reasons I have this blog. I have an opinion and I want it to be heard. To actually link Brown to Biden's failed bid for the Presidency in '88 is a travesty. There should be a front page retraction in tomorrow's paper."
--Nosey Online