High-profile Globe & Mail columnist Margaret Wente, whose habitual plagiarizing made the news this week after her employer tried unsucessfully to dismiss allegations by bloggers, has picked up yet another defender from amongst the bloated, hypocritical ranks of the professional media circus. This time it’s a third-rate, shit-peddling moron at the National Post who goes by the name of Terence Corcoran:
Canadian journalism… will soon be held hostage by dreary dictatorial avatars of pretentious rules and political correctness.
[Margaret Wente's] major alleged crime against journalism was to fail to put quotation marks around somebody else’s words, something that is now defined in the blogosphere as plagiarism…
There’s nothing wrong with criticizing writers, but there is a problem when outsiders can use artificial structures to suppress and control those writers. Journalists are increasingly at the mercy of a “public editor.”
Oh, sweet Christ. The blogosphere didn’t “define” plagiarism. Plagiarism was already defined for us, when we went to school. I know you went to a second-rate institution with the endearing nickname of Last Chance U (full disclosure: so did I), but I’m sure it must have come up even there. It’s a fairly simple principle: if you’re using someone else’s words, attribute them. You seem to think this is some random, arbitrary, unfair principle. It isn’t. You’re a newspaper columnist. The sole reason you get paid is because people (apparently) want to know what you have to say. If you’re printing words that were actually written by someone else, and then getting paid for them… are you honestly telling me you see no problem with this?
The most disturbing part of it all, though, is the sneering condescension. What Corcoran is telling us, and he hasn’t been the only one in recent days, is that the media is accountable to no one. It will make — and break — its own rules. Readers have no right to expect that when they open the Globe & Mail or the National Post, the words they find there were actually penned by a professional journalist rather than copied-and-pasted from some random website because the reporter in question was too lazy to do their damned job.
And, according to Corcoran, for me to say otherwise is to engage in “suppression” of free speech. It is to engage in an assault on this country’s cherished freedoms. It is to… what did he compare it to again? Oh, yes, here’s what Terence Corcoran of the National Post says it feels like to be subject to a rule that you’re not allowed to rip off other people’s work and present it as your own:
something of what it felt like during the Cultural Revolution in China, when ideological enforcers roamed the country to impose their views and expose running-dogs, remove people from their jobs and purge them.
If this is honestly the best you can come up, then the only meaningful contribution you have left to make to the discussion would be a carefully written letter of resignation. Preferably one that you didn’t plagiarize from a career advice website.Tweet