The Globe & Mail’s resident plagiarist and cheap-shot artist Margaret Wente has finally resurfaced after a mysterious two-week disappearance, with a typically vapid column on the U.S. election. Strangely, the Globe & Mail seems to be introducing an extra-special moderated comment format just for Wente. They also had her print yet another vague non-apology, referring to the fact that she’s been doing this a long time (13 years!) and that she “apologizes” for the fact that she’s made some “careless mistakes.” Due to the ongoing link boycott, you will have to find your own way to Wente’s column.
It’s certainly better than Wente’s last attempt at an apology, a vague brush-off which implied that the people accusing Wente of plagiarism really just had a vendetta against her because of her politics. However, I’m still not happy with this continuing reference to a few “careless mistakes.” Which mistakes, precisely? Is Wente now acknowledging that she lifted material from more than just Dan Gardner? If so, on how many times does she think this occurred?And is this sort of performance, from one of the nation’s senior columnists, really something that can be captured with the phrase “careless mistake”? Wente, and the Globe, seem very reluctant to use the “P-word.” They shouldn’t be. Confession is good for the soul, or so the Scots say.
Plus, since she doesn’t actually explain what she’s apologizing about in any detail whatever, presumably there will be at least some readers who find their way to this column and aren’t even sure what she’s apologizing to them about in the first place. In which case, one has to wonder, yet again, how one ought to accept this “apology.”
In any event, I thought it would be nice to do what I can to get it all out in the open. The following is a list of recent Wente columns (and some older ones), noting, where I come across one, any allegation that has been made regarding quote-lifting or other “careless mistakes.”
Some may think I’m just continuing to further the political vendetta against Wente. No, what I’m doing is showing readers just how sorry Wente really is. After all, if she’s reached the point where she’s willing to apologize for “careless mistakes,” we ought to know how many mistakes there are, so that we know how sorry she is. Plus, just to show that this isn’t a political vendetta, I thought it would be best to include all of Wente’s work, and just some annotations regarding plagiarism and other problems. Because I think, as you cast your eye down the list, you will find yourself agreeing that Wente is indeed a highly original, insightful, and thought-provoking columnist, and that the nation’s media would be a smidgeon poorer without her three-times-a-week contributions.
I’m linking to all of the articles despite the ongoing link boycott, but only because it seemed appropriate. And so, without further ado, I give you a compendium of the wisdom of Margaret Wente:
Update: In case readers are new to this series of posts, or it’s otherwise unclear, links to alleged evidence of plagiarism sometimes go to posts here at Sixth Estate, and in many other cases go to Media Culpa who, as I have previously stated on many occasions, has been largely responsible for documenting alleged misconduct by Wente to date.
- The awful truth about social programs (Oct. 13, 2012) — Social welfare is expensive and ineffective. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Barack Obama is a “Great Big Brain” (Oct. 11, 2012) — Wente returns to diagnose Obama as being too distant from the average person. Unlike multimillionaire Mitt Romney.
- Fat is Good For You (September 22, 2012) — Actually, all she manages to find in this article is a couple of doctors willing to say that fitness might be more important than dieting for health outcomes and some studies that cast doubt on a hard-and-fast link between obesity and mortality.
- Canadians are more conservative than Americans (Sept. 20, 2012) — Wente bases this obvious non-starter on her observation that Canadians have lower divorce rates and fewer single-parent households, both of which, Wente claims, are “liberal” values. No kidding.
- Don’t blame Islamic riots on Western free speech (Sept. 18, 2012) — We shouldn’t restrict our own free speech or blame our freedom of expression for Islamic extremism. Where have I heard this before?
- The patriarchy is dead and women are running the world (Sept. 15, 2012) — Because women are doing both housework and paid work, whereas men are increasingly doing neither, Wente argues that patriarchy is over and women run the world. Verdict: possible plagiarism.
- Western environmentalists are blocking life-saving research into GM rice (Sept. 13, 2012) — Wente argues that Greenpeace wants genetically modified rice experiments to fail and is therefore “effectively allowing millions of children to go blind or die.” Verdict: misleading quotations.
- Canada was right to close its Iran embassy (Sept. 11, 2012) — Wente joins a chorus of right-wing voices in hailing the government for closing off any possibility of talking formally with the Iranian government, since it will never be necessary and wouldn’t do any good anyways. Features the biggest logical failure of all time, when Wente argues that “the Canadian embassy… couldn’t save the Americans who took refuge in the Canadian embassy back in 1979. Courage and bravery did that.” Yup. Verdict: possible plagiarism.
- What I learned at university (Sept. 8, 2012) — In which the usually anti-university Wente waxes nostalgically about her low-cost liberal arts education back in the 60s, when professors were “erotic.” Bonus: “Logic humiliated me.”
- Hope and change won’t cut it now (Sept. 6, 2012) — Wente’s “love affair” with Obama is over because spending is out of control. It’s okay, but you could have got pretty much the same column from any run-of-the-mill American right-wing columnist.
- Teachers’ unions are no longer allies of government (Sept. 3, 2012) — In which Wente catches up to the labour politics of the 1980s. Verdict: dubious statistics.
- Being rich is hard (Sept. 1, 2012) — Wente regales us with tales of life on her upper-middle-class country estate, including how she and her husband maintain a pond, plant a meadow, and are currently trying to grow a “giant pumpkin.”
- Why kids need to fail to succeed in school (Aug. 31, 2012) — Wente interviews Paul Tough on one of her favourite subjects: jacking up expectations in our nation’s failing and incompetent schools. He is not, to my knowledge, actually a teacher. No matter!
- The separatists are coming (Aug. 28, 2012) — “The vampire is arising from its grave,” says Wente of the impending electoral victory of PQ leader Pauline Marois. She makes no real attempt to understand why people might vote PQ, just laments that English Canada didn’t “put a stake through” the party when it had the chance.
- Liberal churches are dying (Jul. 28, 2012) — True, if hardly news: churches have been talking about it for years now. The hilarious original version of this article referred to the U.S. Episcopalian Church as the equivalent of our United Church.
- Why mass murderers exist (Jul. 28, 2012) — Another interview.
- Selling Nexen to the Chinese government is a good idea (Jul. 24, 2012) — An early endorsement of the Nexen sale.
- Wente tours the slums (Jul. 21, 2012) — Wente ventures into the inner city in search of explanations for a shooting in Toronto.
- Online universities are the future (Jul. 19, 2012) — “Mass online education” will shake up universities — “and that’s a good thing.”
- Broken families cause high crime rates (Jul. 18, 2012) — You don’t say!
- Free my yard sale! (Jul. 17, 2012) — Wente is upset that Health Canada product safety regulations technically apply even to secondhand goods purchased at garage sales.
- The long climb from immortality (Jul. 14, 2012) — “Poverty and inequality are not the real issues… The meritocracy operates superbly well in Canada.” Verdict: plagiarism.
- What if women don’t need guys anymore? (Mar. 24, 2012) — In which Wente argues that the fact that there are more single mothers in American cities, coupled with higher male unemployment rates, means that women don’t need men anymore, but that this leaves women feeling “demoralized and inadequate.” Verdict: plagiarism.
- Ontario’s green dream was just a fantasy (Mar. 15, 2012) — “Brown energy — not green — is great for the economy.” Bonus: “the shale gas revolution is also good for the environment.” Verdict: plagiarism.
- Our school systems are so last century (Mar. 8, 2012) — The usual anti-school tirade from Wente. This time she appears to lift material from a fellow Globe columnist, incredibly. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Honour crimes should be called what they are (Jan. 31, 2012) — We must help Muslim girls “find the safe place between the mosque and the mall.”
- Class inequality exists, but it’s too complicated to solve (Jan. 28, 2012) — As usual.
- Keystone Pipline is Harvard versus Heartland (Jan. 21, 2012) — Only “urban elites” and First Nations oppose pipeliness. The rest of us know they are essential for our future.
- Health advice is bogus (Jan. 14, 2012) — Especially when it comes to alcohol.
- We need more religious freedom (Jan. 7, 2012) — Religion remains vibrant, and there is religious persecution all over the world.
- God’s far from dead in the global south (Dec. 24, 2011) — Wente says what any priest, pastor, or minister in the world could have told you: that the churches in developing countries are growing while the churches in wealthy countries are shrinking. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Stephen Harper is Not Kim Jong-Il (Dec. 22, 2011) — I would want to say a little more about myself than that.
- Charities are better than governments (Dec. 20, 2011) — Because governments are unimaginative and wasteful, whereas NGOs are cutting-edge.
- Canadians are in debt, too (Dec. 17, 2011) — Wealthy Wente gives us ignorant rabble valuable lessons in money management.
- Why your children can’t do math (Dec. 15, 2011) — Too much public schooling, that’s why. In a crass and classless conclusion, Wente declares that “the biggest losers aren’t your kids, of course. The biggest losers are the kids of parents who can’t afford tutoring.”
- Climate theatre of the absurd (Dec. 13, 2011) — Wente is “relieved” that we are “doing nothing about climate change,” because it’s cheaper to do nothing than to do something.
- The poor are doing better than you think (Dec. 10, 2011) — Yes. Yes they are. The homeless guy on the street told me so this morning. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Ontario doesn’t need an anti-bullying law (Dec. 8, 2011) — Wente trumps up some apparent Ontario teachers to support her claim. One problem, though… Verdict: plagiarism.
- Delusions of optimism have their uses (Dec. 3, 2011) — It’s better to be optimistic than realistic, even when it comes to setting government policy.
- Suppression of climate debate is a disaster for science (Dec. 1, 2011) — It would be if that was happening, anyways.
- Calling Dr. Clavicle (Nov. 29, 2011) — If we didn’t have to pay for healthcare for poor people, then rich people wouldn’t have to wait in line at the clinic when they fall off their horses and break their bones. Seriously: this is her argument.
- Cures for cancer at any cost (Nov. 26, 2011) — The “medical establishment” is overinvesting in diagnostic and screening tests. Verdict: plagiarism.
- The Occupy movement wasn’t like Tahrir Square (Nov. 24, 2011) — Another of Wente’s trademark diatribes against lowly protestors.
- The amazing news about rape statistics (Nov. 22, 2011) — The words “amazing” and “rape” really should never occur in the same headline.
- Cancelling the Keystone pipeline won’t solve the oil problem (Nov. 15, 2011) — Not that it bothers Wente. Instead, an overabundance of fossil fuel is just grand, to her.
- College football is America’s true religion (Nov. 12, 2011) — And like religion, it’s awash in abuse scandals.
- Occupy movement should have targeted budget deficit (Nov. 5, 2011) — This one is worthy of special comment because of Wente’s virtual invention of an Occupy protester who, in fact, wasn’t. Verdict: exceptionally misleading use of “sources.”
- Debt, key lime pie, and will power (Oct. 8, 2011) — We all need to exercise self-control. Verdict: plagiarism (x2).
- Wente endorses a Conservative candidate (May 31, 2011) — And the candidate is the rabid hyper-partisan Christopher Alexander, whom I’m sure is making all his former colleagues in the normally soft-spoken diplomatic corps very proud. Verdict: plagiarism.
- The tyranny of mother’s milk (May 21, 2011) — Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t breastfeeding. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Elizabeth May is a “hyperactive chipmunk”… (May 10, 2011) — … who cares far too deeply about silly things like shale gas. Verdict: plagiarism.
- White-collar jobs are being outsourced to Asia (Mar. 12, 2011) — Law and accounting students — you’re in trouble. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Does inequality matter? (Jan. 8, 2011) — Rich people “scare the heck out of” Wente. Apparently. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Some people are just smarter than the rest of us (Nov. 20, 2009) — Hard work and good practice will only take you so far in life. Verdict: plagiarism.
- Twitter is useless and feeds our narcisissm (Mar. 28, 2009) — Self-explanatory. Particularly ironic given her unbelievably inane Twitter feed, started just for this column: “How is your recession going? Twitter your answers!” And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Verdict: possible plagiarism.
- Enviro-romanticism is hurting Africa (Jul. 17, 2009) — Another of Wente’s gleeful trademark swipes at the environmental movement. But better known for being Ground Zero for the plagiarism scandal. Verdict: plagiarism.