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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is Katherine Kersten Plagiarizing the Drama Queen?

Kersten's latest column is straight from MDE. Rough drafts here.

Smartie explains.

Spotty at the Stool busted Kersten for plegiarism earlier this year. From google cache of the Norwegianity's comments on this:

OK, now I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed. I let the Kersten plagiarism story go in midweek, thinking Kate Parry would address it in her column today. Nope.

Digging some more I reluctantly visited SwanBlog and found this "mea culpa" on the "close relationship" I cited between the involved parties.

Norwegianity also complains that Gyllenhaal fails to address the "close relationship" between Kersten, Lodoen, and Scott Johnson of Powerline. The "close relationship" is that Lodoen is a friend of Scott's coworker. Lodoen also once attended a lecture sponsored by Kersten's old employer and asked a question during the Q and A. Talk about six degrees of separation.

You can nitpick these things to death (like the fact that we're talking two degrees of separation tops), but this statement doesn't say there isn't a relationship, it just mentions two peripheral aspects of some of the relationships involved. Based on this, how on earth did Kersten ever hear of Lodoen's story? Obviously there are more ties here than SwanBlog cares to delve into.

I've never met Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, but I actually do know her through email and it's entirely possible we could conspire together to flog a story. If you're reading a blog, you should always assume such things are possible. But when you're reading a newspaper, you expect disclaimers when there are ties between the subject of the story and the writer.

SwanBlog may not know Katherine Kersten. Or SwanBlog may have been sleeping with her since the last Institute for the American Experiment Kwanza party. Who knows? I do know that anyone who throws out crap like this is a bit suspect:

Norwegianity copies text from an e-mail by Anders Gyllenhaal (gasp). I thought copying from an e-mail was a no no!

Of all the wingnut sales tropes, deliberate stupidity is their most offensive. Quote anyone you like with attribution. If Kersten is quoting from emails, her column should mention an exchange of emails. Otherwise I assume they came from a direct interview. And if she's quoting material that has already appeared online, NOT attributing IS plagiarism. Period. I don't need to wait for Webster's to update the dictionary to know that.

Ever since I got bounced from my high school for putting out an "underground" newspaper, I've tracked stories about journalistic ethics. I have frequently heard "real" journalists rip tabloids and gossip rags for deals where the celebrity got to review the story before publication. Anders Gyllenhaal blithely admits Kersten did just that. Getting the story just right? or tweaking the shit out of it to create just the right effect?

This is standard operating procedure for Kersten's columns.