FNC Notes NYT, Daily Beast Plagiarism Scandals, Lack of Media Interest

Saturday’s Fox News Watch gave attention to two recent plagiarism scandals – one involving Gerald Posner of the Daily Beast, the other involving Zachery Kouwe of the New York Times. Host Jon Scott summarized the stories:

First, chief investigative reporter for the DailyBeast.com, Gerald Posner, admits to lifting five sentences from the Miami Herald. Posner says he was horrified and has no idea how it happened. Second, New York Times business reporter Zachery Kouwe quit his job after it was learned that he copied several paragraphs from an article previously published in the Wall Street Journal. Kouwe’s February 5 article contained identical or nearly identical sentences to an article published in the journal’s online edition. He apparently was called on the carpet and decided to resign that day.

After FNC analyst Judy Miller argued that it would be easy to plagiarize by mistake, Scott brought up the time FNC mistakenly used video of a Sarah Palin campaign rally with a large crowd while intending to use a clip from one of her book signing events, and how the liberal media pounced on FNC, while the current plagiarism stories have received little attention. Scott:

Let me tell you what’s all too simple. Sometimes in the control room, you rack up video of a Sarah Palin event, you say it’s her book signing, and it turns out it was her campaign appearances from a year ago. We did that on Fox one day and got raked over the coals by the liberal media. Why is this not making much of a splash?

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, February 20, Fox News Watch on FNC:

JON SCOTT: From twittering to plagiarizing, we have two stories to talk about. First, chief investigative reporter for the dailybeast.com, Gerald Posner, admits to lifting five sentences from the Miami Herald. Posner says he was horrified and has no idea how it happened. Second, New York Times business reporter Zachery Kouwe quit his job after it was learned that he copied several paragraphs from an article previously published in the Wall Street Journal. Kouwe’s February 5 article contained identical or nearly identical sentences to an article published in the journal’s online edition. He apparently was called on the carpet and decided to resign that day.

CAL THOMAS: You know, it’s amazing especially these younger people who are very coherent about what’s going on in the Internet era think they could get away with something like this. I mean, it’s not like our college days or something where you might be able to lift a couple of paragraphs for a term paper or a thesis. This stuff is instantaneous. It can be checked instantly. He gets the Jayson Blair award.

SCOTT: Well, at least he did the honorable thing and resigned, I guess.

JUDY MILLER: Or was pushed out. I mean, you don’t know on something like that. But I do think that, given technology today, it is all too simple to take a paragraph, put it in another file, lift it up and assume that it’s your own. Accidents like this do happen. They happen more and more.

KIRSTEN POWERS: I agree.

CAL THOMAS: I’m sorry, it’s never happened to me.

JIM PINKERTON: I’m not sure they’re accidents.

THOMAS: The devil made me do it.

SCOTT: Let me tell you what’s all too simple. Sometimes in the control room, you rack up video of a Sarah Palin event, you say it’s her book signing, and it turns out it was her campaign appearances from a year ago. We did that on Fox one day and got raked over the coals by the liberal media. Why is this not making much of a splash?

POWERS: Well, it is funny, depending on who’s doing it, different groups of people get angry. And I know I have people, my liberal friends forwarding me when, you know, someone gets mislabeled a Republican or a Democrat on Fox and they think it’s this big, people are sitting in the control room planning and plotting, and, you know, it’s a mistake. ... I’m kind of with Judy. I actually think probably this was a mistake. I doubt the person thought, Oh, I’m going to take this and I’m pulling one over because it is so easy to search. ... It’s my greatest fear. It’s why I comb through my columns and am constantly, you know, looking at things that when you’re in a hurry, you know, and you’re pulling together information, that something isn’t going to get attributed to the right person.

THOMAS: Well, I’m sorry. I’ve been writing a column for 26 years. It’s never happened to me. I have a great editor. When I pull something out, I quote it, I cite the source. If I put it in a file, I put the source in there.