Juan Williams Caught in Plagiarism Scandal

Lefty Fox News analyst Juan Williams is in hot water after it was discovered that a column he’d written for a political insider publication contained plagiarized material.

According to a report by Salon.com, a Feb. 18 piece that Williams wrote for The Hill newspaper copied almost word-for-word from a study by the far-left Center for American Progress on the subject of immigration and Social Security.

Confronted by Salon, Williams blamed his research assistant, a “young man” who, according to Williams, had submitted the barely altered paragraphs to him for publication in the column:

In a phone interview Thursday evening, Williams pinned the blame on a researcher who he described as a “young man.”

“I was writing a column about the immigration debate and had my researcher look around to see what data existed to pump up this argument and he sent back what I thought were his words and summaries of the data,” Williams told Salon. “I had never seen the CAP report myself, so I didn’t know that the young man had in fact not summarized the data but had taken some of the language from the CAP report.”

Hugo Gurdon, the editor in chief of the Hill, told Salon on Thursday evening that: “CAP drew the similarities between Juan’s column and their report to my attention and I spoke to Juan about it. [...]

“He gave me an explanation, which I found satisfactory. And I believe there was an honest mistake and it related to the transfer of copy and the use of a researcher and it was completely inadvertent. He was very concerned to set the record straight.” [...]

Williams told Salon that the researcher has submitted a letter of resignation, but that he has not decided whether to accept it. “I just feel betrayed,” Williams said.

While the altered essay does indeed credit CAP for the analysis, an editor’s note appended to the end does not inform readers that the original piece had contained plagiarized material.

For the full details of the particular wording, see the Salon link above.

Williams is the second prominent left-of-center journalist to get caught plagiarizing. NewsBusters exposed CNN host Fareed Zakaria for committing plagiarism last August. Like Williams, he also blamed his researcher.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013