Chutzpah: Reagan-Bashing Author Sued for Plagiarism Praises Plaintiff's Book In NY Times

The New York Times is not blind to the lawsuit that conservative publicist and historian Craig Shirley has filed against left-wing author Rick Perlstein, claiming he purloined chunks of his 2004 book "Reagan's Revolution." They not only reported a story on it, the public editor Margaret Sullivan then strangely apologized for advancing a conservative “swift-boating” agenda.

In Sunday’s Times Book Review, they interview Perlstein, and they let Perlstein claim he’s spellbound by Shirley’s latest book on Reagan (from 2009), with no acknowledgement of the controversy:

What books are currently on your night stand?

Do people still read before bed? I play Words With Friends. Be that as it may, the book that’s been most monopolizing my attentions is the massive chronicle by the conservative movement activist Craig Shirley on the campaign that elected our 40th president, “Rendezvous With Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America.”

This takes some nerve. See Power Line on how Perlstein borrows passages from Shirley.

    Shirley (p. 297): “Even its ‘red light’ district was festooned with red, white, and blue bunting, as dancing elephants were placed in the windows of several smut peddlers.”

    Perlstein (p. 771):  “The city’s anemic red-light district was festooned with red, white and blue bunting; several of the smut peddlers featured dancers in elephant costume in their windows.”

    Shirley (p. 322): “About the only person in Kansas City who was keeping cool was Reagan himself . . . Reagan, watching on television, dissolved in laughter.”

    Perlstein (p. 785): “Just about the only person who was calm through the entire thing was Ronald Reagan. He watched it on television in his hotel suite, dissolving in laughter.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis