At Least There’s That: Buzzenfreude

plagNot being a regular follower of Buzzfeed (though it’s hard to avoid their media influence, unfortunately) this almost escaped my attention. It was plagiarism week in the news, this but one of the items in circulation.

From Slate‘s David Weigel:

…The added irony, which is upping the schadenfreude quotient, is that BuzzFeed has cornered a market in hitting politicians for plagiarism. In the fall of 2013, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski made life hell for Sen. Rand Paul, pulling pages from his books and sections from his speeches that were lifted from Wikipedia or other sources. In 2014, Kaczynski expanded the franchise, shaming candidate after candidate for lifting grafs or phrases from other Republicans, usually (funny enough) Paul…

My following (reply to a) tweet was meant to be playfully insulting, but in retrospect, it looks fair, and harmless. Harmless enough that rather than be offended, David Weigel retweeted it:

…Kaczynski’s findings were baffling and pathetic. Who were these people, who cared enough about politics to mortgage their lives and reputations on runs for office, but didn’t care enough to come up with their own thoughts? The cases of plagiarism were much more blatant than what Johnson’s accused of. People have found him lifting sentences that included factoids; the pols were lifting bland political thoughts, word for word. But BuzzFeed was proving that catching plagiarism had become easy, and that lifting a few sentences without a link-back constituted outright fraud.

The result of all this? An unusual coalition of people—liberals, Republican pols, journalists—gloating that BuzzFeed has been caught. At. Last. It would be very easy to Johnson to return to his beat, being more careful to credit his sources. But there’s just so much glee and animosity about the circumstances.

Update: Shortly before midnight, BuzzFeed announced that Johnson had been fired…(read more)

Slate.com



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