When All Else Fails, Claim Plagiarism

Sunday afternoon, Andrew Kaczynski, Christopher Massie, and Nathan McDermott released their latest hit piece on a Trump Administration nominee. If their names are not familiar to you, they should be as they were the “reporters” who asserted that Monica Crowley plagiarized significant portions of her Ph.D. dissertation. In their latest piece, they assert that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke committed plagiarism in his master’s thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School.

The timing of the article was perfect, because Clarke last week was nominated to serve in the Department of Homeland Security. He is a major target for the Left because he is yet another example that “puts the lie” to claims that the Trump White House is a hotbed for white supremacy. From the perspective of Leftists who want to nullify last November’s election by any means necessary, these revelations about Clarke were cause for a sigh of relief.

Continuous attacks against Sheriff Clarke regarding civil rights violations in the Milwaukee County jail during his tenure have failed to gain traction. This particular combination of Alinsky’s Rule No. 4 and Rule No. 13 wasn’t going to cut it with Americans. The Left could not freeze Clarke, isolate him, personalize the attacks against him, and rally the base by polarizing the public on an issue where a member of the Right would be violating his own playbook. The playbook was not working because the Left has relentlessly attacked law enforcement officials for so long that it is next to impossible to isolate Clarke from all the other police officers they’ve demonized for the past couple of years.

Having failed at one staid tactic, it was time to reach back into the bag of Leftist cheap tricks to see what new angle could be used to destroy Clarke. Then they remembered! They discredited Monica Crowley through what appears to be a lazy article filled with cheap shots and a poor understanding of academic writing and citations, so why not give that the old college try again?

And, with that, journo-Leftists pivoted to claiming that David Clarke is a plagiarist. Not only did “cry plagiarism” work on Crowley (whereas it always seems to fail on confirmed Leftist plagiarists like Joe Biden), intellectual theft is a claim that the Right still purports to care about and thus they figure they might successfully be used to freeze and isolate Clarke.

align=”left” Having failed at one staid tactic, it was time to reach back into the bag of Leftist cheap tricks to see what new angle could be used to destroy Clarke. Then they remembered! They discredited Monica Crowley through what appears to be a lazy article filled with cheap shots and a poor understanding of academic writing and citations, so why not give that the old college try again?

The plagiarism attack would be wonderful, if it wasn’t so transparently clumsy in its application. Kaczynski, Massie, and McDermott begin their assertion by citing the Naval Postgraduate School’s guidelines on plagiarism: “If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation.” The key part of their claim here is the use of quotation marks, or lack thereof, and not the lack of citation on the part of the author.

Let me repeat that: their argument is that an author has plagiarized something if he cites something and doesn’t use quotation marks. This is arrant nonsense. But before I analyze that inanity further, let’s look at a passage that Kaczynski, Massie, and McDermott claim is evidence of Clarke’s plagiarism.

The first passage comes on page three of Clarke’s thesis, and the hacks at CNN provide us with a nifty graphic to highlight his supposed crime:

Image 1 — Source Kaczynski, Massie, and McDermott 2017

Take a quick look at those passages. It’s pretty damning, right? That’s not just paraphrasing. Clarke clearly used language from the CIA’s Intelligence Inquiry. But how do Kaczynski and company know that’s where Clarke got this language? Did they discover this fact through deep-digging journalistic research? No. From the use of plagiarism detecting software like TurnItIn? Nope. They got it straight from Clarke’s thesis. How do I know? Because Clarke properly cited the statement, though he didn’t use quotation marks.

Let’s have a look by doing a text search of Clarke’s publicly available thesis:

Image 2 — Source Clarke 2013

While one might praise Kaczynski and his comrades for not criticizing Clarke for the lack of an ‘s’ at the end of “it” just prior to “uselessness,” we can almost instantly see one key difference between the CNN graphic and the actual dissertation. You see that small superscript 12 after the sentence? Did you notice that isn’t in the CNN article? They conveniently left it out. Just as they did in the Crowley hit piece.

As attorney Lynn Chu noted in her analysis of the Crowley hack job, “26 of CNN’s items from the dissertation were straightforwardly false—Ms. Crowley’s paraphrases were correctly sourced in her footnotes. But in most of these 26, CNN had omitted her footnote references. CNN hid from readers that her footnotes gave proper credit to the source. Readers were disabled from being allowed to see or infer that sources were in footnotes.” They do the same thing here.

What does that little superscript 12 in Clarke’s original thesis (which is visible to all in public record) tell us? CNN actively obscured the truth to deceive viewers and smear Clarke. Looking at a screenshot of his thesis, we see the following at the bottom of page 3:

Image 3 — Source Clarke 2013

Not only do we see that Sheriff Clarke has properly given credit to Loch K. Johnson for the description of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s comments, he even provides us with the page of the report where Johnson made the quote. What Clarke did is the very opposite of plagiarism. What Clarke did is give credit where credit is due.

align=”right” More concerning than any claim that Kaczynski and comrades make about plagiarism is their wanton omission of included citations. In failing to provide this, these so-called journalists are not only lying by omission, they are actively deceiving the public by presenting falsified evidence and bias as fact.

The lack of quotation marks around the statement is not strange. It likely represents an attempt to promote ease of reading after deliberation about whether he sufficiently paraphrased the original point or not. Clarke clearly thought he had, though I think an argument could be made that he should have isolated the statement as a direct quote rather than trying to paraphrase. Clarke’s thesis advisor and those who oversaw the formatting of his thesis thought his citations were sufficient, and given that Clarke isn’t claiming the observation as his own, I think it’s fair to say this isn’t plagiarism in the slightest. While I’ve only examined the first of CNN’s examples here, if you compare the report’s claims and Clarke’s thesis, you will notice this is the pattern. That pattern is one where Clarke scrupulously cites, but doesn’t use quotation marks.

There are many tradeoffs made when writing academic papers, particularly in introductions and literature reviews where you are describing the state of the literature on a given subject, as is the case with the section of Clarke’s thesis cited above. Most people who have written papers for an advanced degree know this. It should come as no surprise that Andrew Kaczynski doesn’t have a college degree, as his reporting on plagiarism demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge regarding academic citations.

More concerning than any claim that Kaczynski and comrades make about plagiarism is their wanton omission of included citations. In failing to provide this, these so-called journalists are not only lying by omission, they are actively deceiving the public by presenting falsified evidence and bias as fact. They know that most readers will look at their graphics and assume they are accurate, even cut and pasted from the actual writings. The sad fact is they are graphics generated to deceive. This is #FakeNews at its finest.

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About Nathaniel Wright

Nathaniel Wright lives in Southern California with his large collection of DVDs and a wide variety of single malt scotch. When he's not studying American Politics, he spends his time trying to answer the pressing of question of how we reconcile order which is not oppression with freedom which is not license. He's nowhere close to finding the answer.

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9 responses to “When All Else Fails, Claim Plagiarism

  • They really will say or do anything at this point to smear anyone they don’t like. Why is blatant falsehood like this not subject to libel law?

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      • If by “it” you mean plagiarism, you are wrong. Sheriff Clarke didn’t commit plagerism, as the article makes clear. He cited his sources scrupulously, he just didn’t use quotation marks or indent the quotes, which is a style choice, not an attempt to deceive.

        The reason the Left wants to destroy this honorable man is because he presents a clear danger to their despicable agenda. If they could lynch him they would, but since that avenue is now closed to them they use lies as their murder weapon

      • An honest man with a clear conscience would sue. He is neither of those.

      • While an honorable man would ignore the stupidity of the lie, since his work speaks for itself, it’s public and anyone can see his citations.

      • He took himself out of the running for the government post. What other part of his past is he trying to hide?

  • I think Sheriff Clarke, who’s real crime is that of being an emancipated Negro (this word is used to pacify the Democrats who think blacks need to stay on the plantation and not think for themselves. I have great respect for Sheriff Clarke) , should consult Biden, Franken and Tribe. They could point out what plagiarism really is.

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