Plagiarism and The New York Times

Note: This post has been updated.

Maureen Dowd, a well-known columnist for The New York Times, has been accused of plagiarism. As reported by The Huffington Post, a line in Dowd’s Sunday (May 16th) column for  The New York Times was very similar to a line from the blog TPM (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/) 

Dowd: More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

TPM: More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

The plagiarism came to light on the 17th of May.  According to The Huffington Post article, Dowd immediately emailed them admitting that the line

“was lifted from Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall’s blog last Thursday.

Dowd claims that she never read his blog last week but was told the line by a friend of hers. In a follow-up email, she forwarded her desire to apologize to Marshall, writing that had she known, she would have gladly credited Marshall.

Dowd notes that the Times is fixing her column online to give proper credit to Marshall and that a correction will run tomorrow.”

May 18th saw the New York Times issue the following correction:

Correction: May 18, 2009
Maureen Dowd’s column on Sunday, about torture, failed to attribute a paragraph about the timeline for prisoner abuse to Josh Marshall’s blog at Talking Points Memo.

Ever since a writer from India Today  (one of India’s premier news magazines) plagiarized one of my blog posts, I’ve been deeply interested in news about this topic. The most notable features of this episode, in my opinion:  

1.  The response from Dowd was immediate, as was the correction from The Times. 

2.  This episode has generated much discussion in the blogosphere and in traditional media.  John McQuaid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (I know, so is Dowd) asks in his column on the Post if Dowd committed a firing offense by her actions. Plagiarism is (rightly) being considered a grave matter by the writing community.

And as for my dealings with India Today: it is over a month since I wrote to them regarding their employee’s plagiarism of my work and I am yet to receive a response. What a contrast.

(My original post about India Today and my blog is at https://niranjana.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/indias-number-one-magazine-copied-my-work/  )

Update: Here are some links to coverage of Dowd’s alleged plagiarism, on Time magazine, on The Guardian, and on the blog Plagiarism Today

 

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6 responses to “Plagiarism and The New York Times

  1. Pingback: Posts about Huffington Post as of May 19, 2009 » The Daily Parr

  2. ehmm…this kind of immediate response can’t be expected with our newspapers. Sad to know about your post…When this happened to me, I sent a mail and even commented on the daily’s online, nothing happened!..this is the sad state we find ourselves!

    I even blogged about it…
    http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com/2009/02/sakshi-another-copy-cat-on-prowl.html

  3. @ Srivalli: I’m sorry to hear this happened to you–I know how frustrating it is:)
    The recipes on your site are lovely btw!

  4. Any updates on this?

  5. @ Kamini: None, alas!

  6. Sorry to read this. What a shame.

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