Late on Tuesday President Trump tweeted, “Plagiarism charge against Sleepy Joe Biden on his ridiculous Climate Change Plan is a big problem, but the Corrupt Media will save him.”
The president may be correct. The “corrupt media” has had considerable practice saving liberal plagiarists, but this time there is no guarantee.
Right now, Biden is vulnerable. Progressives want to bring him down. One of them, Josh Nelson, vice president of a phone company that raises money for leftist causes, was the first to point out that large sections of Biden’s climate plan were lifted word-for-word from other sources.
In response, the Biden campaign countered, “Citations were inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22-page document.” The magic word here, as shall be seen, is “inadvertently.”
Of course, Biden’s history makes him more vulnerable still. In 1987, Biden did for the word “plagiarism” what Bill Clinton would later do for the phrase “oral sex.”
On the campaign trail, Biden took to confusing himself with Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labor Party.
After one speech the New York Times Maureen Dowd accused the ambitious Delaware senator of lifting “Mr. Kinnock’s closing speech with phrases, gestures and lyrical Welsh syntax intact.”
Biden not only swiped word-for-word sections of Kinnock’s speeches, but, incredibly, he also appropriated details from Kinnock’s life.
If Kinnock’s coal miner kin could “sing and play and recite and write poetry,” Biden’s people “read poetry and wrote poetry and taught me how to sing verse.”
After emerging from the mines, Biden’s people, like Kinnock’s, would “play football.” Biden may not have known or care, but Kinnock was referring to a different sport.
A chronic BS artist, Biden extended Kinnock’s eight hours in the mines to 12 and then had his miners “play football for four hours,” American football at that. Did these people not sleep or eat?
”To the degree [the speech] wasn’t attributed, it was an oversight or inadvertent,” said a Biden campaign aide at the time. Under pressure, the aide conceded that Biden was not even referring to his own relatives but “people that his ancestors grew up with in the Scranton region.”
Biden was not out of the woods. Six days later, on Sept. 18, 1987, the Times published a lengthy article detailing how Biden “plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school.”
Biden told the Times that the plagiarism was a “mistake,” that he had simply not understood the rules for citing sources.
The mistakes included lifting the following sentence word-for-word from an unattributed source: ”The trend of judicial opinion in various jurisdictions has been that the breach of an implied warranty of fitness is actionable without privity, because it is a tortious wrong upon which suit may be brought by a non-contracting party.” Privity?
In a desperate effort to prove his transparency, Biden shared with the Times a 65-page file from Syracuse University that “disclosed relatively poor grades in college and law school, mixed evaluations from teachers and details of the plagiarism.” The Times did not seem to be impressed.
When asked about the effect of these revelations on his campaign, Biden insisted, ”I’m in the race to stay, I’m in the race to win, and here I come.” Five days later he withdrew from the race. He blamed his primary opponents for leaking this information to the media.
In 2019, Biden again has primary opponents. One suspects that they will again be leaking damaging information to the media.
This cycle, however, the media may not want to know about Biden’s skeletons. If major media honchos think Biden the candidate most likely to beat Trump, they will ignore Biden’s use of other people’s words as they did Obama’s during his candidacy and beyond.
Furthering tempering media enthusiasm for plagiarism stories is that many of their own people have been caught doing it, some, like CNN’s indestructible Fareed Zakaria, more than once.
High among the guilty is the Times’ Maureen Dowd, she who busted Biden in 1987. In 2009, Dowd got caught pilfering a major chunk of editorial from Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall.
Wrote Marshall in his original posting, “It seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”
Wrote Dowd, “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.”
The section Dowd lifted was considerably longer and fully word-for-word. I cite this section to show that Dowd consciously changed “we were” to the “the Brush crowd was.” It was the only change. It showed intent.
Even by plagiarist standards, Dowd’s explanation was impressive in its mendacity. She explained that a friend shared these ideas with her but “must have read Josh Marshall without mentioning that to me.”
Eager to suck up to the Times, Marshall thanked Dowd for a quick correction, “and for me, that’s pretty much the end of it.”
“There is no need to do anything further,” concluded the Times editors, “since there is no allegation, hint or anything else from Marshall that this was anything but an error. It was corrected.”
Wow! That easy.
The Huffington Post headlined its story on the incident, “Maureen Dowd Admits Inadvertently Lifting Line From TPM’s Josh Marshall.”
“Inadvertently,” of course, and we’re supposed to take these people seriously?