Sunday, October 23, 2011

A tale of two congresscritters

Here's a story about something that happened this week.  I've omitted the names because I'm too lazy to look them up.  You can google for them if you want to.

A junior senator (one who also made the news recently for a Cosmo photoshoot he once did to pay his way through law school) wrote an autobiographical essay and posted it online.

Well, this week (or maybe the week before; again, I'm too lazy to look it up), an alert reader noticed some uncanny similarities between his bio and a biography published a few years ago, about a highly respected former senator (and a very classy lady) from a different state.

Not just uncanny similarities.  Some passages were identical.  It was a case of blatant plagiarism.  The reader, who happened to work for Atlantic Monthly, called him on it.  (Heh.  As if his Cosmo photos weren't "blatant" enough.)

The junior senator's office responded to the charges, saying that he wasn't responsible for the blog entry, because it was ghostwritten by a staff member.  The exact wording of the spokesperson was "a staff level oversight."  (This is where you can get all indignant and say that he should have known what other people were saying in his name.  And you'd be right.  But don't stop reading yet.)

Upon further investigation, it was determined (or at least highly suspected) that the section lifted from the senior senator's biography was not really her words.  It just sounded like something she would say.  Actually, it had been ghostwritten for her.

So the ghostwriter for one senator plagiarized content from the ghostwriter for another senator, and therefore it's nearly impossible to hold the first senator responsible for the misdeed.  And that, my children, is the way it's done in Washington, D.C.

(Well, if we can't hold him responsible, can we at least lump him in with the Idiot Ones?) 

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