The Ann Coulter as Plagiarist Charge: Contemptible Canard
Recoiling in their usual fashion from Ann Coulter's latest surgical strike at their fanatical orthodoxy, liberals across the nation coordinate their latest assault on the nation's most prominent liberalslayer by hurling shrill accusations of plagerism. Their fusillade will miss its mark and return to hit them smack in their collective sour puss.
Plagiarize: "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own; use (a created production) without crediting the source"; "commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existed source."
Blow out of all proportion: pretend that something trivial is significant. Example: the claim that Ann Coulter plagiarized from Maine's Portland-Press Herald.
Fantasy: "the power or process of creating esp. unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need." Example: the claim that Ann Coulter plagiarized from a Los Angeles Times article
Ann Coulter's enemies do not want to debate the merits of her latest bestseller, Godless: The Church of Liberalism. So they are trying to discredit the book by discrediting the writer of the book. Crown Publishing Group, the book's publisher has examined the plagarism allegations and "found them to be as trivial and meritless as they are irresponsible."
Herewith "evidence" of plagiarism (reported by Associated Press):
Ann, in Godless: "The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River in Maine, was halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant previously believed to be extinct."
1999 article in Maine's Portland-Press Herald: "The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River, is halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant believed to be extinct."
The difference: "was" instead of "is."
The context: One descriptive sentence in a 281-page book is essentially the same as one descriptive sentence in a 1999 Portland-Press Herald article.
Purpose of the sentences: to set forth concisely the basic facts about the halting of a big dam project.
Distinctiveness of the sentences: none.
Memorability of the sentences: none.
Likelihood the Ann deliberately lifted a straightforward, but hardly distinctively Coulteresque sentence and decided to deny the Maine newspaper credit, in the hope that she could pass it off as her work: Nil.
Ann, in a 2005 column: "As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, [now Associate United Supreme Court Justice] Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire 'would become the abortion mill of the United States.'"
1990 Los Angeles Times article: "In 1977, Souter as state attorney general spoke out against a proposed repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime - even though the measure had been largely invalidated by the Supreme Court in Roe. vs. Wade."
Is this plagiarism?
Of course not. It is, at most, two barely similar, straightforward, undistinctive and unmemorable sentences about the same subject matter, a matter of public interest.
The brazen plagiarism charge may be the first shot in a campaign by her political enemies to discredit Ann, because Godless is that good, that persuasive, that pro-life, that pro-God and traditional family values.
For Ann's sake, hopefully it is their best shot. It's a dud. It discredits the ones making the charge, not Ann.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.