Plagiarism for the Vets

So I was reading this interesting blog post called "Plagiarism for the Vets", and I noticed a lot of similarities in a recent Toledo Free Press article. Can anyone else notice the similarities?

TFP: "The poppy also reminds the community of the past sacrifices and continuing needs of our veterans. The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars."

American Legion Auxiliary: "The poppy also reminds the community of the past sacrifices and continuing needs of our veterans...The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars." Other examples of the text here.

TFP: "Waterloo — which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866 — was chosen because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags."

The History Channel: "Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags."

TFP: "The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and contributes to their self-sufficiency."

American Legion Auxiliary: "The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient."

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thats bad

use a small fraction of another article in something you write, I don't believe that quoting and giving attribution is necessary.

That said, when I heavily quote articles from the Blah (as I often do), I cite the source and italicize and use quotation marks to differentiate their words from mine.

However when writing about an article from which I include minimal article content, I may pick out a phrase or two and italicize and use quote marks to identift them as the words of others.

Then, if I react to an article using only my own words, I neither cite the article, nor quote any part of it directly.

So, I would say that it depends on how much us used compared to the article/post's overall length...

But hey, that's just me...

Hooda Thunkit

First you can paraphrase. Other than that any quote regardless of size should be put in quotations or footnoted.

Secondly, who wrote the orignal article that is accused of being plagerized. If the author of the second article was a contributor of the first then no quotations or footnote is needed as you can't plagerize yourself because you are using your own words.


Au Contraire! Attribution and paraphrase are ALWAYS necessary. If a student submitted this in my classroom they would earn an F for plagiarism.

Well, actually, I give an assignment asking students to rewrite something in their own words.Most submit a bastardized version of the original...some stick to the same organizational pattern and sentences structures, substituting words. It is STILL plagiarizing. Some write something like, "According to TIme Magazine", then type large portions of the article almost word for word-- plagiarism. Attributing the words to the publication or author does not free you as a writer to reprint their words as is, UNLESS you quote them exactly and use quote marks, and this you would only want to do sparingly. If you are writing something, YOU need to WRITE IT!

The Internet makes it so easy to steal other people's work--and not even recognize it as stealing. I spend a lot of time teaching paraphrase, with rewarding results. Whomever penned this piece for the Free Press needs to learn a thing or two about writing. He/she didn't write this piece; they typed it!

There wasn't even an attempt at attribution and frankly, the explanation rings pretty hollow.

explanation from the principal(s) involved who might be reading this thread?

It wouldn't be the first time someone accused her of failing to cite sources.

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

If you check the link that is listed above, the Toledo Free Press reaction to these accusations is there.

As an update, Maggie Thurber has resigned from her columnist position.

We don't remember days only moments...

there goes her job

Thurber’s column for May 24, “A History of Memorial Day,” was accused by a contributor of of containing plagiarized lines.'

Or, as he's known by certain other individuals on SB, that 'paid Democratic operative from California.'

Good catch, Pink. I'm wondering now if there's a story behind the story, so to speak.

has gone private. I just tried to access her page and received this:

This blog is open to invited readers only
It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.

I wonder if she will loose her gig on WSPD as well?

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

My guess is, there were a few "borrowed" articles there was well...

I wonder if she will loose her gig on WSPD as well?

Obviously a different medium than print, where the infraction was commited, and she'll probably use her platform there to further apologize and explain.

Besides, WSPD has been 'borrowing' material out of the daily paper for years (I realize that's not the same circumstance as what happened here).

Sort of an odd thread here. Almost 900 reads on the topic and only about 15 comments. Guess the pro-Maggie crowd doesn't have much to say and they're usually very vocal.

Then there's Pink, who sly like a fox and not telling us any more about how he discovered all this. Those 'party operatives' from Cali sure are a secretive bunch, lol.

I've read the comments here, because I was curious about the situation. However, I haven't replied, because I didn't have anything to add that hasn't already been said.

Perhaps there are others like me. :) Or, perhaps there are people reading the replies who aren't registered users here?

Most folks spend little time concerned about plagiarism and intellectual property, HelenWheales, and as you pointed out, the rise of the Internet has turned the phrase "cut-and-paste" into a tool of copyright piracy.

For those of us who research and write for a living, the idea of plagiarising someone else's work is anathema because this value is reinforced in the culture of academia. I would no sooner "borrow" text or ideas without attribution than I would stab myself in the eyeballs with a red-hot kebob skewer.

Yet many people who wouldn't even think of stealing our wallets would have no problem "borrowing" text for a research paper, newspaper article, or business presentation. Part of this is the nature of the written word, which has less tangible qualities than a stack of $100 bills or a set of car keys.

My personal guess is that Maggie was rushed for a deadline and got sloppy or panicky, as she did use attribution in several other places in the article for some direct quotes. Still, it is unfortunate that she made the decisions that she did, as the short-cut with cut-and-paste proved quite costly.

Thankfully there are guys like you Mike writing for the future masses to cut and paste from. :)


I had a college professor email me some months ago to tell me that two students plagiarized material from an essay I wrote and published on my blig about the rise of Nazi Germany.

I have hit the big time.

did you guys see this?

on her own blog, right at the top she states: I’m a radio talk show host, former public official and avid sailor. These are the things I do, along with blogging, while I decide what I want to be when I grow up. Many posts in this blog contain original material and previously unreported news. Any media outlet, website or blogger that reports previously unreported news or quotes opinion obtained from this website is ethically obligated to credit me or my blog in their initial report on the subject.

Talk about a hypocrite!
This comment was posted on May 22nd, 2009 at 10:03 pm

(from the TFP page comment section)

I am really interested in seeing what Mr. Miller is going to do.

Plagarism in any form has no place in our media.

This goes back to something I believe about our media. That regardless of bias (I know it's a hot button issue on here) the worst part of our media is it's becoming more and more sensationalistic and the journalists themselves are lazy.

I believe all journalists (to include bloggers) should rise up and demand an independent group such as the Society of Professional Journalists step forward and be the measuring stick for our standards in our media. Currently the job is left to the editors, program managers, and themselves. That is the reason our media has extremely low standards and journalists are mistrusted by in large.


I'm interrupting my holiday week end to congratulate Pink_Slip for catching the error. Good job, Pink_Slip. My congratulations and a tip of my fedora to you, sir.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

I will be interested to see how Brian Wilson spins this. I'm sure it will be the idiot blogger's fault and some big liberal conspiracy against Maggie. He's fired or forced out so many people at WSPD unjustly in the last four years (i.e. Tom Watkins, Bob Frantz)...I'm curious to see if he will fire someone who now actually should be fired. My guess is that he'll blame everyone for being nitpicky...then WSPD will play some "funny" promos that make fun of the situation (actually showing their arrogance) and all the hosts and producers will declare themselves gods of media and get drunk on wine. Maggie will keep her show.

When the "Queen Bee" came to town the whole station went to hell. All the "Workers Bees" are not allowed to speak outside the party line box. Dissension is not allowed, a#% kissing is strongly encouraged. It gets monotonous the same old drivel that comes from the once great station. It sounds more like a barbershop quartet than a serious News Station especially at the quarter of 6:00 PM time slot.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

from jr's post over on Toledo Talk:

(jr comment--) 'In a May 25, 2009 Toledo Free Press letter to the editor, AM 1370 WSPD afternoon talk show host Brian Wilson responded to Thurber's plagiarism charge. With the expected knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal, guttural rhetoric, Wilson wrote':

'So, Maggie Thurber “cut ‘n pasted” some material for a Memorial Day column and failed to give certain material appropriate attribution, an unbreakable rule in the principled world of journalism.
Big deal - for those who actually have and live by principles; no biggie for the rest. Just another golden opportunity to dredge up ancient history, make smarmy, adolescent, intellectually bankrupt comments hiding behind phony names, cross-posting on every blog and buzz board, trolling for admirers to stroke their egos. Welcome to Toledo: A City with Prudes.
And so goes the cyber-croaking in Frog Town. This must be how “life” (as in “get a life”) is defined in a small, politically embarrassing, intelligence-bereft town with nothing else to do but trade kindergarten-grade online “insults.” Laughable if not so tragic: seeing an entire region sitting on a gold mine, going to waste because of contagious apathy, aggressive ignorance and cyber-narcissism.
“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” - Adolf Hitler
No laws broken. No injury sustained, physical or otherwise. But out of respect for the respectability and integrity of an institution and its guiding ethics, an individual makes a principled choice at her own expense - and is reviled for it.
Such are the visible rewards for altruism in a land where the majority have to look up the word.'

(jr comment--) 'Note how Miller in his old column that I linked to in a previous comment above and Wilson here like to invoke Godwin's Law .
Wilson also used the red herring technique to divert attention away from what happened and somehow place blame on the Internet. Wilson must be taking lessons from local politicians on how to dance around an issue.
It seems that according to Wilson, the real problem here is that Maggie got caught.
When you make your living investigating and criticizing the wrong-doings of public officials, how can you not expect to receive some criticism when you commit a wrong? I guess Wilson and his staff of radio heads are in the 'dish-it-out-but-can't-take-it' business.'


Isn't anyone else saddened by this revelation? I may not agree with Maggie most of the time, but I have respected her as an articulate spokesperson for local conservatives -- much more "down to earth" and pragmatic than others. She has been a most worthy adversary. When we found common ground and agreed on an issue, I felt genuine satisfaction.

With the Noe connection, her image was tarnished. Blatant plagiarism, especially from someone who is paid to write a regular column, is journalistic suicide. Psychologically, did Maggie want out of the spotlight? I just can't fathom why she did this. Sad!!

if Maggie just wanted out of the spotlight she would have chosen a more straight-forward path of doing so. She has always spoken frankly and without reservation so I believe she would have just said she's done.

I also believe that she just got caught up in a moment of indiscretion concerning her column. Whether it was due to press deadline, writer's block or some other outside influence which caused this to happen. However, this is not an excuse and she should have known better; she has apologized, resigned and appears content to move on with her life.

I can tell you this though, if Pink is intent on performing witch hunts on all those he has disagreements with, then he better be damn sure his postings are straight as well. I can see where they might be reviewed for some sort of journalistic ethical lapses as we speak. Hope Pink has his house in order because if not the next name you see in the spotlight may be his.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

I'm sure all this is rough on the pro-Maggie-WSPD-TFP-local conservative-crowd and put a damper on your holiday weekend, but this really isn't about Pink Slip, now is it?

(Edit to add--)

I'll say this about Pinky. He's kept a very-low
(actually non-existent) profile since he 'broke' this on Friday. Actually, about as low a profile as Thurber or some of her usual apologists on here. No chest-thumping here or elsewhere, not even a comment.

I've tried to draw him out a bit with comments about if there was 'more to the story' or whatever, no success.

He's been lurking--I've seen his SN on the online user list.

Pinky--you waiting for a book deal or what? Perhaps a drive-time interview on Speedy with mumbly-mouth?

CM always said you were a 'paid Demo-party operative. ' Maybe you're just out spending your bonus money, LOL.

KrazyKat/Tekrat, I am not a journalist. But by all means, go ahead and review my postings

Pink Slip


KraZyKat and Tekrat are not the same person. Please explain what you mean by grouping us together because I cannot find where Tekrat commented on this post or on the other at ToledoTalk. Have I missed something?

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

A typical SB response. Kill the messenger, the hell with the message.

McCaskey...I believe JR over at Toledo Talk has done a great job at summing up my feelings on this incident--especially on the nearly incoherent response from Brian Wilson, and there's not much more to add. It's an unfortunate situation, but it is necessary to hold our media accountable (a role that Ms Thurber knows all too well). The Toledo Free Press is to be commended on their appropriate response.

Pink Slip

Btw, we can all vote for WSPD's Pantload of the Week

Send an email to:

(I got the idea from jr @ Toledo Talk---want to make sure I give credit where it's due)

Pink Slip

Did anyone on WSPD even mention this yesterday?

Doubtful. But this is an interesting bit from Thurber's Thoughts:

"Leftists...are trying to eliminate criticism of actions and decisions by claiming that only perfect people can offer a criticism."

Pink Slip

Maggie should definitely lose her column on TFP due to this. As for WSPD. Only if she was doing the same thing as well.

Brian Wilson's thoughts were a joke but then again Brian himself is a joke. He has ran a great talk radio station into the ground.

I used to listen to WSPD when I lived in the DC area and I had XM radio at the time. I had more than enough options to listen to. But I chose WSPD because they were accurate and credible. Now they are just "the libertarian station". And while I may have grown more libertarian in my beliefs the last few years I hate the station.


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