Friday, July 07, 2006

Right Wingnut I: Ann Coulter Plagarism Update

Like atomic nuclei, every news story has a half life. Some stories sink like a stone after their initial publication. Others soldier on forever, fed by new developments and piling on by commentators and other worthies who want a piece of the action.

In this context, a New York Post story published online Sunday alleging that right-wing harpie Ann Coulter plagarized passages in her new best selling book and in her syndicated news columns looked like it was going to disappear without a trace.

Then TPM Muckraker got a hold of it following the July 4th holiday and started bugging Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Coulter's weekly column. UPS initially blew off the query but is now feeling the heat and is going to check out the allegation.

Now other media outlets like Editor & Publisher are climbing on board and the story is growing and growing.

TPM Muckracker has now posted a detailed list of examples compiled by the Post, Barrie, writer David Chapman, Raw Pundit and The Boston Globe that go back five years. Ten of the examples are from columns and six from "Godless" and two other books.

Coulter has responded to the allegation by prattling about the Post, but has not actually denied it.

Coulter has railed against plagarists when they're part of the mainstream media, notably Jason Blair, the disgraced former New York Times reporter.

But I'll make a prediction:
The right wing will circle the wagons around their Annie until when -- and if -- the storm blows over.

Coulter appeared on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" show on Thursday evening to rail against the usual suspects, but of course not a word was said about the plagarism allegations.

Maybe she'll just say that it's her researchers fault and fire the bum.
Meanwhile, Eric Boehlert at The Huffington Post suggests that Universal Press Syndicate take a look at Coulter's latest column because of its sheer pointlessness:
It consists of two parts. Up top, Coulter makes fun of the New York Post. Note she doesn't have the guts to actually mention the plagiarism charges the paper aired; she simply makes gratuitous, out-of-context slaps at the paper, calling it the second-worst paper in New York City. Then she proceeds to reproduce a Q&A the Post recently did with Coulter but chose to not print. It's a Q&A in which the Post writer, Larry Getlen, comes out looking vastly more intelligent and interesting than Coulter.

In other words, in her latest effort Coulter uses her column to settle personal scores (in a way that's completely baffling to most of her readers) and as a forum to interview herself. The kicker: At the end of the column she writes, "To be continued later this summer . . . " Apparently Coulter plans on cutting and pasting more of the Post's scrapped Q&A at a more convenient date.

The arrogance Coulter's complete non-effort shows for Universal Press Syndicate and the newspapers that run her column is breath taking. If the column took more than 15 minutes of her time I'd be shocked. It's the journalism equivalent--and there's really no other way to describe it--of handing in a turd on a piece of paper and telling your editor, "Print this."

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