If you plagiarize, you’re gonna have a bad time
Ever wonder why every professor, on the first day of class, has to explain what plagiarism is and why it’s bad? Surely there comes a point where we just get it and no longer need to be told.
On Sept. 18, “journalist” Margaret Wente — one of the most allegedly respected columnists in the country — was caught plagiarizing both ideas and actual sentences (or at least one actual sentence) from various sources in her Globe & Mail column.
Though Wente has since been accused of serial plagiarism, she has maintained that she simply made a mistake by playing fast-and-loose with some attributions and never intentionally copied anyone’s work.
Intentional or not, if a university student made the same “mistake,” they could be brought up on academic misconduct charges, a huge black mark on their record which could ruin their educational opportunities and have lasting effects on their future careers.
In an apology column of sorts, Wente served up a embarrassingly weak excuse: “I’m sorry for my journalistic lapses, and I think that, when I deserve the heat, I should take it and accept the consequences. But I’m also sorry we live in an age where attacks on people’s character and reputation seem to have become the norm.”
Luckily for her, the Globe & Mail (often referred to as “Canada’s paper of record”) doesn’t seem too concerned about maintaining integrity.
Both the editor-in-chief and public editor have issued statements essentially defending the besieged journalist — she had to participate in two likely-very-awkward conversations with the Globe’s editor-in-chief John Stackhouse and got a small slap on the wrist in the form of unspecified “disciplinary action.”
She would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids — er, CBC that is. The publically funded news outlet dished out the justice the Globe & Mail didn’t have the guts for.
Wente was suspended by the CBC, for which she was a regular guest on a Q panel about the media.
Perhaps Wente was looking to get away with grade school discipline for misconduct, rather then the consequences us folks in the real world contend with.