Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fareed Zakaria: Plagiarism 101

Credit: CNN
By now folks, I hope you are not under the impression that I have "lifted" or "used" another person's work when it comes to my written material. Who else has a sick, bordering on psychotic infatuation with Whales crackers, after all? (BTW: my suggestion for a limited time offering of Whales 'with bacon' to Stauffer's has still not received a response - I'll keep you posted)

That said, in light of the recent accusations of plagiarism leveled against CNN host, The Washington Post, and Time Magazine, Fareed Zakaria, I can say nothing more than I am simply stunned that this sort of thing happens at the highest level of journalism. Are you?

When news of Mr. Zakaria's alleged activity broke days ago, my first reaction was not only surprise to the idea that someone at the top of the journalist and multimedia world would actually stoop to the level of simply cheating, but shocked at the idea that a mere suspension was given. At least, thus far.

I have attended college (online) for the past three years. Every single paper...EVERY SINGLE PAPER...I submit is required to be constructed in precise APA format with a cover page. Moreover, EVERY SINGLE PAPER I submit is to have a statement of academic honesty affixed at the bottom of said cover page. It reads:
I have read and understand the plagiarism policy as outlined in the syllabus and the sections in the Student Bulletin relating to the IWU Honesty/Cheating Policy. By affixing this statement to the title page of my paper, I certify that I have not cheated or plagiarized in the process of completing this assignment.  If it is found that cheating and/or plagiarism did take place in the writing of this paper, I understand the possible consequences of the act/s, which could include expulsion from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Plagiarism is defined by Dictionary.com as "An act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author."

Should Mr. Zakaria be fired? Is a fine sufficient? As a writer, frankly, I'm appalled.

What are we to infer from all of this? Is it that in today's political environment there is nothing new worthy of reporting or commenting on, therefore, it is necessary to go back and recycle stories from 2009 as your own? Talk about lame.

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