To quote Truman Capote: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
There is talk among the happy bunch over at Blog for Arizona that some response has to be made to a recent post at the Arizona Daily Independent regarding the discussion that happened last week after my post making a case for why my friend, Representative Chad Campbell, should not run for Governor.
There is no reason to provide a link to ADI. If you want to find the story, you are free to look for it yourself. I will also resist the temptation to point out all the things that are wrong with their article, except to say that the anonymous scribbler responsible for it outright misrepresents the exchange as some kind of effort by The Man to keep a brother down. He also misspells my name as well as Fred DuVal’s. Otherwise, it has the flaws of a typical ADI story: lousy grammar, poor sourcing, and just plain terrible writing.
The truly lazy part of their story is that it is clear that the writer made no effort to go to the original original blog posts, despite the fact that this is free of charge and it only would have taken a few minutes to do so. The story is obviously based on a single source: The Yellow Sheet Report, a regular gossip sheet which is available from The Arizona Capitol Times only to subscribers willing to pay a premium, or to those of us who still have a lot of friends who are lobbyists or capitol staffers. The story is essentially a re-working of someone else’s work, not original reporting. Some folks might call this plagiarism.
In example, this is what was written in ADI:
Campbell told a Yellow Sheet reporter that DuVal’s supporters have been trying to talk him out of the race for more than a year, and some have suggested that he run for secretary of state or another office instead. Campbell told the Yellow Sheet, “I’m the only potential candidate right now that has won a primary. I’ve won three primaries, in fact. And, in fact, I’m the only [one] who’s ever won an election, at this point, who’s thinking about running for the seat.”
This from The Yellow Sheet:
“With all due respect to Mr. Prezelski, a blog post doesn’t really mean that much to me,” Campbell told our reporter this morning. He said DuVal’s supporters have been trying to talk him out of the race for more than a year, and some have suggested that he run for secretary of state or another office instead. But he said he’s not running for office simply to run for something, and believes he would be the best candidate for governor. He added he’s not afraid of a primary and doesn’t think a contested one would be a bad thing for Dems. “I’m the only potential candidate right now that has won a primary. I’ve won three primaries, in fact. And, in fact, I’m the only [one] who’s ever won an election, at this point, who’s thinking about running for the seat,” Campbell said.
Here are the guidelines for what constitutes “plagiarism” from plagiarism.org, an accepted go-to website on the topic for classroom teachers and others (note: these quotes constitute “Fair Use” per the website’s own guidelines):
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
- to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.
They go on to give some examples:
- turning in someone else’s work as your own
- copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
- failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
- giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
- changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
- copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules)
Perhaps what ADI did does not rise to plagiarism in the legal sense, but it would certainly be rejected by most publications or even most high school teachers. The worst part is that they cribbed the story, and still made so many errors, the sort of mistakes one makes when they really do not care about what they are writing. It was sloppy and incompetent.
It would be easy to simply dismiss the ADI as so clumsy as to be irrelevant, but there are ostensibly responsible people in this town that take it quite seriously. The recent, completely fabricated, Tinkle-gate scandal story involving Councilman Kozachik made its first appearance in ADI before it was repeated on Jon LoGuidice’s radio show and elsewhere shows that the ADI has, unfortunately, been able to insert itself into the public debate. It is pretty clear that the lazy, craven and anonymous trolls behind this site do not deserve even the marginal credibility that they get.
(Note: The folks over at The Yellow Sheet have understandably been very protective of their material in the past. This blogger believes that the use of the attributed quote falls well within accepted fair use guidelines.)