Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Jim Lindgren accuses Kerry's speechwriters of plagiarizing. The evidence: when Kerry refers to recent facts, he takes his language out of the newspapers:

Kerry, the New War: "Russian mobsters have been arrested in Germany for extortion, car theft, counterfeiting, prostitution, selling drugs and illegal weapons, and smuggling everything from icons to uranium."

Phil. Inquirer: "Suspected Russian mobsters have been arrested in Germany and charged with extortion, car thefts, counterfeiting, prostitution, gambling, and selling drugs and illegal weapons. They have been caught smuggling everything from religious icons to uranium."
This is patently silly. Kerry isn't writing research papers here. What he says and what he writes doesn't come with detailed bibliographies. When he refers to facts, he loosely paraphrases newspaper reports. This, incidentally, is what most books for the general public, and most public speakers do. News flash: not too many books at Barnes & Noble have bibliographies. Not too many politicians will give you citations for every factual assertion they make.

Trying to hold Kerry to the standard of a college student writing a research paper doesn't pass the laugh test.


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