Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Mission: Recall Coulter's Godless Book
11 reported examples of similiar language, ideas and information using similiar sentence structure from 11 uncited sources. Most examples are three lines or more (links to the examples found by The Rude Pundit, plagiarism expert John Barrie via The New York Post, and me can be found elsewhere on this page).
11, so far. Plenty more to come.
Countless examples of taking entire sentences from material that is improperly cited; complete sentences and clauses reused without the use of proper quotation marks; footnotes that appear pages before or pages after they should and not enough to indicate where the similiar language, ideas and information came from.
Many factual errors, some related to Coulter's cribbing from unreputable sources, some so basic such as wrong years that are simply unacceptable in a major publisher's book placed in the non-fiction section of bookstores and libraries.
Do I want Coulter's book pulled for objectionable content? Hell no! But it's unacceptable that a major publisher put out a book by such a controversial author without even doing basic fact-checking or making sure that the sources are cited properly, never mind whether it was plagiarized or not.
Is Coulter guilty of plagiarism?
Technically, hell yeah.
Not citing your sources is plagiarism, and some of Coulter's sources are independently written and researched articles that writers spent a lot of time on and deserve the credit they damn well earned.
Many times Coulter refers to original quotes given to writers and there is no citation for the article or writer, even though a simple search on Nexis-Lexis or Google for the quote turns it up. Does Ann Coulter have any fact checkers or editors at all? When she writes "so-and-so told the Times" wouldn't that be a dead giveaway to any fact-checkers or editors that a proper citation is needed?
Whether Coulter should lose her column or her book contract or her fame is not my goal or even my concern. Hell...every day she seems to get another Republican to back away from her...why would I want to end that gravy train?
But Crown Publishing and Random House need to pull this joke of a book when it comes to basic fact-checking and editing and add the necessary quotation marks and citations so that it's not "textbook plagiarism."
So...no...I have no interest in seeing Coulter's (or anyone's) head on a pike. Freedom of speech, baby. Though some of her comments do come awfully close to objectionable hate speech or threats...I consider her more of an unfunny controversial satirist or entertainer than any kind of journalist (though obviously others feel differently)
But Crown Publishing Group Vice President Steve Ross either needs to take a hard look at this poorly sourced, edited book for real, front cover to back or, at the very least, apologize to the plagiarism spotters he slandered, thank them for bringing the cribbed language to his attention, and promise that future editions will contain all the cited sources that Coulter borrowed without acknowledging.
Even if Crown and Random House change the category to satire, they still need to credit the sources that Steve Ross evidently cares nothing about. Perhaps Steve Ross should start giving away his books since he seems to have such a low opinion about the worth of writers' work.
(Agitprop has details for contacting the publishers)
I could write a book about the plagiarism and factual errors in Ann Coulter's Godless...or at least a blog...