SCANDAL: John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett at The Politico Appear to Have Plagiarized From BuzzFeed

John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett, two reporters at Politico, appear to have copied the work of BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner. In a Politico story that peddles easily refuted Democrat attacks on Neil Gorsuch, Bresnahan and Everitt write:

The documents show that several passages from the tenth chapter of his 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” read nearly verbatim to a 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal. In several other instances in that book and an academic article published in 2000, Gorsuch borrowed from the ideas, quotes and structures of scholarly and legal works without citing them.

But earlier, BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner covered the same topic and wrote:

The section at issue in his book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, is a brief one: It is a summary of the facts and ruling in the 1982 case of Baby Doe, a baby born in Indiana with Down syndrome. It takes up only two paragraphs and seven endnotes in a book that covers more than 300 pages, including endnotes. The book came out of his 2004 Doctor of Philosophy dissertation from the University of Oxford.

Ruh-roh. Not good. It looks like Politico relied on the Democrats’ talking point sheets they sent over earlier to both BuzzFeed and Politico and did not cite BuzzFeed, which published first.

Oh wait! That is exactly what Neil Gorsuch did. In fact, as if subconsciously admitting their story is bulls**t, the Politico reporters include this:

Yet a review of the documents provided to POLITICO shows Gorsuch parroting other writers’ prose and sourcing without citing them. Instead, Gorsuch often acknowledges the primary sources cited by those writers.

In the most striking example, Gorsuch, in his book, appears to duplicate sentences from an Indiana Law Journal article written by Abigail Lawlis Kuzma without attributing her. Instead, he uses the same sources that Kuzma used: A 1982 Indiana court ruling that was later sealed, a well-known pediatrics textbook, “Rudolph’s Pediatrics,” and a 1983 article in the Bloomington Sunday Herald.

What?! Gorsuch provides citations to primary sources that might have provided the original wording used by someone he did not cite?! How dare he!!

This is such a crap story. The attack on Gorsuch is that he did his own research and cited the original, primary sources, instead of just copying what someone else did.

The reason this is a big story in the press is that this is what the press does. Normally, BuzzFeed runs a story and then Politico runs a story citing BuzzFeed because they are too damn lazy to do their own work.

The outrage here is really that Gorsuch is not a lazy Washington millennial reporter with no sense of history, but actually put in the time to do his own research and cite original sources.

Meanwhile, reporters at Politico and BuzzFeed were both spoonfed the story from Democrats. In fact, Politico even admits they were too damn lazy to do in depth work.

POLITICO did not conduct a full examination of the federal judge’s writings.

So in documents spoonfed by Democrats with talking points supplied by Democrats, it appears Neil Gorsuch failed to cite someone who had previously written about a topic. He had the audacity to, instead, do his own work relying on original sources.

By the way, it is worth noting that the purported victim of the plagiarization denies being plagiarized. She too notes that Gorsuch simply looked at the same primary sources she looked at and there was really only one way to describe them.

Maybe if reporters would actually do what Gorsuch did, they wouldn’t get duped into spoonfed stupidity. John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett did not actually plagiarize BuzzFeed. But using the standard they are holding Gorsuch to, they did. That is why this is a crap story. No one committed plagiarism. They just want to generate controversy, damn the facts.

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Erick Erickson

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