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Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Old 10-30-13, 11:31 AM
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Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Rand Paul mum after plagiarism allegations

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's office remained mum Tuesday after allegations that he plagiarized part of speeches he gave Monday at Liberty University in Virginia and earlier this year at a conference in Washington, D.C.

The plagiarism allegations first broke Monday night when MSNBC television show host Rachel Maddow accused Paul of stealing four lines of his speech to students at Liberty University from a Wikipedia entry about the movie "Gattaca," which Paul used as a cautionary tale about advancements in science.

He warned that as in the movie, society could eliminate those who are weak or not intelligent by culling inferior DNA. "In your lifetime, much of your potential, or lack thereof, will be known simply by swabbing the inside of your cheek," Paul told the students.

He then went on to tell about the movie, uttering four lines that mirrored the Wikipedia entry almost verbatim.

Buzzfeed, another website, reported Tuesday that he also plagiarized when he borrowed several lines from a Wikipedia entry about the movie "Stand and Deliver" for a speech in June at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

Paul's office didn't respond to emails seeking comment about the speeches, or whether Paul wrote them himself.

But political scientists say that how Paul handles the issue could determine whether the allegations impact his potential plans for a 2016 presidential bid.

Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, said that if the error was made by a staff member, he should simply say that and then say he is keeping the staff member on and using the incident "as a teaching moment."

"If Paul wrote the speech himself, it becomes a little bit trickier," Voss said.

If it was Paul's fault, Voss said he should take responsibility and apologize to the Wikipedia writers and hope the incident blows over.

Jonathan Bailey, a plagiarism and copyright consultant in New Orleans, said that Paul is essentially accused of stealing others' ideas. After watching the recording of Paul's Liberty University speech, he said it's "pretty convincing" that the words originated with Wikipedia.

But he also said that it's unclear if Paul is really responsible. "Was it Rand Paul himself or was it a speechwriter who wrote it?" Bailey asked.

In all, Maddow accused Paul of quoting almost word-for-word four passages in the Wikipedia entry explaining "Gattaca."

Paul said: "In the movie 'Gattaca,' in the 'not too distant future,' eugenics is common and DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class."

The Wikipedia entry said, "In 'the not-too-distant future,' liberal eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class."

Paul said, "Due to frequent screenings, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way to achieve his dream of being an astronaut, is he has to become what's called a 'borrowed ladder.'"

Wikipedia's passage reads: "Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut is to become a 'borrowed ladder.'"

Paul said: "He assumes the identity of a Jerome Morrow, a world class swimming star with a genetic profile said to be 'secondary to none,' but he's been paralyzed in a car accident."

Wikipedia says: "He assumes the identity of Jerome Eugene Morrow, a former swimming star with a genetic profile 'second to none,' who had been injured in a car accident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down."

Paul said: "Jerome buys his identity, uses his DNA his blood, his hair, his tissue, his urine to pass the screenings."

Wikipedia says: "Vincent 'buys' Jerome's identity and uses his 'valid' DNA in blood, hair, tissue, and urine samples to pass screening."

The June speech in which Paul talked about "Stand and Deliver" also differed from Wikipedia in minor ways.

But Bailey said that it doesn't matter if small changes were made it's still plagiarism.

Dewey Clayton, a professor at the University of Louisville, said he was "kind of taken aback" when he heard what Paul had done, but he said that it doesn't necessarily rule him out as a presidential candidate.

"When you do something like this, it damages (your) credibility," Clayton said. He said such errors have the potential of harming public officials "because they hold themselves out to be trustworthy ... and it just tends to go against those values and virtues."

But Clayton said he was more concerned about "demagoguery" he saw in the speech than plagiarism.

It's not the first time a politician has been accused of plagiarism. In 1987, then-Sen. Joe Biden's presidential campaign began to derail when he used part of a speech by Neil Kinnock, a member of Britain's Parliament, without giving proper credit.

And in 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton accused then-Sen. Barack Obama of plagiarism when he used a line in a speech from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick without attribution.

In both cases, Biden and Obama had properly credited Kinnock and Patrick on other occasions but ran into trouble on the one occasion they didn't. The controversy obviously didn't harm Obama, who went on to defeat Clinton in the primary and win the general election.

In the end, Voss said, it's "ridiculous" to put too much importance on whether any politician used someone else's words. "It's a silly mistake but in no way affects the political process.

Voss added: "Politics is rife with plagiarism; we don't even call it that. They hire speechwriters, they recite talking points, they go into debates using material worked out by a preparatory committee. There is absolutely no presumption that a politician's words are original."
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/p...tions/3312513/

I'm not sure if this really matters in the grand scheme of things (though it seems worse than the plagiarism situation that knocked Joe Biden out of the race in 1988). But given the confluence of wikipedia and a libertarian standard bearer, I have to ask: has anybody seen Rand Paul and grundle in the same place at the same time?
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Old 10-30-13, 11:32 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Seems like "much ado about nothing", to quote Joe Biden.
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Old 10-30-13, 11:54 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

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Old 10-30-13, 04:19 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/p...tions/3312513/

I'm not sure if this really matters in the grand scheme of things (though it seems worse than the plagiarism situation that knocked Joe Biden out of the race in 1988). But given the confluence of wikipedia and a libertarian standard bearer, I have to ask: has anybody seen Rand Paul and grundle in the same place at the same time?
I would love to see the rational that makes this worse than Biden.
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Old 10-30-13, 04:51 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by wmansir View Post
I would love to see the rational that makes this worse than Biden.
From the article:
In 1987, then-Sen. Joe Biden's presidential campaign began to derail when he used part of a speech by Neil Kinnock, a member of Britain's Parliament, without giving proper credit.

...

Biden ... had properly credited Kinnock ... on other occasions but ran into trouble on the one occasion [he] didn't.
The article details a similar event with Obama in the Biden role and Deval Patrick in the Neil Kinnock role.

Why do I think Sen. Paul is worse? Biden repeatedly said something and attributed it to Kinnock, but once forgot to do so. To me, that shows an intent to credit Kinnock coupled with sloppiness. Paul, on the other hand, never demonstrated any attempt to let people know he was borrowing his words from wikipedia. That is more consistent with an intent to deceive.

Edit: Poking around a little more, I came across this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ite_stuff.html

Which paints a less flattering picture of Mr. Biden. Based on the Slate story, I withdraw the comment that Mr. Paul's plagiarism is worse than Mr. Biden's.
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Old 10-30-13, 05:09 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Look... if we start cracking down on people who "borrow" from Wikipedia it'll cripple our University System. Think of all those papers that will now take longer to write! Or how about professors grading papers? It goes so much quicker when everyone says the same thing.
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Old 10-30-13, 06:29 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

I think I'm more concerned that he thinks Gattaca is real than the allegation that he might have plagiarized a few lines from wikipedia.

Last edited by Josh-da-man; 10-31-13 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 10-30-13, 06:49 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I think I'm more concerned that he thinks Gattaca is real than allegation that he might have plagiarized a few lines from wikipedia.
Is that really any worse than him thinking Atlas Shrugged is real?
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Old 10-30-13, 07:31 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
From the article:


The article details a similar event with Obama in the Biden role and Deval Patrick in the Neil Kinnock role.

Why do I think Sen. Paul is worse? Biden repeatedly said something and attributed it to Kinnock, but once forgot to do so. To me, that shows an intent to credit Kinnock coupled with sloppiness. Paul, on the other hand, never demonstrated any attempt to let people know he was borrowing his words from wikipedia. That is more consistent with an intent to deceive.

Edit: Poking around a little more, I came across this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ite_stuff.html

Which paints a less flattering picture of Mr. Biden. Based on the Slate story, I withdraw the comment that Mr. Paul's plagiarism is worse than Mr. Biden's.
Well, back in 1987 marijuana would pretty much disqualify you. It was used against Dan Quayle, if you recall. Things change, though. While it was a big deal then, Clinton came along and admitted "use" (didn't inhale) and it was no longer the issue it had been (I'm not saying Clinton made it okay, only that things changed). Similarly, you get to allegations of cocaine use for GB, and then later get Obama writing about it in his book. Things change.

And even if they didn't, this still seems laughable to even make it into the news. But when you have so many "news people" this is what it comes down to, I suppose.
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Old 10-30-13, 07:38 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

The answer here seems clear: We need to edit Wikipedia articles for Rand's favorite films so he ends up saying things that will get him voted out of office.
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Old 10-31-13, 12:04 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Gattaca?
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Old 10-31-13, 01:08 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Well, back in 1987 marijuana would pretty much disqualify you. It was used against Dan Quayle, if you recall. Things change, though. While it was a big deal then, Clinton came along and admitted "use" (didn't inhale) and it was no longer the issue it had been (I'm not saying Clinton made it okay, only that things changed). Similarly, you get to allegations of cocaine use for GB, and then later get Obama writing about it in his book. Things change.
Admitting to drug usage would still disqualify a Republican candidate for national office. Democrat voters don't care, it's probably a positive these days for their candidates to admit minor drug usage.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:18 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

I don't think that is true. It is only a big deal if the media makes it a big deal. Stuff like that in the primary can be a killer, but once at the general election, it is only as big a deal as the media makes it.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:58 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

This is as silly as most grundle threads. Does anyone even write their own speeches anymore?
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Old 10-31-13, 05:52 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by DeputyDave View Post
This is as silly as most grundle threads. Does anyone even write their own speeches anymore?
Yeah, that was my first thought as well. The vast majority of speeches by public figures are them using another's uncredited words to express ideas they want to be perceived as holding. Hell, in my job, I've written speeches and statements for execs that were more my opinions than theirs. If someone's not speaking off the cuff, you may as well assume they're not using their own words. I also find plagiarizing a movie summary much less troublesome than if someone was claiming to have come up with an original thought or opinion and it was someone else's.

Also, I doubt it happened here, but if this story actually gets any traction, I'm guessing there will be a lot of future speeches where minutes after they're given, you'll be able to find the same or similar text in wikipedia entries.
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Old 10-31-13, 06:41 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Theres a difference between someone using a ghost writer and someone plagiarizing.
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Old 10-31-13, 07:20 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

R plagiarism is OK!!! Duh.
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Old 10-31-13, 09:35 AM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Theres a difference between someone using a ghost writer and someone plagiarizing.
Yes there is.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:23 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

So Rand has a lot of Libertarian beliefs. Libertarians are do not think highly of patents or copyrights. He must obviously be getting under the skin of someone for this to even be a story. Slow news day?
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Old 10-31-13, 01:30 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Wasn't a forma or maybe even a current vice president guilty of plagiarism?
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Old 10-31-13, 01:32 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Precisely why this potential candidate should also speak to his plagiarism.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:36 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Do you make a habit out of voting for people (especially for high office) who have been guilty of plagiarism?
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Old 10-31-13, 01:38 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Biden was put into purgatory for 20 years before he ran again.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:46 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
Biden was put into purgatory for 20 years before he ran again.
That's a piss-poor excuse.
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Old 10-31-13, 01:54 PM
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Re: Rand Paul plagiarism allegations

Youthful indiscretions.
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