According to Dictionary.com, plagiarism is:
1. an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author: It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau’s plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne. Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.
2. a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation: “These two manuscripts are clearly plagiarisms,” the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor.
According to the Globe & Mail’s own investigation, Margaret Wente has copied material from other authors and not given them credit. In other words, she has plagiarized something.
In fact, the Globe & Mail’s Editor-in-Chief even published a memo to G&M staff concerning the allegations. Magaret Wente defended herself in a column that should have been a sincere mea culpa apology, but was more of a “waah.. the nasty blogger caught me for something I wrote three years ago” gripe. She complained that the blogger over at Media Culpa has filed a number of complaints over the years and that the editors at the G&M “have been quick to correct the record when warranted”.
The fact that the editors have even had to “correct the record” on multiple occasions should be raising a red flag for them. Honest mistakes happen from time to time, but when an editor has to repeatedly issue corrections for omissions of attribution for a columnist the honest nature of the mistakes has to be called into question. The credibility of Globe & Mail as a whole suffers as long as this type of behaviour is tolerated.
A tweet on Twitter caught my eye and prompted me to write this entry:
Margaret Wente needs to resign or be fired by the Globe.
— Andy Ferris (@andyferris) October 1, 2012
Unfortunately, the Globe & Mail needs to fire Margaret Wente in order to restore its credibility and send out a strong message that plagiarism isn’t tolerated at their newspaper.