Reality TV star-turned-president elect Donald Trump has chosen someone for his National Security Council with a long track record of plagiarism.
On Saturday, CNN Money published the results of an investigation that found Monica Crowley conclusively ripped off fellow conservative pundits, websites, and news sources to cobble together her 2012 book What the (Bleep) Just Happened.
Yesterday, Politico Magazine reported that Crowley also "lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution" in her PhD dissertation at Columbia University. As with the CNN story, the evidence is overwhelming.
Parts of Crowley's dissertation appear to violate Columbia's definition of "Unintentional Plagiarism" for "failure to ‘quote' or block quote author's exact words, even if documented" or "failure to paraphrase in your own words, even if documented." In other cases, her writing appears to violate types I and II of Columbia's definition of "Intentional Plagiarism," which are, respectively, "direct copy and paste" and "small modification by word switch," "without quotation or reference to the source."
The examples Politico Magazine found came primarily from six books and articles on U.S. foreign policy, particularly from Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis' 1982 book Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War and Princeton World Politics professor Thomas Christensen's 1996 book Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958. Both Gaddis and Christensen declined to comment.
Crowley, who began her career as Richard Nixon's researcher, was first spotted plagiarizing other writers in 1999. That's when an alert New York Times reader noticed that passages from her Wall Street Journal article about Nixon were nearly identical to an 11-year old article in the neoconservative magazine Commentary.
Real consequences are unlikely. Columbia could retract her PhD, but Crowley's appointment to the NSC does not legally require Senate approval, much less a formal education.
"To the world, she'll be a disgraceful fraud and an feckless cheat," media producer Chez Pazienza writes. "To Trump, she'll still be an employee."
Imagine the kind of atmosphere where regardless of what a person does, the kind of incompetent or nefarious actions he or she takes, there will never be accountability or consequences. After a while, critics, fair-minded journalists, and fact-checkers will simply stop trying because, well, what's the use? Trump has hit on a political miracle that renders him bullet-proof: have no shame whatsoever and deny anyone you consider an adversary power over you.
Thanks to her complete lack of shame, after January 2oth the Fox News conspiracy theorist will be working with fellow right wing fantasists Mike Flynn and KT McFarland to make sure that no upsetting truths reach the new president's ear. No doubt she'll find plenty of happy, rosy material to rip off, without attribution, for her intelligence products.
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