All the cases of plagiarism were astounding yet I think the two that really stuck out to me were the one about John Lehrer and the man who wrote for CNN. As a writer for a worldwide magazine and news source, both had a wider platform than someone putting out a book, unless of course, they have a previous fan base.

It is incredible to me that one did not think Lehrer would get caught making up sources in such a highly edited and selective magazine that so many people view around the world. It also is a little bit offensive to other authors because it makes readers question other articles in the magazines and their validity. Because he was so careless, he is taking away from others who may have spent many hours researching, simply because he did not want to quote actual references.

It is also amazing to me that someone who has worked that hard to get a job writing for the New Yorker simply threw it away, and so quickly for that matter.

On the question about having to reference oneself in an article, I think it is important because in a way, you are advertising for yourself. If someone is reading your article and they like it, upon seeing that you have written other things, they are more likely to go view them as apposed to researching who said what and then having to go find it.

Though all the articles are bad, I think the one about Chris Anderson is harder to address. Because he was writing a book that still has not been officially published, it is really his word against Waldo Quiths. He also has his publishers backing him so that helps him seem more credible. Even if he isn’t, the situation for him looks a lot better than that of John Lehrer.


One thought on “Plagiarism

  1. Hi Alex,

    It seems like you’re saying that Jonah Lehrer’s plagiarism was worse because his audience was bigger, that if fewer people read him, it’d be less bad somehow.

    I think I might actually agree with that, but I’d be interesting to think through why. If this were strictly a moral issue, then the number of readers wouldn’t matter–wrong is wrong, etc etc.

    So if the number of readers *does* matter…what else besides morality are we considering when trying to decide which is worse?

    Keep this in mind in our discussion today.


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