Friday, February 29, 2008

Wow: Goeglein resigns; various lessons learned

White House official resigns after plagiarism - The White House- "A White House official who served as President Bush's middleman with conservatives and Christian groups resigned Friday after admitting to plagiarism. Twenty columns he wrote for an Indiana newspaper were determined to have material copied from other sources without attribution."

"The White House sought to deal with the embarrassing situation quickly, the same day the plagiarism was reported by a blogger, Nancy Nall, a former News-Sentinel columnist."

What a fascinating and chilling lesson in journalism -- and life -- to watch this story develop today: A blogger has a cranky, casual obsession with a columnist's bad writing; an unusual name in his latest piece leads her to Google it; a sharp eye spots similarities in rhetoric between the column and a previously published article. Some research, a phone call, a carefully written accusation, hit the "post" button -- and the truth was set free to do its work.

I can't help but wonder, if one is careless about attribution in one's writing -- is careless about the truth in that regard -- does that reflect similar carelessness in other aspects of one's life? Isn't character "what we do when no one's looking"? We get by with less than the truth when no one cares enough to look--in writing, and in our larger lives.

Then someone cares, and looks, and truth is outed in a method both viral and vitriolic.

There's probably more "truth" to be known about this writer's life, yet we may never know it -- not as a wife, a child, a parent may. And have to live with.

The internet was never more deliberately, nor more effectively, used to make fun of someone. For some reason, I feel a little bad. A little.


  1. Wow! The VERY local coverage here is quite extensive! ;)