Press Think: How About A Bit of Inside Journalism Baseball?

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Michael Olesker of the Baltimore Sun Is A Plagiarist? Who Isn’t?

At H.L. Mencken’s hometown newpaper, a liberal columnist named Michael Olesker was forced to resign recently over an alleged plagiarism flap for a few background paragraphs containing similarities to earlier reporting, – while he was in the middle of a legal fight with Maryland’s governor who refused to talk to him or anyone else at the paper.

David Simon, a Sun reporter from 1982 to 1995, author of Homicide and The Corner and the executive producer of HBO’s The Wire, responds in a column in the Baltimore City Paper making a reasoned case why the growing number of plagiarism cases against reporters is out of control and silly.

Is every journalist a plagiarist under today’s ethics rules?

We suspect it has more to do with the political war and the bottom line than plagiarism, especially since the courts could care less if book authors copy from journalists for their work all the time. All the more reason to blog, baby, blog . . . no editor or publisher or governor can tell us to shut up, although just wait until Judge Roy Moore tries to ignore our questions in the governor’s race.

He kicked me out of one press conference because I was not on the official invitee list. I could have made news myself that day, but headed for the beach, the golf course and then New Orleans instead. Next time, I will make news.

© 2006, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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