Sunday, May 17, 2009

From our readers...

Dr. Bourrie:

You are of course under no obligation to reply, but I would appreciate any insights into why the examples below are acceptable and the examples in the links at the end are not.

Margaret Wente's article, "The bad-paper trail: Where are the toxic assets?", (Sat. May 2) contains material almost identical to that found on the website of the Cato Institute.

Cato Institute: For his efforts, the Peruvian Marxist terror group Shining Path targeted him for assassination. The institute's offices were bombed. His car was machine-gunned. Today the Shining Path is moribund, but de Soto remains very much alive and a passionate advocate…

Wente: For his challenge to the status quo, the Shining Path, the Peruvian Marxist terrorist group, targeted him for assassination. His offices were bombed and his car was machine-gunned. Today, the Shining Path is moribund, and Mr. de Soto continues his passionate mission.

Cato Institute: Delivering formal property rights to the poor can bring them out of the sway of demagogues and into the extended order of the modern global economy.

Wente: Mr. de Soto argues that delivering formal property rights to poor people can bring them out of the sway of demagogues and into the modern global economy, and he has helped to carry out reform programs in 20 countries.

LA Times: Economist Hernando de Soto… has helped carry out property-reform programs for heads of state in about 20 countries.

http://www.cato.org/special/friedman/desoto/index.html
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-desoto12-2009apr12,0,5255687.story
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FLAC.20090502.SOTO02ART1405%2F%2FTPStory%2FFocus&ord=56080885&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true

There are similar issues in Wente's article, "Not every girl can be a winner", also May 2, 2009.

In addition to an observation apparently taken from another publication, Wente offers up a few quotes, without identifying where she obtained them. NYU’s journalism school describes why an example of an un-attributed quote is plagiarism: ‘because the way it is written, it appears the writer interviewed (the subject) and got that original quote, when it originated in (another publication)’. In other words: “Attribute any time you are using someone else’s words. Attribute when you are reporting information gathered by other journalists”. http://journalism.nyu.edu/ethics/handbook/cardinal-sins/

Two of Wente’s quotes, and a summary of research from one side of the debate, appeared in a 2004 article by Frank Stephenson in Research in Review, and a shortened version, called “The Rise and Fall of Self-Esteem”, appeared in Muse, a small independent magazine. It was republished on the website of the Bay Ledger News Zone recently.

Frank Stephenson: "Or so says Martin Seligman, an outspoken critic of the self-esteem movement. Seligman considers self-esteem exercises a menace to society... 'What I think has gone wrong,' Seligman says, 'is that we now think we should inject self-esteem directly into our young people, as opposed to producing warranted self-esteem, which I believe comes from doing well with the people you love, doing well in sports, [and] doing well in school.'"

Wente: “Among the biggest critics of the self-esteem movement is cognitive psychologist Martin Seligman. ‘We now think we should inject self-esteem directly into our young people, as opposed to producing warranted self-esteem, which I believe comes from doing well with the people you love, doing well in sports, doing well in school,’ he said. In his view, self-esteem exercises are a menace to society”.

Seligman is not mentioned as one of the critics of self-esteem in the wikipedia entry listing its various adherents and opponents. But in addition to the un-attributed quote itself, the words Wente uses to describe Seligman’s views - “self esteem exercises are a menace to society”, seem to be those of Stephenson, whose article also summarizes the work of a number of other people, notably Roy Baumeister.

Frank Stephenson: "As a graduate student Baumeister had accepted claims for the benefits of self-esteem uncritically... Baumeister set out to answer the...question, ultimately publishing several even-handed appraisals of self-esteem...'People who have elevated or inflated views of themselves tend to alienate others,' the report states."

Wente: "'People who have elevated or inflated views of themselves tend to alienate others,' wrote social psychologist Roy Baumeister, who used to believe in the importance of instilling self-esteem, until he reviewed all the research".

This quote is found deep in a report authored by Baumeister. Jennifer Campbell, Joachim Krueger, and Kathleen Vohs, but is highlighted in the 2004 and 2005 articles by Stephenson. Wente attributes it to Baumeister alone, without noting the report’s other three authors, and without citing either version of the article by Stephenson (in which the identical Seligman quote also appears).

Wente’s central claim is that the Guides’ decision to introduce badges related to healthy body image is a bad idea, and that this is supported by the research. She omits, however, the most relevant findings noted in Stephenson's article (and the research) which directly contradict her claim, and which specifically note the importance of self-esteem in body image and anorexia.

Frank Stephenson: "But low self-esteem does play a substantial role in eating disorders, a big problem, particularly for young women. Today's teen and college-aged women face a national epidemic of anorexia and bulimia, two closely associated emotional disorders that can be fatal if not treated. A great deal of evidence indicates that feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing-low self-esteem-are in fact risk factors in disordered eating, Baumeister's report noted. Work by Kathleen Vohs, one of the report's authors, for example, found that bulimia is strongly associated with low self-esteem".

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090502.COWENT02ART2013//TPStory/National
http://www.rinr.fsu.edu/summer2004/summer2004.pdf
http://www.blnz.com/news/2008/04/23/Rise_Fall_Self-Esteem_0552.html

Wente on the scourge of plagiarism:

August 30, 2008:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20080829.wcowent30%2FBNStory%2FspecialComment%2F&ord=24392815&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true

When I was a kid, everybody knew the rules and the penalties for breaking them. When the teacher walked into class, you stood up. If you arrived late, you got a late slip. If you were late a few times, you got a detention. If you handed in an assignment late without a good excuse, you were marked down, and if you were caught plagiarizing, you got a zero. The teachers were expected to be fair but strict.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080115.wcowent15/BNStory/Front/MARGARET+WENTE

January 15, 2008:

Wente: “Sadly, high expectations are deeply out of fashion in Ontario. Students are no longer penalized for such lapses as plagiarism or skipping tests”.

A few examples:

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2007/11/09/missourian-forced-re-affirm-its-standards-hard-way/

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/story/2008/06/04/bc-sports-columnist-fired.html

http://www.regrettheerror.com/newspapers/another-canuck-scribe-in-trouble-for-plagiarism

Regards,

XXXXX XXXX

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Cato Institute is also guilty of a little quoting-without-attribution. The page cited on the Cato website is a biography of Hernando de Soto, some of which comes verbatim from a Fox News story from 2004, which is reproduced elsewhere on the Cato website (http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2612).

For instance, the Fox story says: "In 1979, after a successful career in business in Europe, a 38-year-old Hernando de Soto returned to a Peru plagued by poverty and Shining Path terrorism. Having made enough money to retire, he could now devote himself full-time to solving the riddle of development: What is it that makes the "North" rich, and the "South" poor? De Soto knew that Peruvians did not lack for entrepreneurial energy. The bustling underground economy of Lima was a testament to that. Nor did they lack property, per se. From countryside to urban shantytown, ownership was governed by a system of informally evolved and acknowledged property rights."

The Cato biography says: "In 1979, after a successful career in business in Europe, a 38-year-old Hernando de Soto returned to a Peru plagued by poverty and years of military rule. Having made enough money to retire, he decided to devote his life full-time to solving the riddle of development: Why are some countries rich and others poor? De Soto knew that Peruvians did not lack entrepreneurial energy. The bustling informal economy of Lima was testament to that. Nor did they lack assets, per se. From countryside to urban shantytown, ownership was governed by a system of informally evolved and acknowledged property rights."

The Fox story is attributed to Gene Healy, "senior editor at the Cato Institute, which awarded this year's Milton Friedman Prize to Hernando de Soto." So maybe the Cato Institute is plagarizing itself.

The original Fox news story is at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,117126,00.html.

Ottawa Watch said...

It gets awfully complicated. These lines are sometimes so blurred, and many of these "institutes" want reporters and columnists to use their material.

bigcitylib said...

Yes, the person that provided this information to you has provided similar to me. I've done posts on it occasionally (including one on some pretty awful behavior by D. Warren), but am not always sure if the actions discussed reach the level of plagiarism.

Also, I think their material provides a good argument why HRCs should be allowed to take on newspapers. If Press Councils are too weak-kneed to do their job (which they appear to be), let the Tribunals/Commissions kneecap a few journalists and see if the rest smarten up.

Ottawa Watch said...

I'm not sure it's plagiarism per se, or that it's anything really serious. Wente is a great columnist. I'd like to see a pro and con discussion on this.

Anonymous said...

Probably coincidence…

March 31, 2009, Margaret Wente: "Hey there, folks! My name is Barry O., and I'm not gonna mess around. Your GM franchise is under new management. Let me say it as plainly as I can: If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you'll be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it'll be safer than it's ever been. Because starting today, the U.S. government will stand behind it. So come on down! The deals are unbelievable… He did everything but throw in a set of floor mats and a free oil change...

… the car salesman-in-chief…"

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090331.COWENT31/TPStory/TPComment/?query=

March 30, 2009, Dana Millbank, Washington Post: "Has Barack Obama got a deal for you!
'If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always,' the president announced from the Grand Foyer of the White House this morning.
And that's not all! 'Your warranty will be safe," the salesman-in-chief went on. "In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been, because, starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.'
… If you act today, he may even throw in the floor mats…'Zero money down!' proposed one. 'Will he throw in a few oil changes?'"

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/roughsketch/2009/03/obamas_unbelievable_offer.html

Ottawa Watch said...

It could be. Certainly, a lot of commentators had the same idea when Obama announced the warranty take-over. If you compare dozens of columns on this theme, you're bound to come across some pretty similar car shill wordings.