Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Plagiarism or Just Irresponsible Journalism?

Yesterday this paragraph showed up in Maureen Dowd’s Sunday New York Times column:

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Fine, no big deal. Except, it showed up in a blog post by Joshua Marshall on Thursday (NYTimes.com has since been changed). the nytpicker has a good rundown of what happened, including a nice roundup where they say they believe Dowd when she says it wasn’t plagiarism (she is claiming it came from a friend), however, they wonder is it right “to take the expression of a friend’s idea — the words themselves — and place it into a piece of writing that appears under her byline, as though it were not only her idea, but also her singular expression of that idea”?

May 18, 2009