Irvine’s Concordia University has parted ways with conservative councilmember Derek Reeve, a part-time instructor at the University, after Patch.com reported Reeve’s blog posts featured whole passages lifted from other publications. SJC Patch has the full story here.
Reeve, who’s been in a bit of hot water for advocating that San Juan Capsitrano residents be able to carry unloaded handguns in city parks and for naming his dog Muhammad citing free speech even though its considered offensive to Muslim’s to name a dog after their prophet, lamely defended his work explaining that blogs didn’t require rigorous attribution in a guest piece he offered to the OC Register that ran last week.
From Reeve’s piece: “For the past month, Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilman Larry Kramer have launched a smear campaign against me. These two asserted my dog Muhammad was offensive to them because it is offensive to the ideology of Islam. Allevato and Kramer sided with CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) – an organization condemned by even ultra-liberal Sen. Boxer – in trying to censure me and stifle my constitutionally protected right to free speech.
Now they are at it again, piling on in the most recent attack stemming from the charge of plagiarism by a “journalist” from The Huffington Post which operates as Patch. (Editor’s note: Patch and The Huffington Post are two online entities owned by AOL.) I was invited to blog on the Patch and carelessly submitted previously published material. This involved one informal published blog that Patch made into three without my consent. This was a blog worthy of Facebook, not a formal article, yet now the editor has the chutzpa to compare this to a student’s thesis, which is like comparing apples to gorillas.
Reeve continues in summation: “The real issue is the ongoing battle for political control in San Juan between free-spending liberal-minded people like our current council majority, and fiscal conservatives who want to put a stop to the social engineering, wild spending and cronyism that has contributed to our tremendous debt.
I never tire of any conservative who cannot simply identify Senator Barbara Boxer as a liberal; she’s always a “ultra-liberal.” Jon Fleischman of Flash Report does the same thing. Boys, are you both uber-convservatives? Actually, the real issue is the councilman’s consistant and persistent boorishness. The real issue is Councilman Reeve is acting like a buffoon. The real issue is Concordia can’t say why you’re no longer teaching at their University, but those in academia aren’t buying your explaination that blogging ia relaxed form of communication when you life entire passages without attribution. The key word here is attribution.
From Frank Micakdeit’s column on the matter: “First, Patch said it identified “dozens” of passages that Reeve lifted. One long piece he submitted was indeed broken into three separate pieces, but so what? Patch said it had another unpublished piece Reeve submitted that contained similar copying problems. Furthermore, Reeve didn’t just lift from a single writer but rather from at least four, including Fox’s John Stossel. That seems to go beyond a careless mistake in one piece.
As for the “relaxed and informal” nature of blogging and comparing what he was doing for Patch to a Facebook post? Take a look at Patch. Does it seem like social media? Or is it more like a news-gathering organization? Reeve’s writings read like they were intended to be legitimate op-ed pieces, regardless of the platform. Finally, if it was all so innocent, why did it take a week to come up with an explanation?”
From the Patch.com story: “Experts and authors disagreed, saying no matter what the format or venue is, the same rules apply: verbatim copying of another person’s work needs to be in quotes, and attributed.
It isn’t unheard of for colleges to punish professors who plagiarize. In 2004, for example, the University of New Hampshire penalized a professor for “scholarly misconduct” over a column published in Manchester’s The Union Leader.
Blogging does mix actual reporting of facts with opinion. And opinion usually has supporting information behind it. Councilman Reeve also weakly equated the copy written for other council members by staff as unattributed writing and that’s a joke in itself. Copywriters who ghost write materials on behalf of others work hand in hand with their sources and its a collaborative process. Sarah Palin didn’t write a word of her autobiography but she worked closely with the ghostwriter who did. Bill O’Reilly shares a byline with a New York Times writer in his new book on the Lincoln Assanation; O’Reilly is the bigger name to help sell the book. By Reeve’s own standard, many Republican and Right Wing media are also guilty of the same thing he accuses his fellow council members of.