Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Clueless: The Church of Plagiarism: the Dopey Cow Can't Even Come Up With An Original Thought.
By PHILIP RECCHIA
July 2, 2006 -- Conservative scribe Ann Coulter cribbed liberally in her latest book, "Godless," according to a plagiarism expert.
John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.
He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.
Barrie, CEO of iParadigms, told The Post that one 25-word passage from the "Godless" chapter titled "The Holiest Sacrament: Abortion" appears to have been lifted nearly word for word from Planned Parenthood literature published at least 18 months before Coulter's 281-page book was released.
A separate, 24-word string from the chapter "The Creation Myth" appeared about a year earlier in the San Francisco Chronicle with just one word change - "stacked" was changed to "piled."
Another 33-word passage that appears five pages into "Godless" allegedly comes from a 1999 article in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.
Meanwhile, many of the 344 citations Coulter includes in "Godless" "are very misleading," said Barrie, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in pattern recognition.
"They're used purely to try and give the book a higher level of credibility - as if it's an academic work. But her sloppiness in failing to properly attribute many other passages strips it of nearly all its academic merits," he told The Post.
Barrie says he also ran Coulter's Universal Press columns from the past 12 months through iThenticate and found similar patterns of cribbing.
Her Aug. 3, 2005, column, "Read My Lips: No New Liberals," about U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, includes six passages, ranging from 10 to 48 words each, that appeared 15 years earlier in the same order in an L.A. Times article, headlined "Liberals Leery as New Clues Surface on Souter's Views."
But nowhere in that column does she mention the L.A. Times or the story's writer, David G. Savage.
Her June 29, 2005, column, "Thou Shalt Not Commit Religion," incorporates 10 facts on National Endowment for the Arts-funded work that originally appeared in the same order in a 1991 Heritage Foundation report, "The National Endowment for the Arts: Misusing Taxpayers' Money." But again, the Heritage Foundation isn't credited.
"Just as Coulter plays free and loose with her citations in 'Godless,' she obviously does the same in her columns," Barrie said.
Coulter did not respond to requests for comment.
Additional reporting by Susannah Cahalan