Politico is reporting that the conservative newspaper the Washington Times is suspending Rand Paul's columns on account of his evident plagiarizing. I find the responses from Sen. Paul's staff troubling - he is so busy, he has so many demands on his time. The idea that he cannot handle his current job's demands does not exactly recommend him for a promotion. But, there is also a bit of a sham going on here: Very few politicians write their own speeches or op-eds. When a newspaper publishes an op-ed from a Senator or Representative, they know that it was not written by that member of Congress but by a staff person. It is one thing to have staff check your work, another for you to check their's. I think newspapers should only publish a piece by a politician if they know that he or she wrote it themselves. Otherwise, while Sen. Paul's form of plagiarism is especially egregious, it is a difference in degree, not in kind from what most newspapers routinely publish.
November 6, 2013