Tuesday, August 02, 2005
EXCUSE NOT BELIEVED
Media Watch on Monday night accused Sydney Sun-Herald columnist Phil Gould of cut and paste plagiarism, claiming he’d lifted sections of his July 24 piece from an email reproduced at the website Greasy Spoon. And, sure enough, much of Gould’s column was shown to be identical to the Spoon email. “All these sentimental memories were lifted from the web and plonked into Phil’s column,” concluded host Liz Jackson. “The Sun Herald tells us it was a subbing error. Remember when we used to believe excuses like that?”
Media Watch doesn’t present a direct link to Gould’s item, however. Which is interesting, because the column includes a line citing Gould’s source:
“It reminded me of an email I received years ago, which I’ll share part of with you here”.
This led viewer Kylie to complain at the Media Watch website:
Your criticism of Phil Gould was totally unjustified.
Not so, fired back site moderator Peter McEvoy:
That sentence was added to later editions of the paper. The article originally appeared as we stated without any acknowledgement of the email.
So the fix was made (in print editions of the paper, as well as online) within hours of that first edition being published; before, presumably, Media Watch had alerted staffers to the apparent “plagiarism”. This seems to be a standard response to a sub-editing error.
It shouldn’t be difficult for the Sun-Herald to prove Gould’s innocence (if innocent he is); a pre-subbed version of his column probably remains somewhere in the paper’s files. Meanwhile ... why did Media Watch conceal from viewers that subsequent versions of the Gould column ran an attribution?
Whatever. Next week’s episode should be fun, what with the inevitable attack on race-assuming David Marr.