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Last updated on July 24th, 2017 at 08:24 am
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 columnwas 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.
Obviously it’s somebody else’s life.
As Woody Allen put it : And suddenly my whole life passed before my eyes. I saw myself as a kid again, in Kansas, going to school, swimming at the swimming hole, and fishing, frying up a mess-o-catfish, going down to the general store, getting a piece of gingham for Emmy-Lou. And I realise it’s not my life. They’re gonna hang me in two minutes, the wrong life is passing before my eyes.
So why dont they take more interest in serial plagiarist Philip Adams?Posted by niobium2000 on 2005 08 02 at 07:01 PM • permalink
If Gould did receive the email independantly from the Greasy Spoon site, then there was no plagiarism whatsoever. Gould was quoting a primary source, whether or not the paper added a later clarification.Posted by tortfeaser on 2005 08 02 at 07:45 PM • permalink
Gould’s excuse sounds very plausible. If an editor took out the attribution, not realizing what it was, then Gould is exonerated and Media Watch should say, “Never mind”.
The editor might also then apologize to Gould but if I know editors, that won’t happen.
It would be neat if grown ups ever got involved in the Mainstream Media.
Phil clearly failed to get straight to the heart of the issue: to understand the root causes of explosions. Instead he runs a decoy by telling us he doesn’t want his children to be blown up. But this is crafty obfuscation: in actual fact this reminiscing is exactly what brings about explosions; ice cream, lemonade, cricket… the list goes on. It’s simple cause and effect, and Phil is being deceitful in concealing this.
But fear not, Media Watch are onto him now. He’s a marked man.
Add that to MW still saying that Mark Steyn hasn’t responded to them about their concerns regarding his recent piece for the Australian. Mark Steyn has responded by offering to do a live interview, which they have declined. The fact that he hasn’t responded in a way that will not allow them to cut and paste and misrepresent him doesn’t mean that he has failed to respond.
they could lead with a well known blogger who stated Morris Iemma would be premier on Monday.
Never mind I suppose Wednesday sounds like Monday!Posted by Homer Paxton on 2005 08 02 at 08:47 PM • permalink
if anyone is fair dinkum here then they would agree on two things,
1) SMH and/or Gould should have said the e-mail should have been mentioned in earlier editions otherwise it does smell
2) MW should have stated that the e-mail was wrote about in later editions but no explanation given for earlier editionsPosted by Homer Paxton on 2005 08 02 at 09:18 PM • permalink
Phil Gould wouldn’t have survived his idyllic childhood in Queensland- he looks so much like a canetoad that someone would have run him over or whacked him with a five iron.
I have to disagree a smidgen with some commenters. Media Watch showed that a huge chunk of the text Gould used was word-for-word identical to the ‘when I was 7’ twaddle.
Merely mentioning where material came from doesn’t mean you can then quote the whole thing as if you’re simply relating the substance of your source.
You must substantially re-write it or paraphrase it in such a way as makes clear to the reader what material is yours and what is from the source. The alternative, if that’s too much work, is a giant blockquote.
Using a source verbatim without the clarifying strategy I mentioned – and in lieu of blockquoting – is still plagiarism.
Bolt’s response to Media Jihad is brilliant:Posted by Art Vandelay on 2005 08 03 at 12:19 AM • permalink
Media Watch has chosen to play a political game rather than an intellectual one. Fine. But when a clapped out hack like Peter McEvoy takes my money to do it he should have the decency to come up with something better than this. Does working at the ABC mean people deposit half their brain at the door or something?
And btw, Liz Jackson should stop trying to be Stuart Littlemore. Littlemore could actually deliver one liners with a sneer backed by an IQ higher than his shoe size. Little Liz by contrast comes off as a 15-year-old up-herself private schoolgirl out to save her inferiors. Oh, hang on…
On a related subject, something which has been bugging me for a few days:
Just after the Shuttle launch the ‘News Hour with Jim Lehrer’ had a segment discussing the pros and cons of the Shuttle program. In the w/e Australian following that programme, Robert Lusetich wrote an article which was basically an unattributed cut, shuffle, and paste of that programme. The only real difference was that whereas the NHJL was a balanced discussion, RL rewrote it as a sneering attack on the worth of the Shuttle.
A couple of things:
1. What’s the point of a Los Angeles correspondent whose research could eqaully well have been done from a sofa in Brisbane?
2. Is this the sort of thing that MW should have a problem with?
(Sorry, no links. I can’t afford the subscription to the archives.)
Steve if you an supply us with dates, I’m sure Nick and I, as well as some of the other commentators here will be able to get some links or at least transcipts.
As to your questions:
1. Two words – Jayson Blair
—NoraPosted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 02:26 AM • permalink
Hi Steve is this the Australian article?.
I’m about to search for the News Hour with Jim Lehrer piece unless someone has beaten me to it.
—NoraPosted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 02:46 AM • permalink
I think I’ve found it here.
And I found some lazy lifting of quotes from the NBC web sitehere.
Don’t forget the journalist’s maxim: ‘Steal from one source is plagarism, stealing from many is research.’*
*Phrase used without attribution, no small animals were harmed.Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 03:06 AM • permalink
You can read a comparison of some the passages here.Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 04:01 AM • permalink
- Couldn’t Media Watch be relegated to an internal ABC audience only – since that’s about all it really appeals to. We should stop commenting about it – it only makes them feel they are doing something worthy if it gets noticed. You can just hear them going back for more funding:
“Yes, we really proved our worth by generating discussion as evidenced by all these posts on the blogs – we are holding out against the incursions of the non-professional media … er, that is to say, by getting all these comments from the… oh shit!”
#27 Hi Steve, as Nicky points out on our site even though it’s not a wholesale lift, there should be recognition of attribution.
What makes the issue important for MSM is the matter of copyright and what it means for the value of syndication.
We advise our clients who are undertaking a PR campaign to remember that everything sent to any media outlet instantly becomes their property (unless negotiated otherwise).
With that much influence it becomes important to hold journalists to account.
From personal experience (now former) colleagues of mine who have appeared on Media Watch have not been shamed but indeed seen it as a badge of honour.
—NoraPosted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 07:15 AM • permalink
In the interests of fairness – haa, haa, haa – to Media Watch they have corrected the Phil Gould piece.
—NoraPosted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 11:55 PM • permalink
Media Watch negative stories targeted the following organisations by percentage:
This was a quick skim, if you based this on words or time I am pretty sure News would top a third of all critical stories coming out of MW. No wonder Lachlan resigned, he can’t stand the incompetents his dad hired! What they actually sell lots of papers? Oh, now I get it, we are the fools!Posted by platey mates on 2005 08 06 at 09:47 AM • permalink
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Goodness, Media Watch more and more sounds like the TV version of a poorly-run student newspaper, with all the attendant inanities of giving responsibility to pretentious morons. Maybe they should rename it Lizzie and Peter’s Navel-Gazing Quarter Hour Show.