Why plagiarists do it.

Media criticism.
April 26 2006 6:57 PM

Why Plagiarists Do It

Because they can.

(Continued from Page 1)

Even If You Get Caught, You'll Probably Get Away With It: Trudy Lieberman reported in the July/August 1995 Columbia Journalism Reviewthat many journalists caught plagiarizing paid little or no price for their transgressions. Lieberman describes a "circle-the-wagons" mentality in the news business when plagiarism breaks out. Providing a number of examples, she also notes the double standard of journalists who gave Sen. Joseph Biden holy grief when he committed plagiarism in a presidential campaign speech but cut their colleagues slack.

How severely will the book industry punish Kaavya Viswanathan? I predict that she'll weather the storm with all the grace and denial of Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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Thanks to Rachel Shteir and others who let me pick their brains and promised not to accuse me of plagiarism. Send your plagiarism tips to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.