Dave Kopel’s take on media and McInnis’ plagiarism

I asked former Rocky media critic Dave Kopel what he thought of the McInnis situation, in light of the plagiarism and media frenzy around Ward Churchill:

If McInnis were currently employed by a university, the standard course of action would be for an investigation. Sometimes, as in the Churchill case, scrutiny of a person’s published work reveals not only numerous instances of plagiarism spanning many years, but also many other instances of outright fraud. Compounding the problem in Churchill’s case was his total lack of repentance, and his absurd claims of innocence despite plain and overwhelming evidence.

In the case of the hypothetical Professor McInnis, a responsible administrator would want to know more before pronouncing final judgment. The Denver Post undoubtedly is working to gather additional information.

For a political candidate, any misconduct or bad judgment in a previous job is something that some voters choose to take into account when voting. Apparently the majority of voters in the U.S. in 2008 did not care much that Joe Biden in 1987 had plagiarized his “autobiography” from Neil Kinnock, or that Biden had thereafter continued to prevaricate about his autobiography.

While I wrote about media coverage of Churchill, I don’t recall that I ever called on him to resign. I have no opinion on whether McInnis should or should not withdraw.

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