The Washington Times ended a column belonging to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Tuesday after allegations that one of Paul’s columns plagiarized another news article.
The allegation from BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski was just one of several in the last week. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported several times that Paul had lifted material from Wikipedia in a recent speech, specifically the plotline of the movie “Gattaca.”
Maddow pursued the story doggedly, even when there was nothing new to report. Paul said Sunday that he’d like to challenge Maddow to a duel over the allegations.
“I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so,” he told This Week. “And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge.”
“In an op-ed article he wrote for The Washington Times in September on mandatory minimum prison sentences, Mr. Paul, a Republican, appears to have copied language from an essay that had previously run in The Week magazine,” wrote New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin on Monday, covering Kaczynski’s discovery.
Paul took responsibility for the plagiarism, the Washington Times reported, but he said it was caused by staff providing him with material that wasn’t properly footnoted.
“The standard I’m being held to is a little different than everybody else,” Paul complained to CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
“They’re now going back and reading every book from cover to cover and looking for places where we footnoted correctly and don’t have quotation marks in the right places or we didn’t indent correctly,” he said.
But the issues appear to be, not with grammar, but with entire passages being lifted from other works.
While Paul said he needed to be more careful citing sources, it might not be citation that’s the problem.
According to an earlier report from BuzzFeed, Paul also plagiarized a 2003 Heritage Foundation study on three pages of his 2012 book “Government Bullies.” He allegedly cut and pasted sections from the study and included a link to the Forbes article where it was reported in the book’s footnotes.
“We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column,” said Washington Times Editor John Solomon.
Dan Stewart, the writer whose work was plagiarized by Paul in his Washington Times op-ed wrote Wednesday morning that he doesn’t mind what the senator did.
"I’m indifferent to being plagiarized because today’s media environment has changed what it means to have ownership of a piece of writing,” Stewart wrote. “Once your words are published online, they become part of the currency of the internet. They can be freely woven into others’ articles, quoted at length, or tweeted without context. None of us can afford to be that sensitive about how others use or abuse our work.”