When looking to the internet for your news, it is common to find reports which are recaps of stories found on CNN Live or CNN Live Stream, MSNBC, CBS News, and Fox News. What sometimes goes unnoticed, however, are the issues of what you are reading being original or not. We automatically assume that what we are reading on the internet (at least in news fashion) is reliable enough, a common internet mistake. When pseudo-journalists lack integrity, all it takes is a few simple word changes to narrowly escape being identical to another’s published story. Regardless of how thinly disguised, this is still plagiarism. This isn’t a new crime, but requires further attention. The recent MSNBC Live story about Kendrick Meek being covered is one example of how you cannot trust your internet journalists as much as you’d hope.
Firstly, the reader should note that you can check out any information on MSNBC Live at their website, MSNBC TV. This would likely be the best (and firsthand) source of information on their coverage.
The Story on MSNBC: Kendrick Meek vs. Marco Rubio
If you check out the article by USA Post on USS Post, you’ll read about the encounter on MSNBC Live between Democrat running for Senate, Kendrick Meek and Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd. If you hadn’t seen the show, you’d gather what had happened easily: Todd was calling into question whether or not Meek was more or less, inadvertently, securing a win for the Republican Marco Rubio. Now this alone is an interesting topic and story, and certainly one relevant to Florida voters, but this is not our story. No, our story is about the “entertainment” aspect around reporting– the media.
MSNBC Live Rehashed on Mediaite: Their Report Plagiarized?
Head to Mediaite and see this article by Frances Martel. Note the date and the time. October 11, 2010, 8:17 PM. Now revisit the USS Post story. Note the writer, “USA Post”– more of a title than a name; in journalism, this is a sign of not necessarily being trustworthy or legitimate. Then we come to the date stamp– October 13, 2010. Now read the breakdown of these two stories. They are nearly identical. Almost shamelessly, the apparently plagiarizing author for USS Post even uses some of the same nuances in phrases we can only assume originated with Martel. It is obvious even from the first sentence(s):
“MSNBC Daily Rundown hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie attempted to stage a bit of an intervention with Democratic Florida Senate candidate and current Rep. Kendrick Meek, but from the sound of their questions, you’d be forgiven if you mistook Meek for Ross Perot.”
USA Post’s Version:
“Msnbc Live, Daily Rundown MSNBC host Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie tried to stage a little intervention with Florida Democratic Senate candidate and Rep. Kendrick Meek underway, but from the sound of their questions, you should be forgiven if you take Meek for Ross Perot.”
As you can see, despite slight differences (including a lesser grasp on proper English for the latter), these are just dissimilar enough to perhaps escape certain plagiarism checks– meanwhile, somebody is getting paid for this content churning. Lesson learned: you may not want to trust USA Post or USS Post, and unfortunately, when it comes to the internet media, you must take everything– including implied integrity– with a grain of salt.
By the way, check out Martel’s piece for the better written version, as well as an actual video of the encounter which was the subject of the report.
Frances Martel, MSNBC Host To Florida Dem Rep. Kendrick Meek: ‘Can You Live With Your Role In’ Marco Rubio Win?, Mediaite
USA Post, Msnbc Live, USS Post