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November 08, 2005

Becoming Part of Sherrod Brown Campaign Story

So a Sherrod Brown staffer used some lines from one of my blog posts. Who frigging cares? This is a ridiculous story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Rep. Sherrod Brown wrote to Sen. Mike DeWine last Friday, voicing concern about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's labor record.

Brown's language was crisp -- and was plagiarized.

Roughly 90 percent of what Brown, an Avon Democrat, wrote in his letter was lifted from an Internet posting by a blogger, as Brown's office acknowledged Monday when The Plain Dealer presented the similarities.

Brown had not credited the blogger, Nathan Newman of NathanNewman.org, or any other source.

This is the post Brown used to list the cases where Alito has attacked workers rights.

Did the Plain Dealer do an indepth analysis of Alito's labor record in response?

No, they created a bullshit meta-story that was of such supposed breaking news value that they couldn't wait for me to get back from my mini-honeymoon to get my reaction. If the crime is plagiarism, then you think they'd want to talk to the victim before running it.

But what about the real victims, the workers denied minimum wage, family leave, or a day in court to challenge racial and gender discrimination because of Alito's decisions? The paper of course also pursued Mike DeWine for his reaction to that. And here was DeWine's response:

"We couldn't decide who to respond to -- the person who sent us the letter or the person who wrote the letter," joked Mike Dawson, DeWine's communications director. "So we decided not to respond to either."
So DeWine thinks workers having their paychecks stolen by employers is a joke?

DeWine thinks union workers being denied the freedom to form unions is a joke?

DeWine thinks racial discrimination is a joke?

That's the story the reporter should have concentrated on.

Who the hell cares if a Brown staffer copied a factual listing of legal cases into a letter? This was hardly a literary blog post using deathless prose for the ages. It was the facts that made this post interesting, not it's literary value.

But in typical manner, the response of the media is to ignore the substance and focus on some stupid "he said, she said" story.

Guess what, Sherrod Brown's staffer was lazy and didn't do a rewrite of my blog post or put in an attribution line. But the report on this story was even lazier, doing an easy "call the campaigns for quotes" story instead of the harder work of dealing with the substance of Alito's anti-worker legal record.

So write the author of this story, Stephen Koff, at skoff@plaind.com or call him at 216-999-4212, and demand that he spend at least as much time in a story on the substance of my blog post as he did on this silly story.

And how about a followup with Mike DeWine to see if he agrees with his aide that workers rights are a joke not worth responding to?

Update: It's also worth noting that he blog post was also posted at DailyKos, which has
this disclaimer on every page:

"Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified."

See at the bottom of this page:

So the reporter saying that Brown's letter "was plagiarized" is flatly inaccurate. The reality is that politicians used public domain sources in a whole host of ways and using my blog post was no different.

Posted by Nathan at November 8, 2005 08:14 AM