'Unreal': AP 'jumps the shark,' says conservatives 'weaponizing' plagiarism

 January 3, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Social media took notice when Claudine Gay quit as Harvard's president this week, amid a scandal involving dozens of claims she has plagiarized others' writings for decades, and the Associated Press posted the wild claim that her problems were because of conservatives.

Actually, the legacy wire service that built its reputation transferring information from one city to another via telegraph back in the day was specific in its claim: "Harvard president's resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism."

Twitchy commentary called those behind the AP claims "shameless hacks."

The site accused the wire service of "expanding on the 'Republicans pounce on Claudine Gay's resignation' approach," and making the story about conservatives weaponizing plagiarism against colleges in general.

The report was subject to correction, and much ridicule, on social media, and Fox pointed out the organization quickly changed the headline to: "Plagiarism charges downed Harvard's president. A conservative attack helped to fan the outrage."

AP, in fact, released a long explanation about why it attacked conservatives when a liberal college chief was caught plagiarizing.

"In Gay’s case, many academics were troubled with how the plagiarism came to light: as part of a coordinated campaign to discredit Gay and force her from office, in part because of her involvement in efforts for racial justice on campus. The campaign against Gay and other Ivy League presidents has become part of a broader right-wing effort to remake higher education, which has often been seen as a bastion of liberalism. Republican detractors have sought to gut funding for public universities, roll back tenure, and banish initiatives that make colleges more welcoming to students of color, disabled students, and the LGBTQ+ community. They also have aimed to limit how race and gender are discussed in classrooms. … Reviews by conservative activists and then by a Harvard committee did find multiple shortcomings in Gay’s academic citations. In dozens of instances first published by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, Gay’s work includes long stretches of prose that mirror language from other published works."

Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag wrote, "Remember when the AP had a modicum of credibility? Over the past few years, it’s been working hard to shed that modicum to the point that the formerly respected wire service is indistinguishable from the Washington Post which is the same as The Nation or the old Gawker. That is to say, most media now looks like the same stew of leftist snark, explainers, and narrative warfare.

"There used to be four Ws of journalism to which we can now add, 'what the hell.'" he said. "After a few paragraphs the AP 'report' reads like something from a college student paper."

He quoted, "The plagiarism allegations came not from her academic peers but her political foes, led by conservatives who sought to oust Gay and put her career under intense scrutiny in hopes of finding a fatal flaw. Her detractors charged that Gay — who has a Ph.D. in government, was a professor at Harvard and Stanford, and headed Harvard’s largest division before being promoted — got the top job in large part because she is a black woman. Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who helped orchestrate the effort, celebrated her departure as a win in his campaign against elite institutions of higher education. On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote 'SCALPED,' as if Gay was a trophy of violence, invoking a gruesome practice taken up by white colonists who sought to eradicate Native Americans."

BizPacReview commented, "Anyone familiar with the AP Style Guide’s frequent woke updates, satisfying society’s ever-shifting Overton Window toward leftism, would find a little surprise in the news organization running such a piece.

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