Skip to content

Monica Crowley’s Remarkably Flagrant Literary Theft Couldn’t Be an Accident

January 11, 2017

President-elect Trump may want to reconsider hiring a known plagiarist to serve in his White House

Plagiarism—that is, the intentional lifting of others’ words and passing them off as your own—is something that gets writers and academics excited but seldom registers with the general public. Except when someone famous, or at least semi-famous, gets caught doing it and the media takes notice, reminding everyone that such literary theft is at least very bad form.

Which is what’s just happened to a member of the still-forming administration of President-elect Donald Trump. Monica Crowley, who’s been slated to serve in the new White House as the senior director of strategic communications on the National Security Council, a plum job which she’s suited for as a longtime right-wing media gadfly. A fixture on Fox News for years, as one of that network’s stable of fetching blonde talking-heads, Crowley would seem to be an ideal fit for such a high-profile position.

She also has academic pedigree and has published several books. Crowley received her Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia and served for years as research assistant to former President Richard Nixon, acting as his academic factotum during his final years. After his 1994 death, Crowley published two serious, somewhat scholarly books about the former president, in 1996 and 1998, respectively.

However, her big splash in publishing came in 2012 with the publication by HarperCollins of What the (Bleep) Just Happened, a less-than-scholarly tome, indeed a semi-comic one lambasting President Obama in the manner of so many right-wing books over the last eight years, which have aimed to preach to those already converted by Fox News. The book became a best-seller and raised her already high profile in conservative media circles.

It’s therefore a big problem for her that a close examination of that book by CNN Money has revealed that significant chunks of that best-seller aren’t Crowley’s own work. In more than 50 cases, she had lifted quotes, verbatim—in some cases entire paragraphs—from other sources, including op-eds, think tank reports, even Wikipedia. Having investigated plagiarism cases in my academic career, what Crowley did in What the (Bleep) Just Happened represents a remarkably flagrant example of literary theft, one that could not have happened by accident. CNN Money’s investigation demonstrates that Crowley stole the work of many others, whole hog, without any effort at attributing where “her” writing actually came from.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: