Globe and Mail, or Cut and Paste?


In January, the Globe and Mail appointed longtime editor and correspondent Sylvia Stead its first “public editor”. What say we pause right there, before we go any further? The job of “public editor” is one most closely associated with the New York Times, which has had five different people doing the job since it created a post with that title in 2003—soon after the Jayson Blair fabrication scandal. The function of the public editor at the Times, as the title suggests, is to advocate for journalism ethics, fairness, and proper practice on behalf of the paper’s readership, dealing with concerns and challenges as they arise.

To that end, the Times—quite naturally, one would think—has always recruited people for the job who haven’t been associated with the Times for their entire adult lives, but who do have some knowledge of journalism and non-fiction practice. The first Times public editor was Daniel Okrent, a legendary book and magazine editor. The new one, Margaret Sullivan, has been associated with the Warren Buffett-owned Buffalo News since 1980.

The Times is probably careful about this because it created the “public editor” job in the wake of a serious credibility crisis. It could ill afford to choose somebody who had grown up in the Times cocoon and was an irrecoverable permanent hostage to old friendships, work relationships, and office politics. In fact, it would be fair for you, dear reader, to ask the question “Why would you?” Why wouldn’t you hire someone with some independent standing to represent the public, if you were serious about it?

Well: those last six words bring us to Ms. Stead’s remarkable papal bull, published Friday, concerning Globe columnist Margaret Wente. A painter and University of Ottawa visual arts professor named Carol Wainio has been writing a media-criticism blog for a few years now, and has made a particular avocation of checking Wente’s work, often finding procedural and factual problems of varying importance in it. (Full disclosure: Wainio took a few swipes at Maclean’s in the early days of her site, before it turned out that keeping up with Wente was damn near a full-time job.) These problems, laboriously documented by Wainio, range from straightforward plagiarism of short passages to lifting quotes from interviews performed by other writers without proper attribution. At times they have bordered on the exotic: in 2011 Wainio caught Wente having a bizarre sort of multiple ethical seizure, snaffling a self-pitying quote from an aspiring lawyer and crowbarring it into a piece about the Occupy protests—with which the sad lad was not involved.

On Tuesday, Wainio posted a new entry about a 2009 Wente column on African agriculture, breaking down its apparent sources and finding several problems with attribution. The rank and file in the industry, including those at the Globe itself, have long been sort of half-aware of Wainio’s vendetta. But in 2012 Twitter exists, and the new entry gained some viral impetus, perhaps because another fairly prominent writer was involved this time. In an earlier (2008) column on the same subject, the Ottawa Citizen‘s Dan Gardner had published material from an interview with Wellesley agriculture specialist Robert Paarlberg:

“There were Malthusians in the 1960s, and into the 1970s, who argued we should stop giving food aid to India because it would only keep people alive to have more children who would starve in greater numbers in the future,” Mr. Paarlberg says from his office in Massachusetts…

“Many NGOs working in Africa in the area of development and the environment have been advocating against the modernization of traditional farming practices,” Paarlberg says. “They believe that traditional farming in Africa incorporates indigenous knowledge that shouldn’t be replaced by science-based knowledge introduced from the outside. They encourage Africa to stay away from fertilizers, and be certified as organic instead. And in the case of genetic engineering, they warn African governments against making these technologies available to farmers.” [emphasis mine]

Paarlberg’s words found their way into Wente’s column almost verbatim, with the beginning of the quotation mark mysteriously moved.

Yet, many NGOs working in Africa have tenaciously fought the modernization of traditional farming practices. They believe traditional farming in Africa incorporates indigenous knowledge that shouldn’t be replaced by science-based knowledge introduced from the outside. As Prof. Paarlberg writes, “They encourage African farmers to stay away from fertilizers and be certified organic instead. And they warn African governments to stay away from genetic engineering.

The quote then continues, with material taken from another unattributed source; and then, further along, Wente presents some more of Paarlberg’s words with quotation marks missing, as if they were her own thought. As with Wente’s earlier Occupy foulup, the shell game of verbiage becomes so complicated that it almost defies summary. What’s clear is that the material in bold, above, provides evidence of a weird double offence possible only through mind-boggling sloppiness. Wente lifted the Gardner interview, apparently failing to understand that the text came from a conversation rather than a book, and then plagiarized Paarlberg’s words by moving some of the text outside quotation marks.

How upset you want to be about this as a reader is up to you. Every country and every nonfiction subculture has its own standards when it comes to plagiarism and related offences; in the U.S., a screwup like this at one of the papers of record would be front-page and primetime news in itself. My experience is that the first things a layman will point out, when confronted with a shambles like Wente’s, are that columnists are synthesizers of ideas, almost by definition, and that it would be trivially easy to have avoided the problem.

Some people will immediately leap to the conclusion that it is therefore not much of a problem at all. And some people will reach the conclusion that the error is all the more inexplicable and culpable precisely because it would be easy to avoid, with a little attention and self-respect.

For a public editor, there can really be only one plausible position to take: the position of delineating and upholding standards. In theory, that’s the only function a public editor has, give or take some cutesy chit-chat about How The Sausage Is Made.

In practice… well, let’s observe that Sylvia Stead’s response to Carol Wainio’s blog post is careful not to use the word “plagiarism”; does not contemplate the possibility that plagiarism might require any actual action against the perpetrator, much less recommend it; contains no mention of the name “Dan Gardner”; uses the word “sorry” just once, quoting an apology by Wente that does not appear to be directed at any particular individual, except possibly Stead herself; and offers no hint of regret or remorse on the part of the paper. It is a frantically defensive performance which appears to establish that the Globe‘s official philosophy on plagiarism is that it requires no more than the equivalent of a Post-It slapped onto the offending material after the fact.

…The Globe and Mail is adding a line to the original column in its electronic archives that says: “Editor’s Note: This column contains thoughts and statements by Professor Robert Paarlberg which are paraphrased and not always clearly identified.”

The apparent nature of Stead’s “investigation” into the column is interesting: Stead apparently approached Wente and was told “[she] doesn’t believe she ever read” Dan Gardner’s interview with Paarlberg. I’ll remind the reader that an entire sentence from that interview made it into Wente’s column intact, with only the omission of a “that”, and that the sentences immediately preceding and following are very similar in both texts. If neither Wente nor Stead believes that Wente had Gardner’s piece immediately to hand while composing her own column, then the rest of us are, on statistical grounds, left with no alternative but to declare them the biggest pair of Siamese-twin imbeciles of all time.

Stead compounds this charming willingness to swallow whales by refusing to name Wainio, calling her an “anonymous blogger” even though the pair have corresponded about Wainio’s blog in the past; declaring that the evidence held up to her nose by Wainio “seems highly unlikely”, whatever that might mean; and making an exasperated reference to Wente’s workload of three columns a week. (Note: I am available to swear on the holy book of any man’s choice that it may not be possible to write three newspaper columns a week brilliantly, but it is definitely possible to do it without committing plagiarism, accidental or otherwise.)

Journalistic plagiarism is ordinarily regarded as what a lawyer would call a strict-liability offence. It may not be deserving of a career death penalty in any particular case, but the evidence of plagiarism usually suffices to establish the crime. Stead’s procedure as a public editor appears to involve looking into the soul of the accused and searching therein for gremlins. Does she, one wonders, believe in the objective existence of plagiarism at all? Again, she does not use the term, and she will not believe that Wente had heard even a rumour, even a whisper, of Gardner’s prior work for the Citizen.

Well, it is not likely there will ever be a case in which Stead is presented with close-up video footage of Wente using her mouse to highlight someone else’s words and pressing Control-C and Control-V. That is why the strict-liability standard is usual. If Stead will not apply it—if she is willing to accept any denial from a fellow Globe lifer, however preposterous—then how can she ever, as an impartial judge of journalism ethics, deliver a conviction? Can it be that the whole point is to have the appearance of accountability without the actual possibility of it?

[Related, and relevant: Wainio’s own response to Stead’s investigation.]

[UPDATE, Sept. 25: My review of Act II of the drama.]


Globe and Mail, or Cut and Paste?

  1. ..should do wonders for the Globe’s paywall model. Pay to read someone else’s work!

  2. (I also like how as you said the public editor tried to downplay all of this as an anonymous blogger, as if that somehow discredited the entire line of questioning (even though she wasn’t anonymous to begin with).

    Apparently, the fact she’s a blogger period disqualifies her evidence.

  3. “And now, a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister….”

    • Love it. Oh, that dates me too :)

  4. every publication including this one uses false information and puts it forward as “fact” in order to complete the set narrative. take, well, ANY story about marijuana, for example. The media let people say stuff about pot and pot users that simply isn’t true, sometimes even actionable….. the evidence is widely available to correct it. but they don’t.
    I blame booze. reporters are drinkers. many of them are also tokers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t drunk hypocrites.

  5. V Postrel linked to Poynter article on same day I first learned about Wente’s case. American news orgs have standards while Canadian ones don’t, apparently. Does the paying public expect more than patchwriting and plagiarism from Canadian msm?

    Globe and Mail is liberal paper and what unites Libs/libs is snobbery, that’s why Stead’s investigation went as it did. Wente doesn’t have time to be bothered with pesky anon bloggers, she’s a busy woman! Wente plagiarising would bother me if I took Canadian msm seriously but since news orgs and reporters don’t care about their own product, why should anyone else.

    Poynter ~ Sept 18:

    “The Columbia Spectator writer fired for plagiarizing from The New York Times earlier this month was actually employing a dishonest writing technique that is common on college campuses and among journalists. It’s called “patchwriting.” And it’s not quite plagiarism, but it’s not original writing either.

    A 2008 study directed by Rebecca Moore Howard, professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, suggests that much of the writing by college students is intellectually dishonest, but falls short of actual plagiarism. She is preparing to publish her findings in a book.

    I first heard Howard describe patchwriting at a conference on writing integrity earlier this year at Poynter. And when I looked closely at her examples, I realized that journalists utilize patchwriting as well.

    Howard speculates that most of the time, writers employ patchwriting because they don’t have enough time to craft original thoughts, or they don’t have enough time to understand their source material beyond the surface conclusions.

    At the very least, patchwriting is bad writing, she said. And that might be the strongest reason that newsroom editors would object to it, although I concede that not all editors would object. Some would be just fine with this type of writing. College professors don’t like it because it indicates an absence of true critical thinking and understanding behind the writing.

    • Well, if Macleans ever needed an expert on cut and paste…

      • Indeed. That made me laugh.

    • The Star is a liberal paper. The Globe? Moderately right of centre on economics, moderately left of centre on social issues. To imply that Wente in particular is being protected because of a liberal contempt for readers is hilarious. She is no liberal at all.

      • Indeed. Most liberals I know find her infuriating.

      • Because she doesn’t seem to be liked by other “side”, it’s likely that her columns represent at least 40%* of the internet-based ad revenue they receive. Not much added to the bottom line, but enough to reduce their online ad revenue to 1.4%^ of their total.

        * I made up this number.
        ^ This one too.

    • I’ve got to say, the first thing any “liberal” would do upon gaining control of the Globe and Mail is FIRE MARGARET WENTE.

      Most liberals I know (including the snobby ones) would be THRILLED to see her canned for plagiarism. Though, most would likely prefer to see her canned for her infuriating positions (the more reactionary would say “racist” positions) and shoddy reasoning.

  6. Another nail on the coffin of the once great Globe and Mail. That paper’s descent into irrelevancy, begun one suspects about the time of its first editorial endorsement of Stephen Harper, will be mercifully complete as it disappears finally behind its paywall to be read only by the few. With “journalists” like Wente on the payroll it will be a small loss to Canada.

  7. Cosh Your tweet about Korea Herald and fans took me down memory lane because I lived in Korea in 1997/98 and I remember reading that editorial.

    One of the classes I was teaching was Korean medical students who studied english in North America for a year or two so they were fluent. I brought that editorial to class and told them to discuss this theory that Koreans have about indoor fans can kill you in summer. Most of the doctor trainees thought it was nonsense but they talked about older doctors who don’t have proper training and they discussed superstition and the hold it has over Koreans.

    Many Korean buildings didn’t have proper heating either so they used dodgy portable heaters in winter and many people suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning – doctors thought fan/summer superstition had something to do with people getting poisoned in winter by heaters.

  8. I remember reading in a profile of Wente that she was like Holly Hunter’s character in Broadcast News: in the film, when snarkily told “It must be great to be right all the time,” her character genuinely-tearfully replies, “No, it’s horrible to be.” Maybe Wente thinks her ends are justifying the means? She occasionally has interesting and valid points to make, but mostly she’s in the business of setting up and knocking down straw men.

  9. Wente’s columns certainly stink up the Globe and Mail. Same with Neil Reynolds’. They are clearly not held to the same set of journalist standards as other columnists. But they would fit right in at the Sun Media — or the NP for that matter… (So much for the ubiquitous liberal media… 98% of the *corporate*-owned media supported a Harper majority in 2011. Guess the masters of the universe know something the rest of us are not privy to…)

    • They’re columnists, and as such a paid for their analysis and opinions on current events. So a different standard does apply than for someone writing news under a byline. Of course, the Globe has screwed the pooch on that front. Remember Jan Wong’s dismissal? Lack of clarity over the line between straight reportage and an opinion piece. The Globe’s roster of columnists do appear to exclusively hew to the right, while centre-left columnists have been turfed. But ultimately, the issue is not their point of view, but *whether* it is in fact their point of view. Wente appears content to draw a paycheque by turning in other people’s thoughts three times a week, and the G&M doesn’t have a problem with that. The newspaper is rotten, from Phil Crawley on down.

  10. We are swamped by an enormous amount of information these days, so I can certainly understand somebody picking up an idea or a phrase from elsewhere, and not realizing they’ve done so.

    However when this becomes an ongoing matter over years, and moreover is word-for-word…..

    • Wente’s not just a random somebody, she writes columns for a living. She is beholden to journalistic ethics. She therefore has no excuse.

    • Hahaha. Nice try to make excuses for how “information just drops into your head”. Surely you researched and wrote papers…..referencing those “ideas and phrases” is the #1 rule for anyone writing a scholarly paper or certainly for someone publishing work. Knowledge comes from somewhere…it isn’t dreamed up or it wouldn’t be valid. If you “borrow it”, without referencing it and you take credit for as though it is yours, you stole it.

      • I made a comment on the topic.

        You return with a free gratis personal attack on me.

        Sod off

        • you see that as a personal attack? seriously? if you don’t want to be challenged, don’t comment. you were suggesting that blatant cutting and pasting might be something more benign. a first year university student–maybe. wente???? she has absolutely no credibility, send her to a department where she might still be useful… circulation.

          • By itself, no. However HI does this all the time.

            I made a simple statement on Wente….stop ‘reading in’ what isn’t there.

  11. A number of years ago, Margaret Wente wrote a column (and the G&M published it) in which a key argument was that two Toronto-based profs were writing about racialized minorities because this was beneficial to them personally as people of calour… there was plenty wrong with the thought process, including the actual fact that these two Toronto-based (Wente lives in Toronto) were Caucasian! I could not believe this…so I wrote Wente an email, told her fantasy was just that, but more importantly pointed out her column falls apart if her central argument is off. She answered along of the lines of… hey did not know, many thanks; I replied that she at the very least needed to let her readers know about the gross factual error… her reply was something like: look I said I was sorry, okay! I could not believe this…

  12. Obviously Ms Stead knew the name of the “anonymous blogger” and thanks to you, I now know it too, but I was unable to find her name anywhere on her blog. It puzzles me why so many bloggers are not identified on their blogs when many of their readers seem know exactly who they are?

  13. I miss “Wente Watch”.

    • I might if i knew what it was.

      • Probably because it’s in latin.

        Veni , Vidi , Wente

        I came, I saw, I copied.

      • It still exists, but the author stopped adding to it years ago (no doubt tired of shouting into the abyss).

        Blogger “Idealistic Pragmatist” once described the blog as “Dedicated in its entirety to debunking the mad ravings of one Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail columnist and embarrassment to American immigrants across Canada“. It only lasted about 5 or 6 months, but the constant debunking of Wente was fun while it lasted!

  14. Wente is nauseatingly holier-than-thou in all of her posts and interviews, which makes this story all the more amusing.

  15. Can it be that the whole point is to have the appearance of accountability without the actual possibility of it?” So did the media learn this from the Harper Party? The party of contempt for Parliament?

    • Nice try to politicize plagarism. Harper truly would have to be as old Jesus to take credit for teaching people how to cheat and lie and take credit for other people’s hard work. Even a university student knows you reference your source or you get expelled. It is that basic.

  16. I think Ms. Stead is justified in calling Ms. Wainio an ‘anonymous poster’ in her comments on this fiasco. Ms. Wainio is not identified in her blog (I say that to the best of my knowledge) and so to her readers, she must be considered as being anonymous. Still, Ms. Stead comes down pretty heavy on Ms. Wainio in places. Look, Ms. Wente likes to jump to conclusions (fat is fine, according to her latest article), so I want to do that too! As far as I am concerned, this latest article by Ms. Wente (‘fat is good for your health’) is meant to pass for intellectual discourse from the right of the political spectrum. The corporations must be defended and there are a lot of products to sell that harm people’s health. Ms. Wente’s article is not for fat people; it is for the ….intelligentsia or something like that. It is just like another recent Globe article by some fancy-pants intellectual defending soft drinks in NYC. Ms. Wente is doing what she can to defend the corporations’ role in our society. Back to Ms. Stead; well, our media champions of the political right will never be known as shrinking violets. The best defence is a good offence, and so on. And look who they learned that from, the master, Mr. Harper (what with his attack on Mr. Mulcair, his self-praise at the tribute for P. Lougheed, ad nauseam, etc. and so on).

    • Should have said something about plagiarism…don’t know what to say. Surely every journalist knows the rules. Surely they have some colour-coded system in their notebooks to tell them where to attribute, quote, and so on. It can’t be laziness to fail to do that (how long does it take a professional writer to attribute, quote and so on?). And it can’t be a desire for praise from others. Really, the content of the article is what counts; there are a thousand ways for a professional writer to shape an article so that it doesn’t seem too obsessed with attribution, quotes and so on. In short, I want to give all journalists the biggest benefit of a doubt possible. I don’t know what to say….

    • It would take some time to go through Ms. Wainio’s blog in its entirety, but I am flat on my back after just 20 minutes of perusing it….There is a lot more at stake than just attribution problems, etc. This whole business really shows us just how much the mainstream media are standing in the way of real progress.

    • I think Ms. Stead is justified in calling Ms. Wainio an ‘anonymous poster’ in her comments on this fiasco. Ms. Wainio is not identified in her blog…

      Ah, however that’s beside the point, as Ms. Stead not only knew who Wainio is (they’ve corresponded about these issues before) but she knew who Wainio was because Wainio sent her correspondence about these issues in emails that she signed with her own name, in some cases before said issues were raised on the blog. Stead gives the impression that she discovered these complaints while surfing the net and coming across them on a random “anonymous blog” when in reality, these complaints were brought to her attention directly by Wainio who SIGNED HER NAME in her letters to the editor.

  17. I’ve long regarded Wente’s stuff as “fiction” in the main, or at best intentionally and dishonestly provocative and contrarian. The GM lost whatever respect i had for it when they started tufiing folks like Salutin and Roy Macgregor[ he may have semi retired into sports] for clods like Wente. Even Rex was more palatable. While you could be sure whatever came out of his mouth might be occasionally insightful, even brilliant, but more often knee jerk pandering to common sense populism on subjects as complex as CC, at least it was what he thought.

    M. Wente – the Rita Skeeter of Canadian journalism

    • I thought Christie Blatchford was the Rita Skeeter of Canadian journalism?! Also, no right-winger am I, but Salutin’s columns were just getting to be the same 60’s rehash over and over.

      • You could be right about that, she looks the part, but has she been accused of this sort of thing?

        I find many of Salutin’s columns to be strangely soothing into todays polarized climate. He’s a narrative/big picture guy and still capable of writing some really good stuff, particularly when stacked up against the Blatchfords and Wentes of journalism.

  18. I wrote earlier as ‘Anon’ and I have to write one more time. I am ashamed of the lack of rigour in my posts. They could have used some editing and more thought. But this was all new turf for me. For me, this story is about the prime topic (prime mover, prime minister, whatever). It’s about the wedding between the media and our corporate interests (how boring to put it that way). I remember Murdoch and the Globe’s reluctance to allow comments when the Murdoch stories broke…It’s about how our media will defend corporate-entwined-with-political interests to the max., defend the status quo (oil vs. green energy) and beat down any optimism about a different kind of future. Wente has her role in all that. Funny that today we read today in the N.E. Journal of Medicine that sugar is a big culprit in obesity and today is the day NYC kicks in its regulation forbidding giant big gulps of sugar in fast food places. This is the mother of all topics. Wente does her part in preventing real progress. And the Globe’s role in all that. Very sad. I got nothing to say, nothing, nothing.

  19. That’s a strange case of plagiarism. She did attribute to Paalberg but not all of it. I’m inclined to believe it was pure sloppiness, and not an intentional attempt to plagiarize.
    If this has happened more than once, then I’d tend to believe it was intentional.

    I agree that the reference to “anonymous blogger” was absurd.

    • It happened more than once. It’s alleged to have happened at least seven times in a single article; many articles were singled out.

    • It seems to me that in university I had it drilled into my head that “unintentional” plagiarism still resulted in a ZERO.

      • Unless you’re Ralph Klein.

        • Yes but that government has never been disciplined for any cheating or bad behavior and people keep voting them in no matter what they do.

      • It usually also resulted in being expelled….again unless you were the Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta who stole a well known speech from a professor at Standford and delivered at convecation. He received a little demotion but was not fired. It seems cheating is okay for the staff but not for the students.

      • If your university need to “drill” this into your head, that says something about the quality of students there. Did they also need to tell you not to steal? Did they need to tell you not to throw rocks at the teacher? Were you warned not to defecate or urinate in the hallways? What other important lessons required “drilling” into your head?

        • Ummm. OK.

          I’ve got to say, now it kinda feels like you’re just looking for excuses to attack me personally. On a topic of greater significance I can understand one’s passions getting the best of them, but when talking about whether or not Margaret Wente plagiarized??? It’s a bit excessive, isn’t it?

          That said, at the risk of exposing both myself and my alma maters to ridicule, YOU are the one who brought up the notion of Wente’s plagiarism being “unintentional”. As I said, I was always taught that plagiarism is plagiarism, and that “intent” is largely moot. That saying “I didn’t MEAN to plagiarize, I just copied and pasted those sentences into my article and innocently forgot to add the quotation marks and the attribution” was the academic equivalent of “I didn’t MEAN to hit my little brother. I was just walking around the living room swinging my arms in the air, and he GOT IN THE WAY”.

          Now, if this fact is so self-evident that telling us about it in university was the equivalent of them telling us not to urinate in the hallways, then why did you even mention Wente’s intent in the first place? If her intent is self-evidently immaterial, why even bring it up?

          • Wow, aren’t you sensitive! You brought up your university, I responded to your remark, and I repeat, if the sorry group of students at your school need to be told not to plagiarize, then that’s one sorry group of students and one sorry school. If you can’t see that, then that’s your problem, not mine. And no, once again you’re lying, I did not dispute whether Wente plagiarized. Learn to read.

          • I can’t possibly have been lying by claiming that you disputed whether Wente plagiarized because I DIDN’T WRITE THAT YOU DID.

            What I did point out was your argument that the plagiarism was likely “unintentional”, and the fact that it seems to me that most people (in university anyway) consider “intent” to be a moot point when it comes to plagiarism. If you plagiarize you get a zero. It doesn’t matter if you “intended” to do so or not. As I said, this was made quite clear to me in my university days, which is why I was surprised to see you mention Wente’s intent.

            If my universities only had to point out that “unintentional” plagiarism is punished just the same as “intentional” plagiarism simply because I only went to universities with dim students, then why bother mentioning that some of Margaret Wente’s plagiarism was “not an intentional attempt to plagiarize”? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that even at the (apparently second rate) universities that I attended, had I plagiarized, and then explained to the Prof that it was just sloppiness, and not an intentional attempt to plagiarize, all that would have changed is that the prof would have smirked a bit while writing the big red zero.

  20. I say its high time to revamp the column staff at the globe. the other day wente wrote a piece on… how big is not only beautiful but healthy. i expect more from a national paper than why women with a bit of fat are actually healthy.

  21. If the Winnipeg Free Press (the Winnipeg Free Press!) can fire a sports columnist for plagiarizing someone else’s game analysis, how is it that the Globe and Mail can continue to protect this champagne conservative?

  22. You should also look at the other material lifted in Wente’s Paarlberg piece, especially the article by Stephen Clapp in the obscure Chemical Food News. This is one of Wainio’s most damning examples, as it comes in Wente’s opening paragraphs before Paarlberg is even mentioned.
    Paarlberg noted that 60% of the population
    consists of smallholder farmers, mostly women, earning a dollar a day or less.
    A third of the population is malnourished, and farmers are producing 20% less
    food than 35 years ago.
    Now let’s rearrange that, reversing the sentences and phrases, while omitting the fact that this is a paraphrase of Paarlberg:
    farmers are producing 20% less
    food than 35 years ago. … A third of the population is malnourished … 60% of the population
    consists of smallholder farmers, mostly women, earning a dollar a day or less.
    Now here are those exact words with two slight additions and two trivial changes (noted with square brackets), from Wente.

    In Africa today, farmers are producing 20% less
    food than they did 35 years ago. A third of the population is malnourished. Sixty percent [ 60%] of the population
    consists of smallholder farmers, mostly women who typically earn [ earning] a dollar a day or less.

    So you there you have it: slice-and-dice plagiarism of Clapp, plus lack of attribution of the statistics to Paarlberg (unattributed statistics are often a dead giveaway).

  23. Do this at a Canadian university and follow up at a nice meeting to discuss ones expulsion.

  24. Just as revolution in one country used to make the rest of
    the monarchy nervous, The Globe may well be sparking grief for other old media

    Much of the chatter has been about how old media have failed
    to cover what the wags are calling “Pilferin’ Peggy.”

    Even the Brits are on it — The Guardian reported the
    Canadian kerfuffle Monday. Postmedia’s Chris Selley commented too, but the
    Toronto Star — the big gun — was silent until late Monday night, reporting
    that Wente was disciplined. Particularly surprising is that CBC Radio’s Q,
    which employs Wente as a media panelist to curl a lip at the sins of other
    journalists, hasn’t touched the controversy.

  25. Waino clearly has no ‘vendetta’ against Wente. This constant belittling of a resourceful blooger by those being paid to write speaks volumes about the kind of snobbery in journalism circles that led to this blatant plagiarism.