In The Hill Newspaper: “How the media got it wrong on Sheriff David Clarke plagiarism accusation”

Jun 9, 2017 | Featured

Dr. John Lott has a new piece in The Hill newspaper on the attacks directed at Sheriff David Clarke.  The piece starts this way:

When it comes to issues such as sanctuary cities, it is impossible to avoid controversy. When President Donald Trump appoints anyone to help oversee the issue, it will be controversial, especially if the appointment promises to be very effective one.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is scheduled to serve as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. He will be working at the Office of Partnership and Engagement, which coordinates outreach to state and local governments.

Clarke’s understanding of domestic law enforcement issues makes him the perfect candidate. He joins President Trump in opposing sanctuary cities and in supporting the creation of a wall on the U.S-Mexican border.

Not surprisingly, the long knives are out for Sheriff Clarke.

Even in the Trump administration, some are not happy with the choice. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell are reportedly fighting hard to delay and reverse Clarke’s appointment before it becomes official.

Their argument?

A CNN report that Sheriff Clarke supposedly plagiarized portions of his master’s thesis on homeland security.

CNN focused on 23 short segments of his nearly 40,000-word thesis. Eighteen are mere sentence fragments; five are full sentences. CNN cites the supposedly standard definition of plagiarism: “If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks . . . The length of the phrase does not matter. . . . even if only a few words are involved.”

But what Sheriff Clarke did was not dishonest. He footnoted each of these segments, citing the correct sources right on the same page.

Steven Brill, the founder of Court TV and a lecturer at the Yale English department, in 2007 told the Yale Daily News: “Plagiarism is when you steal someone’s words and you don’t attribute it to that person.” He went on to address the case of Ian Ayres, a professor at the Yale Law School, who copied large chunks of writing — even more than a couple of paragraphs at a time. “I don’t think it quite rises to that, because he is attributing what he’s saying to the person [in the endnotes]. His intent could not have been terribly guilty, because he provided neon signs … for anyone to figure out what he’d done.”

Ayres does list his sources in endnotes at the back of the book, though the sources are not directly linked to copied passages and the relevant source were sometimes at the end of a list. This hardly qualifies as “neon signs.”

By contrast, . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

Walter Williams also has some comments on the attacks on Sheriff David Clarke.

Democrats are using black congressmen to go after Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who is a high-profile conservative, champion of law and order, and supporter of President Donald Trump’s. They view Clarke as a threat to Democratic Party interests. Indeed, if Democrats lost just 25 percent of the black vote, they would be in deep political trouble. . . .