THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Rosen’s “so what?” response to Westword (see Thursday update below) isn’t a shared sentiment at the Denver Post, apparently. Post Editorial Page Editor Dan Haley responded to our email query on this story. Said Haley:
We expect all columns published in our section to be original work and I recently told Mike this. While it’s true that you can’t plagiarize yourself, and it’s easy to simply lift paragraphs from your previous work as a way to provide background or supporting information, I expect writers to let readers know when they’re doing that.
Haley also clarified that Rosen is a freelance columnist, in a similar position to that of Susan Barnes-Gelt, Ed Quillen and John Andrews.
THURSDAY UPDATE: Westword’s Michael Roberts gets the brush off from Rosen:
Earlier this week, a tipster informed yours truly (and Colorado Pols) that KOA talk show host Mike Rosen had basically copied a 2008 column he wrote for the Rocky Mountain News and republished it in December as a Denver Post piece. Rather than simply running side-by-side excerpts, we shared the info with Rosen to get his take. His response in a nutshell? Yeah, I did it, and so what?
…When contacted about the columns, Rosen responded via e-mail with this: “So what? I’ve been writing columns for 30 years. What’s his point, that I’m plagiarizing myself? No need to reinvent the wheel when the same issues resurface. Presumably, some new readers haven’t read all my past columns. As William F. Buckley, Jr. once said, ‘Repetition is the price of mastery.’ I’m flattered that your ‘tipster’ follows me so closely. Sounds like someone who disagrees with my views wanting to be a nuisance.”
…there’s a certain irony in the fact that the first copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by Nevada’s Righthaven LLC on behalf of the Post charged a South Carolina blogger for republishing a Rosen column without permission.
[ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS]
Have you ever read a column from conservative pundit Mike Rosen of the Denver newspaper, and thought to yourself, “this is a bunch of tired, lazy boilerplate I’ve read before?”
As it turns out, you might be on to something.
A reader forwarded us this column from Rosen, written for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in November of 2008, titled “The ‘trickle-down’ myth.”
Leak through or trickle down – same difference. Bryan was a populist demagogue, a practitioner of the politics of envy, which latter-day Democrats have raised to an art form…
Defaming supply-side economics contemptuously as “trickle-down” has been a Democratic standby for years, with one notable exception. After John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, he persuaded Congress to reduce the confiscatory top marginal tax rate, then 90 percent, down to a mere 70 percent. In a speech to the Economic Club of New York in 1962, JFK explained: “In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues too low – and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut tax rates now.”
…In fact, it’s simply common sense. It applies to all facets of commerce. Think of a department store, for example. When the store wants to make more money it doesn’t raise its prices, it advertises a sale and cuts them. The store might make less money per unit sold, but by stimulating the volume of economic activity it increases its profits. Lower tax rates are a sale on economic enterprise.
Well, two years later, Rosen submitted another column for his current gig with the Denver paper–also forwarded to us today. Rosen’s second column, titled “‘Trickle-down’ a Democratic epithet,” is an obvious copy of Rosen’s Rocky column from 2008. In the telltale manner we’ve learned to watch for in the aftermath of former gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis’ plagiarism implosion, Rosen appears to have altered the first few sentences, found a couple of synonyms and other substitute terms, and moved a couple of paragraphs around in an effort to cover his tracks.
But with only those few token changes, it’s the same column.
To be clear, we’re not completely sure how to categorize this–some have insisted to us that this is straight-up academic plagiarism, which in the view of those observers does not make an exception for reusing even one’s own prior work without attribution. Others tell us that this is more a case of defrauding the Denver newspaper, by recycling columns for which he has already been paid. Did Rosen obtain prior permission from his editors to make token edits to a two-year-old column, and recycle it as “new” material in that paper? That seems hard to imagine, unless standards at the state’s newspaper of record have fallen even farther than we thought.
According-to-Hoyle plagiarism or fraud or whatever it is, it looks really, really lazy.