Ann Coulter, Plagiarist?

Wed Jul. 5, 2006 2:43 PM EDT

Move over, Jayson Blair. The New York Post reported on Sunday that Ann Coulter—whom we already knew to be an egomaniacal loon—apparently also holds distinction as a plagiarizer:

John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.

He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. As it turns out, accusations to this effect have been circulating on the web for at least a year. And it is from one of these online muckrakers that we get this humorous follow-up to the Post's story:

So what happens when a columnist is found using other's words without attribution? I called Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Coulter's column to over 100 newspapers.

What's the story? I asked Kathie Kerr, the company's media relations chief. Is your company considering any action against Coulter? Will there be any fallout? "I think [Coulter] is the one that needs to address this," Kerr told me at first.

I noted that in other plagiarism cases -- Jayson Blair, for instance -- the response was not left up to the writer. Indeed, in that case the New York Times and its editors bore responsibility for his misdeeds.

"After the investigation is complete and the allegations are proven correct, that's right," she told me.

So is there an investigation into Coulter's writings? "Not that I know of," Kerr replied.Meanwhile, Ann Coulter's own website has posted a link entitled "Mallard Fillmore on Latest Accusation Against Coulter." nfortunately for us, the Fillmore cartoon it leads to is in answer to another "accusation" entirely: namely, that Coulter has "been hogging the New York Times bestseller list for the past several years." That line of attack, at least, we can be pretty sure she wrote herself.

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