Repeat Offender

Hot young political reporter Ruth Shalit’s writing has that familiar New Republic ring to it. In fact, it’s a little too familiar.

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The Washington, D.C., media recycles conventional political wisdom so regularly that sometimes it’s difficult to tell where it came from. But last year, The New Republic‘s 25-year-old political writer/enfant terrible Ruth Shalit proved an exception.

Shalit had a rough 1995. In addition to having a very public feud with the Washington Post, which claimed her New Republic cover-story attack on the newspaper’s affirmative action program was riddled with errors, Shalit also faced accusations that she lifted passages from other publications on three separate occasions. Oops! Make that four.

While fact-checking this issue’s profile of Sen. Bob Dole, Mother Jones researchers were struck with a sudden case of deja vu. In Shalit’s own story on Dole in the March 5, 1995 New York Times Magazine, she wrote:

“Like a British Tory rather than an American conservative, Dole distrusts visions and visionaries.”

Compare with this sentence, from an April 5, 1993 article in another national magazine:

“Like a British High Tory rather than an American conservative, Dole distrusts visions and visionaries.”

Shalit blames her own sloppy computer habits–accidentally splicing together published stories with her own notes–for the previous incidents.

Until now, The New Republic editors have gallantly supported their newest star reporter. But they might feel differently when they find out that the above passage first appeared in none other than The New Republic. The article was written by then-Senior Editor (and Shalit mentor) Fred Barnes, now the editor of the Weekly Standard.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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