The Monica Crowley’s Plagiarism: Oh-Oh…This Does NOT Bode Well For Trump’s “We’re Going To Appoint The Best People” Boast

Really? This is "the best"?

Really? This is “the best”?

Many times, during the campaign, candidate Trump assured us that he “would appoint the best  people.” This was always a bit dubious, for a couple of reasons, but the main one was that the people we saw Trump appoint to represent him as his media surrogates were almost uniformly moronic to a degree never seen before on behalf of any public figure—and political surrogates are not generally shining lights. Trump  surrogates  Katrina Pierson, Corey Lewandowski, Scottie Nell Hughes, Jason Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, the horrible Michael Cohen, Boris Epshteyn and Jeffrey Lord all head-banging-on-a-wall embarrassing, making veteran Clinton shill Lanny Davis look like George Bernard Shaw by comparison, and Lanny’s a shameless hack. If these were “the best people” Trump could appoint to represent him publicly, what is his definition of “best”?

It is becoming clear that these fears were not exaggerated. I’m not speaking of the Cabinet positions, as all of those appointments are at least individuals of independent success and demonstrable accomplishments. The crucial appointments for Trump, however, are the staff around him. Both President Bush and President Obama saddled themselves with weak advisors of questionable wisdom at best, and Donald Trump really does need to have  “the best people” to lean on, even more so than his predecessors.

So far, it doesn’t look good. The latest thud came this weekend, as it was revealed that conservative author, radio talk show host and Fox News television personality Monica Crowley, who will be Trump’s senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” CNN found more than 50 long passages lifted without attribution from the National Review’s Rich Lowry and  Andrew C. McCarthy, Michelle Malkin, conservative economist Stephen Moore, Karl Rove, Ramesh Ponnuru of Bloomberg View, Wikipedia, Investopedia, various think tanks, and a podiatrist’s website, among other sources. There’s no dispute, or argument about this to be made: she was caught. She did it. She stole material that was not hers, and used it in her book.

This is signature significance. Authors who plagiarize are not “the best people;” they are not even good people. They are lazy, dishonest people who fake it, and who thrive by exploiting others who are smarter, harder working and more talented to succeed. Anyone who ever listened to Crowley on the radio for more than five minutes—that was about my limit–will not be surprised by this. She is facile and smug, but without substance, all ideology and mockery, but no real insight. Naturally, the only way she could write a book longer than 35 pages was to steal.

Thus when one learns that an employee cheated like this, there is only one responsible response, and that is to fire her. If you don’t fire her, that is an admission that either you don’t understand the term “best people,” or that you don’t really care about having the best people, and just want reliable toadies and slugs.

When CNN contacted the Trump transition team and laid out its evidence (some of which you can peruse here), it received this disheartening response:

“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration. HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”

Well, now we know at least two of Trump’s hires are not  by the wildest stretch of the imagination “the best”: Crowley, and the certifiable bozo who wrote that dreck.

It isn’t a politically motivated attack, you dolt: it’s hard evidence that there’s a lying fraud on staff, and anyone who lets you know is doing Trump a favor. If Monica had “exceptional insight” and capable of “thoughtful work,” she would be capable of writing her own book without stealing the words of people smarter than she is. The reasoning of the response is sub-Crowley: what does the size of HarperCollins have to do with anything? They were duped, that’s all. Is this cretinous statement arguing that plagiarism doesn’t matter if the resulting book sells? That’s both consequentialism and the ends justifies the means—this is the ethics Sahara desert we’re trekking through. The real issues facing this country need competent policy-making addressed by trustworthy people, neither of which is accomplished by keeping frauds like Monica Crowley around.

How can the American people trust an administration that doesn’t view lying and stealing as disqualifying for public service?

15 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Public Service, Workplace

15 responses to “The Monica Crowley’s Plagiarism: Oh-Oh…This Does NOT Bode Well For Trump’s “We’re Going To Appoint The Best People” Boast

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Now, I am a registered democrat, and do enjoy taking shots at the president elect when he deserves it

    …BUT

    In a world where almost every major media outlet takes every opportunity to denigrate trump and his supporters, whether they are legitimate or not, over and over again, for a year now?

    I can kind of see why their initial reaction to someone criticizing his choices is
    >it’s just political hackery
    Because these days, it kind of is most of the time.

    These criticisms are legitimate of course, but because from they’ve come from the mouth of the boy who cried wolf so many times, it’s no surprise they’ll get ignored.

    CNN has only themselves to blame if they can’t get through to anyone on the other side.

    • Chase Davidson

      Maybe, but this is the same sort of thinking that caused Presidents Bush and Obama to be insulated from public criticism – Bush’s staff took pains to paint any critic as wanting the “terrorists to win”, and Obama’s staff painted any critic as incorrigibly racist. Where does it end?

      • Inquiring Mind

        Perhaps, but CNN has three real problems:
        1. The examples they cited were real thin, IMO. It is one thing to plagiarize someone article and claim it as your own, But if you are repeating what a news agency reported, that’s different. So is when you paraphrase what Milton Friedman or Robert Reich said. You get six conservatives to talk about the stimulus – you’ll get six variations like the one CNN cited between Crowley and Moore.

        2. CNN had four well-known reporters attend an event at the home of the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton.

        3. They still have one Fareed Zakaria on their payroll. Quite frankly, the hypocrisy is pretty rank from that agency.

  2. zoebrain

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/07/us-ethics-office-struggled-to-gain-access-to-trump-team-emails-show.html .

    The office tasked with overseeing ethics and conflicts in the federal government struggled to gain access to leaders of the Trump transition team, and warned Trump aides about making decisions on nominees or blind trusts without ethics guidance, according to new emails obtained by MSNBC.

    Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub emailed Trump aides in November to lament that despite his office’s repeated outreach, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.”

    Trump aides may also be risking “embarrassment for the President-elect,” Shaub warned, by “announcing cabinet picks” without letting the ethics office review their financial information in advance.

    The perils for White House staff were even more severe, Shaub argued, because they might begin their jobs without crucial ethics guidance, raising a risk of inadvertently breaking federal rules.

    Wrong.

    This regime is immune to embarassment.

    As for regulations and laws – who’s going to prosecute? Any law too inconvenient will just get changed, but mostly, just ignored. Laws are for the little people. As are taxes.

    I don’t think you realise what the situation is now, Jack, despite having piece after piece of evidence. Those just get written off as “political attacks,”.

    The anonymous poster above has it right. For whatever reason, an imperfect MSM that has increasingly been wrong or biased more than an acceptable percent of the time, so has lost trust, or a professional con artist machine expert in the use of repeating blatant lies in order to obfuscate and confuse, ( or the combination IMHO ) but both you and much of your commentariat seem to be under the mistaken impression that tradition, convention, and “political realities” will limit the regime’s actions.

    FDR put those under considerable strain, but since then, they have held. No longer. All Pence’s nominees are being rammed through in a week without time for debate, and ethical issues that appear afterwards will be ignored as moot.

    Time to think the unthinkable. Actually, long past time.

    • Patrice

      Jack, I know you think we’re alarmists, but I agree with Zoebrain. Rules, traditions, conventions didn’t apply to these people during the campaign. Why should they start to matter now?

      • 1. There are good traditions and outdated ones. Iconoclasts have their uses.
        2. Nothing wrong with being alarmed. Panic, hysteria and delusion are problematic and counter-productive.
        3. Ironic statement, since the inaugeration is a traditional national ceremony of unity and pride, and Trump’s opponents are trying to disrupt that. The rules are that that the electoral college elects the President, and Trump’s foes wanted to overturn THAT.
        4. Presidents always break traditions (JFK refused to wear a hat.)…the trick is breaking the right ones.
        5. Rules are more troubling, of course. I found Obama’s refusal to defend the laws of the US when he didn’t allow Justice to defend DOMA is a law suit very troubling. Traditions? Attacking SCOTUS while it was deliberating on the ACA was a direct attack on Separation of Powers. Most of the critics of Trump didn’t mind those breaches, which is why I regard their criticism now as a double standard at work. But if Trump is going to defend breaches, it has to be better than the stupid defense of Crowley.

        • zoebrain

          A few posts past, you asked what the response to Trump’s tweets should be.

          There’s a new app, on iOS only at the moment, which warns when Trump tweets about any of a list if firms the user has stock in.

          Three times now, we’ve seen the same pattern. Exactly 10 minutes before a Trump tweet that will cause a stock to tank, a huge spike in trading, selling short. It ceases exactly one minute before the tweet. On the dot, so it’s a bot.

          Those on the inside make a killing, this app just reduces the losses fir others.

          Some traditions – the pardoning of the Christmas Turkey for example – are inconsequential. No doubt some are harmful. But this kind of used food should be beneath the dignity of any politician outside a banana republic, and even kleptocrats usually have the decency to try to conceal it.

          Other traditions are even more important, but I don’t think this regime respects any of them.

    • Glenn Logan

      Your parroting of Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Obama’s administration as “the regime” when referring to the president-elect is pretty amusing. It also makes it hard to take your comments seriously. Perhaps you should rethink that construction — I admit, a copycat isn’t as bad as a plagiarist, but it’s still pretty weak.

      I also wonder what “the unthinkable” you refer to is? That we have a 12-year old for a president in a 70-year old body? That ship has sailed, I’m afraid.

      As far as appointing the best people, does it really surprise anyone that Trump’s idea of what constitute the “best” and that of almost every other person with an IQ above room temperature don’t exactly match?

  3. Why shouldn’t Trump’s enemies *want* Crowley to stay on staff? All the better and faster to enable bringing down his whole Trumpatollah regime.

    Where is the proof that Crowley’s “plagiarism” is not actually the prose of her origin, plagiarized by the authors she is allegedly plagiarizing?

    What’s to believe or trust anymore? Maybe Trump just wants the best plagiarizer. That would still place Crowley among the “best people.”

    (I had to write the above this morning, just to make myself chuckle.)

  4. Chase Davidson

    Even if she didn’t plagarize, would Monica Crowley really be the ‘best people’? Particularly for a National Security post? What expertise does she have?

    If anything, this makes her MORE qualified, because she can plagarize someone more knowledgeable about NatSec.

  5. Other Bill

    Even if she didn’t plagarize, would Monica Crowley really be the ‘best people’?

    Took the words out of my mouth. National Security? A news reader?

  6. Emily

    To be totally fair, Crowley being unethical in this particular way means we have literally no idea how smart she is. She might be a genius with an understanding of how to achieve world peace with a coffee maker. We don’t know because she didn’t care to write her own ideas.

    I wouldn’t put money on it, though.

    I’m a writer myself, and nothing makes me more angry than plagiarism. A lot of non-writers see it on par with copyright violation, but it’s far worse. There are ethical/philosophical arguments that can be made about intellectual property law and its place in a world of digital media, instant communication and distribution, and international connectedness. But those arguments *depend* on recognizing the importance of clear and correct attribution for an ethical basis.

    In the case of plagiarism, not only is the work of other writers stolen, but the readers of that work are being defrauded into thinking the plagiarist wrote it. Reputations are being stolen to give the plagiarist a better one.

    You’re right, Jack. It is signature significance.

  7. “Is this cretinous statement arguing that plagiarism doesn’t matter if the resulting book sells? That’s both consequentialism and the ends justifies the means—this is the ethics Sahara desert we’re trekking through.”

    This is Trump’s world, where “It’s better for Donald that way” is the whole of the law. Trump doesn’t care about ethics or tradition or anything except his own power and wealth, but he’ll happily use them against you if he can.

  8. I suspect someone will tell me it’s been going on much, much longer, but I see the real beginning as coinciding with the start of this last American election cycle, and this woman is just another of the “poster-children” for the War on Information that is now being waged all over the so-called Free World. To truly butcher an old saying, “In the land of liars, the plagiarizer’s Queen”.

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