Trump campaign's double standard showcased on yet another level as plagiarism is connected to Melania Trump speech at Republican convention
When it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, it is one thing for his supporters to want change.
It is another to follow him so blindly that you ignore his double standard, whereas a mistake or mis-step by Democrat presidential presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton is bad and a mistake by Trump and his campaign isn’t that big a deal.
The lack of civility during the first night of the Republican National Convention on Monday was concerning, highlighted by the anger and meanness of the routine chants of “lock her up” whenever Clinton’s name was mentioned.
Capping this fear and doom theme the first night of the Republican convention was the obvious plagiarism by Trump’s wife Melania Trump of first lady Michelle Obama’s convention speech of 2008. And again, the Trump campaign and its surrogates continue to perpetuate the double standard that routinely is a part of their campaign.
Normally, when reporting plagiarism you call it alleged plagiarism. But as CNN morning news anchor Chris Cuomo said Tuesday, this goes beyond being alleged with the constant side-by-side comparisons by the media visually showing the word-for-word similarities through videos and in print.
Plagiarism, despite what Trump’s surrogates profess as a minor blip in the campaign, is a serious matter.
I have been a reporter for 37 years. I have seen colleagues, good friends, have their careers ruined for plagiarism.
Sure, Hillary Clinton has her own baggage to carry and overcome in this presidential campaign. But Trump’s double standard enhances his many negatives, from his authoritarian demeanor, his lack of direction and focus when it comes to a clear and understandable philosophy, and his consistent unpredictability and negative tone whenever he is in front of a microphone or sends out a Tweet.
Plagiarism is plagiarism, whether it is done intentionally or by mistake.
Plagiarism is plagiarism, even when it comes from the Trump campaign.
I doubt very much that Melania Trump wrote most of her speech. In retrospect, she actually did a great job presenting the speech.
But again, plagiarism is plagiarism. The Trump campaign and its speech writer need to own up to what was lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech.
Trump’s double standard has been a constant part of his campaign. During a recent CBS 60 Minutes joint interview with Trump and vice president pick Governor Mike Pence, the Iraq war came up. Trump has repeatedly chastised Clinton for voting for the war and it was pointed out Pence voted for the war too. Trump’s response was “I don’t care” and “he’s entitled to make a mistake.”
The double standard becomes more concerning when you see educated people ignore or downplay the severity of plagiarism.
Attribution is the one thing that makes plagiarism moot. If Melania Trump had attributed the portions of her speech lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech and said something like “Michelle Obama once said, and I agree, that….”, it would have raised some eyebrows but Melania Trump would have been okay.
Folks, this is Journalism 101 - It only takes one or two sentences or just a few words pulled from one source and attached to your content to produce plagiarism, especially when there is proof and evidence it came from another source. People over the years have been sued for less than what was plagiarized in Melania Trump’s speech and it could include copyright infringement.
Imagine if someone attached to Hilary Clinton’s campaign was nabbed for plagiarism. How quick would that Donald Trump Tweet be posted to vilify Hilary Clinton?
It likely wouldn’t happen, but Michelle Obama would certainly have a good case if she ever decided to sue the Trump campaign for plagiarism.
This brings me back to where I started this PoliBlog.
Yearning for change is one thing. But to follow Trump so blindly and ignore the obvious problem here makes you wonder where the future of this country is headed, especially with the Republican party. The constant anger displayed throughout the Republican convention on Monday was also scary.
When you have a member of the RNC rules committee come on CNN and totally deny any sense of plagiarism, when Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort blames Hillary Clinton for the plagiarism issue, there is a problem.
The way most of his surrogates are reacting to this plagiarism issue, their dismissal of the issue, it makes you wonder. Trump was probably right during one of his primary rallies when he said his followers are so loyal he could go on Fifth Avenue, shoot someone, and he wouldn’t lose any voters.
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter at the New Haven Register for 36 years.