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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/31/17

CNN Flimflams Audience with Tenuous Allegations of Plagiarism

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Editorial practices don't usually garner headlines nationally. But they did when David Clarke, the Milwaukee county sheriff, was rumored to be joining the Trump administration. CNN published an extensive analysis taking Clarke to task for his editorial handling of quoted material. The examples come from his master's thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School.

For Instance

One example cited by CNN is a quotation from professor Erik Dahl writing in Homeland Security Affairs journal. Here is Dahl's original statement:

"There is good news here: this domestic intelligence system appears to have been successful in increasing security within the US, as demonstrated by numerous foiled terrorist plots and the lack of another major successful attack on American soil since 9/11. But there is also bad news: these gains are coming at the cost of increasing domestic surveillance and at the risk of civil liberties."

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Clarke handled it this way:

"The author writes that the domestic intelligence system appears to have been successful in increasing security within the U.S., but that the gains are coming at the cost of ever-increasing domestic surveillance and at the risk of civil liberties."

Clarke's text is followed by a footnote (Eric J. Dahl, "Domestic Intelligence Today: More Security but Less Liberty?" Homeland Security Affairs, [September 2011], l.org/?view&did=691059.). But the absence of quotation marks makes it hard to differentiate Clarke's voice from that of Dahl. A paraphrase and a quote were mashed together. Clarke also gratuitously added emphasis to Dahl's reference to "increasing domestic surveillance" by calling it "ever-increasing domestic surveillance."

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A Better Approach

Clarke would have better served his readers with:

"The author writes that the 'domestic intelligence system appears to have been successful in increasing security within the U.S., but that the 'gains are coming at the cost of increasing domestic surveillance and at the risk of civil liberties.' This cost is ever-increasing in this writer's view."

And More

In another passage Clarke writes:

"The war-fighting approach allows for the use of any and all means of intelligence gathering with little attention paid to safeguarding rights to privacy and other civil liberties."

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He follows that with a footnote to the source. But it is instantly unclear to the reader whether this is a quote or a paraphrase. Here's what the source actually said:

"Moreover, this strategy allows for the use of any and all means of intelligence gathering without the need to safeguard rights to privacy or other civil liberties, as it usually targets noncitizens in the territory of foreign countries."

Clarke could have written:

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William Dunkerley Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

William Dunkerley is author of the books "Litvinenko Murder Case Solved," "The Phony Litvinenko Murder," "Ukraine in the Crosshairs," and "Medvedev's Media Affairs," all published by Omnicom Press. He is a media business analyst and consultant (more...)
 

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