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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Maybe Rand Paul should go back to plagiarism

Daily Beast: Senator Rand Paul gave his first major speech in the wake of a recent plagiarism scandal Tuesday to cadets at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. But while his staff added 33 footnotes to the publicly released version of his speech about U.S. foreign policy, just because everything was correctly cited didn’t necessarily make it accurate.

The Kentucky senator’s speech included extensive citations in the wake of Paul being exposed as a serial plagiarizer by a number of outlets including Buzzfeed and MSNBC. In his defense, Paul initially dismissed these concerns as attacks from “haters.” But, after losing his column from the Washington Times, Paul acknowledged that “mistakes” were made and said he would restructure his office.

The restructuring seemed to be effective so far in that the content of Paul’s speech was entirely original. But, some of the arguments that the Kentucky senator made did not match the facts associated with his own footnotes.
If you ask me, this is actually worse than the plagiarism scandal. Paul’s using footnotes as cover to pull “facts” out of his ass and hopes no one will check. Where as plagiarism as Paul used it was basically just intellectual laziness, this is a conscious effort to mislead. It’s like if I said, “The facts show that Rand Paul had his brain replaced with a turnip after a motorcycle accident in 1995 (see Wikipedia, “Turnip”).” If you check, you’ll find plenty about turnips, but nothing about Rand Paul’s brain. What I told you was a lie and I’m just using the phony citation to make it seem extra truthy.

In his case, Rand cites articles about Egypt to claim the Obama administration sent weapons to the Egypt’s military government, something the articles themselves say nothing about. And the silence on the subject is entirely because the claim is simply not true. It never happened. Rand Paul is a liar, as unsurprising as that fact may be, whether he has a turnip for a brain or not.

Of course, the press will give him a pass on this. Pretending you wrote something that is actually true is a scandal, making up your own lies is just politics as usual.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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