The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Troubling Similarities’: Politico Reporter Kendra Marr Fired for Plagiarism

Posted on | October 14, 2011 | 12 Comments

A New York Times reporter raised hell when he saw his work recycled at Politico:

Late in the evening of Wednesday, October 12, the writer of a  piece about transportation policy published in the New York Times e-mailed one of our senior editors about potential problems with a piece on the same subject  that was published in POLITICO. Early Thursday morning, editors here compared  the pieces, and did see some similarities in phrasing. These were troubling  enough to warrant further examination of reporter Kendra Marr’s work.
This examination produced other examples of stories on transportation issues  that bore troubling similarities to work earlier published by others. Some of  these examples involved specific turns of phrase or passages that bore close  resemblance to work published elsewhere. Others involved similarities in the way  stories were organized to present their findings. . . .
Material published in our pages borrowed from the  work of others, without attribution, in ways which we cannot defend and will not  tolerate.

Marr actually was asked to resign, but “fired” fit better in the headline. Betsy Rothstein at Fishbowl DC gives the background:

The news is weighing hard on Politico executives. Marr was a beloved reporter in the newsroom. Even in their Editor’s note they refer to her as a “friend.” She was conscientious, solid. She wasn’t known to be among Politico‘s rock stars, but as a former reporter for WaPo whose work has appeared in The Orange County Register, San Jose Mercury News and The Miami Herald, she had a bright future. Now, we’re told, her career in Washington journalism is effectively over.

She was “beloved.” Thief. She was a “friend.” Thief. She was “conscientious.” Thief. “She had a bright future.” Thief.

Plagiarism is an attempt to take credit for someone else’s work. It is an act of selfishness and sloth, because nothing is easier than the act of basic courtesy involved in giving credit where credit is due. (Thanks to Jeff Quinton for the tip, by the way.)

Somewhere along the way to becoming “a beloved reporter” at Politico, Kendra Marr started getting away with thievery. It is quite likely she committed minor acts of plagiarism while at the Washington Post and didn’t caught, so that dishonesty became a habit, and she continued doing it until she did get caught.

And now her “bright future” is spoken of in the past tense.


12 Responses to “‘Troubling Similarities’: Politico Reporter Kendra Marr Fired for Plagiarism”

  1. Anonymous
    October 14th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    I get only about halfway through your articles now thanks to the, um, healthy woman in the “3 Foods Never To Eat!” advertisement. A bit of a distraction, that is.

  2. Mr. Michael
    October 14th, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    This should go deeper than just one reporter… everybody over at Politico reads the news… they are all writers.   They are the ‘experts’… the ones who saw this behavior going on and did nothing.

    What do you call somebody who knows of a theft, yet promote the thief?   Unless the staff come out and proclaim that they were living in some sort of Eric Holder like bubble where they not only did not edit her articles, and did not read the New York Times, this should reflect on the entire Politico enterprise.

    Yeah, I’m not very forgiving of Plagiarism, am I. 

  3. Anonymous
    October 14th, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

    So what about collaboration among peers via JournoList Version 2.whatever? Plagiarism or unity for “the Cause”?

  4. Anonymous
    October 14th, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    What’s even worse if you click on the ad there aren’t any more pictures.

  5. Charles
    October 14th, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    There’s always a bright future for committing minor acts of plagiarism at the Washington Post.

  6. Adjoran
    October 15th, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    You can bet that if Michelle Bachmann had lifted a line from an old speech by Lady Thatcher, the sharp eyes at Politico would have caught THAT.

    But remember, their editors don’t see their job as reporting news accurately.  Their job is defending Obama and Democrats at all costs.

    If they gave a rat’s patootie about accuracy or following the rules of publishing or reporting, they wouldn’t have all been been on the news-twisting Journ-O-List.

  7. Adjoran
    October 15th, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    More like, “no honor among thieves.”

  8. elaine
    October 15th, 2011 @ 1:16 am

    I knew a lefty who ended our acquaintance after I dared to disagree with her.  The same lefty had another acquaintance who plagiarized her work, and she kept him as a friend.

    So, for lefties, being a plagiarist is a way less terrible sin than disagreeing with them…

  9. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 3:44 am

    Joe Biden just called.  He says careful, non-cited reproduction of the work of others is proof of a keen mind at work.  You don’t get to be Obama’s VP without pushing the boundaries a bit.

  10. james lagnese
    October 15th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    Now she gets to spend more time with family. Too bad Doris Goodwin Kerns didn’t get the same treatment. 

  11. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    Who does she think she is, Ben Domenech or something?

  12. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    That plagiarism was likely the most honest thing happening at Politico, a suckass media outlet if there ever was  one. 

    Sometimes minor infractions are punished because they can be identified and measured, while major infractions go unredressed. E.g., some people can drive alright at .008 blood alcohol, but because that level is measurable, they will suffer a criminal conviction.  But because there is no simple biological test for being very tired, that is not an independent criminal offense, and some very dangerous drivers go unpunished.

    Plagiarism is easily verified & measurable; Politico’s pervasive and all-encompasing bias is not.