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Did Editor & Publisher Plagiarize Perrspectives?

June 24, 2005

Question: What would be more ironic than George W. Bush's 2000 promise to to "uphold the honor and dignity" of the White House?
Answer: For Editor & Publisher magazine, "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry", to publish a column possibly plagiarized from a one-year old blog.
That may be exactly what has happened to Perrspectives. On Monday, June 20, 2005, Perrspectives published a piece titled "DC Dick and Baghdad Bob", comparing the Dick Cheney's statements on Iraq to those of Saddam's Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf. Four days later, on June 24th, E&P Editor Greg Mitchell published a column titled "Is Dick Cheney the New 'Baghdad Bob'?", comparing the Dick Cheney's statements on Iraq to those of Saddam's Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf.
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In Mr. Mitchell's defense, this could merely be a case of great minds thinking alike, a harmonic convergence or cosmic coincidence. Beyond the titles, the similarities between the two pieces are, however, quite striking:
Perrspectives (6/20) on the Dick Cheney/Baghdad Bob parallel:

The magnitude of Cheney's outrageous attacks and staggering deceptions about the situation on the ground in Iraq brings to mind another recent government spokesman. The spokesman? Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Saddam's former Iraqi Minister of Information, also known as "Baghdad Bob."

Editor & Publisher (6/24) on the Dick Cheney/Baghdad Bob parallel:

Is it just me, or is Vice President Cheney, who repeated Thursday that the Iraq insurgency is in its final throes, starting to sound like former Saddam spokesman, "Baghdad Bob"? Is it time to start calling him "D.C. Dick"?

Perrspectives (6/20) on Baghdad Bob quote attribution:

All Baghdad Bob quotes courtesy of We Love The Iraqi Information

Editor and Publisher (6/24) on Baghdad Bob quote attribution:

Here are a few Baghdad Bob classics from the spring of 2003 (courtesy of one of his Web shrines, We Love the Iraqi Information Minister), verbatim.

It is worth noting Cheney's duplicity and dissembling on Iraq could easily bring to Baghdad Bob to mind for many Americans. But it is also worth noting that the popular Wonkette ran a snippet about the "DC Dick and Baghdad Bob" piece on the same day (6/20) it appeared on Perrspectives:
"Remainders: One Way Or Another Edition" (Wonkette, 6/20/05)
"Who's your Baghdaddy? []"
In his June 24th piece, Greg Mitchell asks, "Is it just me, or is Vice President Cheney starting to sound like another balding, rose-colored-glasses wearing, war spokesman, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, better known as "Baghdad Bob'?"
No, Greg, it's not just you. Hopefully, it will turn out that many people had the same idea; you just wrote about it later than some of them.
UPDATE: No response yet from E&P, but Kagro X of The Next Hurrah rightly points out several Dick Cheney-Baghdad Bob comparisons predating my own, including the Washington Post (6/2), Juan Cole in Salon (6/9) and even Arab News (6/3). While Perrspectives may have been early with "DC Dick", it was clearly not with the genre overall.

One comment on “Did Editor & Publisher Plagiarize Perrspectives?”

  1. Not just any Dick Cheney but "The Dick Cheney"?
    I do have to chuckle at the irony of your allegation if it is true. While I see similarities they don't
    seem quite identical.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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