I haven’t swan dived into the Great Blogging Ethics Debate, as Cynthia Webb calls it in the Washington Post, because it seems pretty obvious to me: Sean-Paul Kelley is a liar, a plagiarist, and an embarrassment to the blogging community.
In case you have been watching a war or something, here are the basics as conveyed by Webb:
- Sean-Paul Kelley, a Texas blogger who admitted to Wired that he copied material from a subscription service for his popular war blog, The Agonist. Kelley lifted verbatim material from Stratfor, a Texas-based intelligence firm, apparently to jazz up his own war posting and to curry favor with potential intelligence sources.
My bud Ken Layne (hi Ken, how’s Reno?) kicks his skeevy ass here, Meryl Yourish climbs in and sets off a few depth charges, Glenn Reynolds was never taken in by the pud in the first place because he didn’t cite sources – duh, mainstream media that sucked up to this fraud.
I don’t care if you call blogging journalism or not, the bottom line is trust. You can rant and rave all you want, and toss the occasional hyperbolic slander in there too, if you feel like it, as long as it is clear you are expressing your bloggy opinion. BUT anytime you quote, anytime you borrow, anytime you gain information you wouldn’t otherwise have, YOU MUST CREDIT YOUR SOURCE, and if you are working online, throw in the courtesy of a link – it is our oxygen.
I can’t believe there is even a question about this: you steal words or information without an attribution and a link, you are a plagiarist and a dickhead. There is no cheating in the long-, or even medium-, run on the Internet because bloggers will, as the great Ken Layne spaketh, FACT-CHECK YOUR ASS.