Reaction to the Monica Crowley Plagiarism Story (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Politico found multiple instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s PhD dissertation.
………….
Recently, Donald Trump named former Fox News talking head Monica Crowley to be his Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council. Then yesterday CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski published an expose of 50 instances of plagiarism in her 2012 book What the Bleep Just Happened Here? As disclosed in the CNN report, the transition team — who has another credibility problem on the team (Darrell Scott’s fake PhD) — came to Crowley’s defense:

Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said. “HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.

Kaczynski’s research is impressive. There are long passages lifted from Wikipedia, Investopedia, and even her colleagues at the National Review. Comparing Crowley with Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism, I have to give an award to Crowley. Her plagiarism is extensive and involves numerous sources. Crowley has a PhD from Columbia and definitely should know better. On point, Bill Adair, professor at Duke University tweeted:


Because Crowley has academic training, I wonder if she had a ghostwriter involved who was simply sloppy. More broadly, I think the blame has to be spread out to anyone who was involved in writing and publishing the book, most notably her editors at HarperCollins.  The book acknowledgments section tells us who might also be able to explain what happened.
Crowley Ackn
National Review 
There are several ties to the National Review in this story which make it important for that publication to provide an official response. Crowley appears to have lifted work from writer Andrew McCarthy and editor Rich Lowry. Crowley’s “first-rate” editor Jessica Gavora has written for National Review and is the wife of NR columnist Jonah Goldberg. McCarthy already replied in a very charitable manner on Twitter:


At least her sources are “whip smart.”
One problem with plagiarism, especially this extensive, is that it perpetrates a fraud. Is Crowley really capable of great work or is she simply pretending? Daily Beast writer Brandy Zadrozny articulates this problem in her response to the Trump team statement.


Crowley has yet to comment (as far as I can determine) but barring some incredible explanation, these instances of plagiarism should disqualify her from the public trust, at least at present. Having said that, I would be surprised if the Trump team takes any principled action.

Did Hillary Clinton Plagiarize Alexis de Tocqueville?

Tonight in her speech, Hillary Clinton said:

But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump…This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.

Did she plagiarize de Tocqueville? No, because de Tocqueville didn’t say that. According John Pitney in the Weekly Standard:

These lines are uplifting and poetic. They are also spurious. Nowhere do they appear in Democracy in America, or anywhere else in Tocqueville.

Read Pitney’s explanation at the Weekly Standard. Quick, Twitter’s going crazy over it.
Now having established that, can we talk about Bonhoeffer author Eric Metaxas tweeting a spurious Bonhoeffer quote to promote Christians voting for Donald Trump?

Citation Error in Sutton Turner's Book Invest? (UPDATED with reply from Mars Hill Church)

While Mark Driscoll has garnered much attention regarding his citation errors (e.g., plagiarism, factual errors, inadequate citations), Driscoll’s assistant and fellow executive elder may also need to do some correcting. In chapter four of his book, Invest, Turner lists differences between a job and a ministry:

  • If you want praise and recognition for what you do, it’s a job. If no one else besides Jesus needs to commend your work, it’s ministry.
  • If you do the job as long as it does not cut into other things (such as hobbies, family activities, etc.), it’s a job. If you are willing to make sacrifices in your personal schedule, it’s ministry.
  • If you compare your lot with others who have more free time, more money, and more possessions, it’s a job. If you pray for others rather than compete with them, it’s ministry.
  • If it bothers you when the phone rings on evenings and weekends, it’s a job. If you see random calls at odd hours as opportunities to serve with joy, it’s ministry.
  • If you want to quit because the work is too hard, the pressure is too great, or your performance is criticized, it’s a job. If you stick it out—until Jesus clearly tells you that it’s time to move on—it’s ministry.
  • If you use the church as a stepping-stone, a payday, or a gold star on your résumé, it’s a job. If you’re working for the church because you love Jesus and you want more people to meet him, get saved, and be transformed, then it’s ministry.
  • Turner, Sutton (2013-12-16). Invest: Your Gifts for His Mission (Kindle Location 673). Resurgence Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Compare Turner’s list in his 2013 book with this list from a 1999 sermon by Mickey Anders.

Someone has said there is a huge difference between having a job at church and having a ministry at church.
… If you are doing it because no one else will, it’s a job. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.
… If you’re doing it just well enough to get by, it’s a job. If you’re doing it to the best of your ability, it’s a ministry.
… If you’ll do it only so long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities, it’s a job. If you’re committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.
… It’s hard to get excited about a job. It’s almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.
An average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great church is filled with people involved in ministry.
Dr. Mickey Anders,
Sermon: “The Beginning of Ministry,” First Christian Church, Pikeville, Kentucky January 24, 1999

There are other lists attributed to Anders and very nearly the same list also attributed to a Melody Blevins.  Anders was, until recently, affiliated with the South Elkhorn Christian Church in Lexington, KY. Many lists like this are printed without attribution and often add something to Anders list (although I have no way of knowing what was in Anders original list). Take this one for instance:

Is it a Job or a Ministry?
Some people have a job in the church. Others get involved in a ministry.
What’s The Difference?
If you’re doing it because no one else will, it’s a job.
If you’re doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.
If you’ll do it so long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities it’s a job.
If you’re committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.
If you quit because no one praised or thanked you, it was a job.
If you stayed with it even though no one seems to notice, it’s a ministry.
It is hard to get excited about a job.
It is almost impossible not to be excited about a ministry.
If your concern is “success”, it’s a job.
If your concern is “faithfulness”, it’s a ministry.
An average church is filled with people doing jobs.
A great church is filled with people who are involved in ministries!

The list attributed to Melody Blevins has similar points:

A JOB OR A MINISTRY – by Melody Blevins
Some people have a JOB in the church; others involve themselves in a MINISTRY. What’s the difference? If you are doing it just because no one else will, it’s a JOB. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a MINISTRY. If you quit because someone criticized you, it was a JOB. If you keep on serving, it’s a MINISTRY. If you’ll do it only so long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it’s a JOB. If you are committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a MINISTRY. If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it is a JOB. If you stay with it even though nobody recognizes your efforts, it’s a MINISTRY. It’s hard to get excited about a JOB. It’s almost impossible not to be excited about a MINISTRY. If our concern is success, it’s a JOB. If our concern is faithfulness, it’s a MINISTRY. An average church is filled with people doing JOBS. A great and growing church is filled with people involved in MINISTRY. Where do we fit in? What about us? If God calls you to a MINISTRY, don’t treat it like a JOB. If you have a JOB, give it up and find a MINISTRY. God does not want us feeling stuck with a JOB, but excited and faithful to Him in MINISTRY.

The lists are not identical but they seem similar enough that attribution certainly would be appropriate. At least one reviewer of the book took the list to be original with Turner.
This list or construction might not be original with either Anders or Blevins, but the point is that it does not appear to be original with Turner. Various lists like this have gotten passed around the web since the early days. It didn’t take me long to find two possible authors but no one is cited in Invest. When in doubt, an author should footnote and describe where the material was discovered. An author can adapt material but this should be noted in a footnote.
I have asked Sutton Turner for comment and will report if he replies. Perhaps this is a rare coincidence. However, the Blevins/Anders lists clearly predate Invest, and unless another explanation is offered appear to be the basis for this section of Turner’s book.
UPDATE: Both Sutton Turner and Communications Director Justin Dean responded to my request for comment. Turner took the request seriously and replied that he would correct the problems identified when the book was reprinted. Justin Dean also wrote to say:

We are looking into the best way to cite this in the footnotes and will update the book upon reprint. I don’t have any other information about this right now but we will look into it and make any changes necessary.

His answer was in response to my question about the nature of the error. Did Turner use material he knew wasn’t his or was it an oversight? I am still not clear on this but I can say that it was refreshing to get a serious respectful reply.

Yet Another Citation Error in Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage

Pubishers have three options when plagiarism and/or errors are discovered. Such problems can be ignored, corrected or in extreme cases the book can be pulled from publication. In the case of David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies, there were so many errors that correction was not a viable option so the book was pulled by publisher Thomas Nelson. In the case of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage, Thomas Nelson elected to correct the errors. I found several such errors in Real Marriage, most of which Thomas Nelson corrected (e.g., here).
An error I did not find was identified by Peter Lumpkins when Real Marriage was released in January 2012. I recently learned of this error and plan to add it to my grid of other problems.  In summary, Lumpkins discovered that Driscoll added a word to a quote as if the word was a part of the original quote. The quote was sourced properly but Driscoll added a word to make it more supportive of his premise.
 
On page 172 in Real Marriage, Driscoll says the following:
RealMarriageOSLongman
 
The lengthy quote is from Tremper Longman’s book on Song of Solomon and is footnoted. However, in Longman’s book, as Lumpkin demonstrates, the word “oral” is not a part of the quote.  Longman says: “Thus, this may be a subtle and tasteful allusion to the intimacies of sex.” (p. 195).
In another place in Real Marriage (p. 186), the same sentence is cited but the word “oral” is in brackets. This is a better practice but given that the word is unbracketed here, many readers would probably believe the the exact quote is as Driscoll presented it.
Lumpkins discovered another problem but it appears that the publisher corrected it. Go read his post for the details.

Former Colleague Provides Evidence Mark Driscoll Plagiarized Material in Two Books

In 2004, Zondervan published The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out by Mark Driscoll. In 2006, they published Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church. In these books, among other things, Driscoll addressed the relationships between the Gospel, the church, and culture. In The Radical Reformission, he borrowed a graphic from a book edited by George Hunsberger which indicates a reciprocal relationship between the three spheres. In addition, he outlined how leaving out any one of the spheres could lead to a negative result.
For instance, if a ministry offers the Gospel to the culture but bypasses the church, a parachurch ministry results. If a mission involves the church and the Gospel without considering culture, the result is legalism or fundamentalism. If the church and culture are prominent but the Gospel is neglected, then liberalism results. Finally, the biblical approach is to give weight to culture, church and the Gospel.
Driscoll’s formula has been cited by other church planters and authors since then. However, according to a former close colleague, Ron Wheeler, Driscoll lifted those concepts from work Wheeler did while developing the first Acts29 Network church plant in Mt. Vernon, WA — The Gathering. Wheeler was in the room when the Acts29 Network was organized and spent much time with Driscoll in the early days of Mars Hill Church. From Wheeler, I obtained the following page taken from an   in-house church document. See especially the bottom of the page where the relationship between church, culture and the Gospel are outlined.
RonWheelerGospelCultureChurch
 
Compare this page with several pages (19-22) in Driscoll’s book The Radical Reformission (the material in Confessions is very similar):
ReformissionRev1a
Note that Driscoll credits Hunsberger for the image which Wheeler acknowledged elsewhere in the document came from various Gospel and Our Culture Network’s materials. However, there is no credit for Wheeler in this book or in Confessions of a Reformssion Rev, another Driscoll book which refers to Wheeler’s formula.
ReformissionRev2a
ReformissionRev3a
ReformissionRev4a
 
Wheeler told me that he began teaching this material in 2003 and that Mark Driscoll did not cite another source since he heard it from Wheeler. I have both books and I can find no reference to Wheeler. Wheeler added that Driscoll called him the night before the Radical Reformission book released to inform him the material was going to be in the book. Wheeler said:

As far as the phone conversation, Mark called and basically said “my book Radical Reformission is being released tomorrow and I don’t remember if I asked you or not, but I used your parachurch, fundamentalism and liberalism categories on the gospel/church/culture model. Thanks bro.

Looks like I will need to update my chart of other citation errors and plagiarism.
Wheeler added that he thinks Driscoll may have taken advantage of the fact that Wheeler was younger and a subordinate to Driscoll. Wheeler eventually brought charges against Driscoll to the board of the Acts29 Network regarding a pattern of abusive behavior he said he experienced with Driscoll. According to Wheeler, the board did not take his charges seriously. In fact, all of the board at the time may not have seen the charges. According to Wheeler, some of the board members later told him his letter was never seen by the board.
In any case, Wheeler told me that he is stepping forward now because he hopes his former mentor will take the public outcry seriously and move toward change. “After going to Mark and others, I hope the weight of all of these things I am bringing forward will cause Mark to listen and change,” Wheeler said.
I emailed Mars Hill Church early Wednesday and asked for comment or other response to these claims with no response.

CNN Fires Editor Over Multiple Instances of Plagiarism

It is becoming plagiarism Friday. See these previous posts.
Today CNN announced the ouster of Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former editor who wrote mainly about international news. According to an Editor’s note on the CNN website, CNN discovered about 50 articles with plagiarized material. According to the Washington Post, there were 128 separate instances of plagiarized material in those 50 articles. The investigation is ongoing.
Some articles have been completely removed. Some, like this one on the crisis in Ukraine, contain a disclaimer at the end of the article:

Editors’ Note: This article has been edited to remove plagiarized content after CNN discovered multiple instances of plagiarism by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former CNN news editor.

I have not been able to track down pre-edited versions of these articles to see what material was lifted from another source. The several articles I have located are not available on the Wayback Machine or in Google cache.
Gumuchian might have been better off to write for a Christian publisher. Especially if she had a large media buying audience, she might have gotten off by saying “mistakes were made.
 
 
 

On Being a Ghostwriter Without Knowing It

Comedian Danny Murphy today relates a story of having some of his material end up in several sources without attribution.
He provided detail about his interactions with magachurch pastor Craig Groeschel. Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv, modified the material for use in a book on marriage. That first book went out of print but a newer book still includes the material and the publisher did make the correction.
Murphy learned of the situation through listening to a sermon where the preacher quoted his material. When Murphy told the pastor about the citation, the pastor didn’t believe him!

Et tu, Challies? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Tim Challies responded here in the comments, at Collin Garbarino’s blog, and added a comment on the Teresa of Avila post:

Note: Readers pointed out that initially I did not properly cite Wikipedia’s entry on Teresa of Avila; I appreciate having that pointed out and added a footnote as appropriate. It was clearly marked as a quote in my research notes but that did not make it to the article. As for the general tone of the article, it is meant to be informational more than biographical, by which I mean I do not provide exhaustive information about the false teachers; most of my interest is in the false teaching. Of course this does not excuse sloppy or inaccurate information and this article did not adhere to the standards I would want it to. I am traveling this week and, being away from my usual routines and my usual reference works, allowed myself to be sloppy in both research and writing. It would have been far better to save this for another week and to ensure it was of better quality. I will attempt to revisit this article soon and to do a better job of it. For the next few days I am in Australia preaching two to three times a day and I need to prioritize that (I’d really appreciate your prayers in this time as I have not adjusted well to the fourteen time-zone difference and am extremely tired); I will return to the article after I return to Canada. In the meantime, please do forgive me for my sloppiness.

Challies also said he would speak to David Kjos about his response to Collin.
————————– (Original post starts here)——————————
There is a little dust up happening at Tim Challies blog surrounding plagiarism and Protestant-Catholic disputes.
Collin Garbarino has the story:

Challies is in the middle of a series on false teachers. Some of the posts are helpful, some less so. This morning’s post was less so.
In this morning’s post, he denounces the mysticism of Teresa of Ávila. I’m not a fan of Theresa’s writings, but even so I was disappointed with Challies’s lack of engagement with her texts. It was as if he had never even held one of her books in his hand.
And then I started Googling.
It turns out that he copied and pasted, with slight rewording, a section of the Wikipedia entry on Teresa.

You’ll need to go to Collin’s post to read the comparison between Challies summary of Teresa of Avila’s views and the Wikipedia entry but Collin is right, they are nearly the same. For instance, Wikipedia’s entry says:

The “devotion of union” is not only a supernatural but an essentially ecstatic state. Here there is also an absorption of the reason in God, and only the memory and imagination are left to ramble. This state is characterized by a blissful peace, a sweet slumber of at least the higher soul faculties, or a conscious rapture in the love of God.

Then Challies writes:

Devotion of Union. The devotion of union is a supernatural, ecstatic state in which human reason has become absorbed in God and only memory and imagination remain unclaimed. This is a state of bliss and peace where the higher faculties experience a sweet rest and the devotee experiences conscious rapture in God’s love.

Paraphrased but the main words are the same with the order of presentation the same. Elsewhere the phrasing is identical. See Collin’s post for the entire section.
I wrote Challies and his assistant contacted me this morning. In fairness to him, he is in Australia and apparently has not had much internet access. Also, he tweeted a response to Collin’s question about the appropriateness of the citation. Challies acknowledged that it was not appropriate and said he would fix it.

 
Of course, a link to Wikipedia should have been in place at the beginning, but at least he intends to correct the matter.
However, there is more to the story. Collin pointed out the plagiarism in a comment on Challies’ blog but then spent more time addressing what he perceived to be distortions about Teresa of Avila. His comment was initially removed and then restored:

It doesn’t seem that you are familiar with Theresa beyond a cursory Google search. Perhaps you have read all her books, but it doesn’t sound like you actually understand her in this blog post. As a matter of fact your discussion of her teaching is almost word for word the Wikipedia entry on Theresa’s teaching.
Moreover, you wrote: “She left behind a significant number of books including The Way of Perfection(1583), and The Interior Castle (1588), which many regard as a masterpiece of spiritual autobiography alongside Augustin’s Confessions.”
First, she didn’t really write that many books.
Second, you seem to have misunderstood this sentence from the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org: “The account of her spiritual life contained in the “Life written by herself” (completed in 1565, an earlier version being lost), in the “Relations”, and in the “Interior Castle”, forms one of the most remarkable spiritual biographies with which only the “Confessions of St. Augustine” can bear comparison.” Most of her spiritual autobiography actually occurs in Life Written by Herself. Interior Castle is more of a guide book.
I would never defend Theresa’s writings, but if you’re going to condemn someone as a false teacher in the public square, you should actually engage with the texts yourself. It takes longer, but it will do you and your reader more good.

Initially I thought his comment was removed because he pointed out plagiarism, but I think it had more to do with his fairness toward the Teresa of Avila. Moderator David Kjos wrote in response to another commenter:

Thanks for the heads-up. I checked him out, and it seems you’re right. Another contrarian troll weeded out.

According to Collin, he is now banned from commenting there, or in other words, he has been “weeded out.”
If Collin had posted repeatedly without reading what Challies wrote (we’ve had a few of those here), then moderation of comments is in order; but in this case, Collin posted an informed perspective and made a true observation. For that, he becomes a contrarian troll.
I hope Challies fixes more than the plagiarism when he returns.
See also:
Mark Driscoll’s Citation Errors at a Glance

Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Update: Dan Allender Gets a Footnote in Real Marriage

In January 2014, I noted that Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian added Dan Allender’s name to the Acknowledgments section of Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage. Use of Allender’s styles of relating without citation was one of the early allegations of plagiarism made by Janet Mefferd after the infamous November, 2013 interview.
In my post demonstrating the addition of Allender’s name to the Acknowledgments section, I expressed my view that the publisher should also add a footnote to the section where Allender’s material was used. Now I see that sometime since that post a footnote has been included along with a mention of Allender in the text of Real Marriage (although with an error in grammar). See below for the before and after images:

This modification vindicates the concerns expressed at the time and is yet another indication that the statement from Tyndale House about plagiarism in Driscoll’s books was inadequate. For future reference, publishers can use this chart to find a substantial number of other corrections that should be made. For instance, Crossway publisher has yet to correct Driscoll’s use of Allender’s conceptualization in Death By Love.