Can one really plagiarize a bunch of platitudinous pabulum?

What’s the big deal? So Melania Trump plagiarized some platitudinous pabulum from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech in her own convention speech. (Do a search for Melania and plagiarize and you’ll get dozens of hits.) The candidate, Donald J. Trump, as his wife calls him twice in a speech delivered with all the passion of someone reading the phonebook, hasn’t said anything original or substantive in the past year and half, why should we expect his current trophy wife to do so?

But the caterwauling and blame laying is at least entertaining. Though Melania claims to have written the speech herself, people are calling for the speech writer to be fired.

Melania ended by saying, “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.” Wasn’t that plagiarized, too?

Michelle: “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”

Laura Bush: “Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless America.”

I wager if one searched hard enough you could find dozens of speeches intended to be inspiring that include the same threadbare cliches.

But would someone please tell me what big thinking is? “Yes, Donald thinks big, which is especially important when considering the presidency of the United States. No room for small thinking. No room for small results. Donald gets things done,” the potential first lady promised. “Our country is underperforming and needs new leadership. Leadership is also what the world needs.”

She also said, “Everyone wants change. Donald is the only one that can deliver it.” Perhaps she meant hope and change?




38 comments on “Can one really plagiarize a bunch of platitudinous pabulum?

  1. Hank Bondb says:

    Spin spin spun 

    Get Outlook for iOS

  2. nyp says:

    What would you have done to a reporter who lifted a passage from someone else’s story?

  3. Give a “last” warning and require a public admission. Repeat offense would not be tolerated.

  4. nyp says:

    Sounds reasonable.

  5. Vernon Clayson says:

    I’m okay with this “plagiarism” of common words and phrases as long as Trump’s wife doesn’t say “For the first time in my adult lifetime I am proud of my country” as Michelle Obama did in 2008. Notice she said in her “adult lifetime” so I’m guessing Michelle was like most of us as young children, saying the pledge and standing up for the Star Spangled Banner but she learned hate as she grew older, it often happens. She had the same benefits available to all Americans so what else could it be but resenting being black. She and her husband had an opportunity to better the lives of all Americans but they chose to be divisive, all while acting out noveau riche and entitled.

  6. Bill says:

    Accusations of plagiarism are normal political tools. Depending on how the media wants to play it, they can be effective or not. Here, it is effective because we are no reading so much about Rudy Giuliana’s speech, One of the more famous and most effective uses of such a charge was made by Michael Dukakis against Joe Biden. Dukakis mounted an ad campaign against Biden accusing him of lifting material from a Neil Kinnock speech. Some credit the campaign as costing Biden to lose the Democratic nomination to Dukakis that year.

    This current flap is a distraction. A tempest in a teapot. Nevertheless it is characteristic of the depth of some reporters today and probably indicative of their angst at the prospect of a Trump presidency.

    This current mini-flap serves the purpose of providing a distraction from what is being said on policy and the record of Obama/Clinton.

    Hopefully, most of the U. S. public will choose not to focus on whether the bland pap phrases mouthed by Michelle and now by Melania were the same or just similar. Who really cares? People Magazine might be a better forum for that discussion if anyone really thinks it is relevant. It would be better for the news media to focus on what has happened and what will happen with our foreign and domestic policies.

    Who knows? he way some of the pols in Washington work, the speech writer might have been the same in both instances.

  7. Winston Smith says:

    Off subject, again…

  8. Patrick says:

    Funny that some people, faced with clear evidence that the current presidential campaign has a candidates wife apparently plagiarizing a speech, want to talk about others (from another party) who might have done the same thing long ago.

    I thought the issue was Trumps wife’s plagerizim?

    Partisans man.

  9. Steve says:

    Trump has his future ex-wife trying to help him throw the election!

  10. nyp says:

    I’m lovin’ it.

  11. nyp says:

    BTW, your state party chairman just announced on the floor of the national convention that Las Vegas is the capital of Nevada.

  12. Rincon says:

    Plagiarism for a reporter is a sanctionable offense; For a politician, it’s bad form; for a politician’s wife, who cares?

  13. Vernon Clayson says:

    I agree with Rincon, who cares, and at this point, what difference does it make? Is my repeating HIllary Clinton’s vile words plagarizing? Who cares, and so what?

  14. I do believe Rincon has a proper perspective.

  15. Bill says:

    You are right Rincon. MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5.

  16. Steve says:

    Adding a fourth for Rincon.

    And offering an answer for the question “Who cares?”
    Our ratings whore media. That’s my answer, and I’m sticking to it!

  17. Patrick says:

    Let’s take a guess which story has more “legs” in right wing media:

    Bill Clinton getting a haircut; or
    Ms. Trump’s plagerism?

  18. Steve says:

    Looks like it matter to Patrick….

  19. Bill says:

    Strange question. Out of curiosity, outside of Fox News, who do you consider are the “right wing” media?. Are those “right wing” media part of the “right wing” conspiracy that Mrs. Clinton and/or Bill make repeated references to every time a new Clinton scandal breaks.

    As to which story has “legs”, I certainly don’t think that the either the right or left wing media will pay much attention to Bill’s haircuts or Ms. Trump’s alleged plagiarism. Neither one deserves much attention.

    Haircuts and lifting a phrase are hardly serious. They are not like allegations of sexual misconduct or lying under oath that resulted in disbarment for Bill or improperly caring for classified material or lying to Congress.

    I wonder. Do you consider the Arkansas State Bar that disbarred Bill Clinton for lying under oath to be part of the “right wing” out to get the Clinton’s.

  20. Patrick says:

    Legitimate question Bill. I suppose the answer would be media like the “Globe” or “The Washington Examiner” or in days gone by “The Las Vegas Review Journal”. Course, this is hardly a complete list.

    And, you might not remember the “scandal” of President Clinton getting his hair cut in the very first days of his presidency, landslides as it was by so many other “scandals” like “Travel Gate” or “White Water” or the alleged murder of Vince a Foster, or so many other “scandals” that plagued President Clinton throughout his presidency.

    Course these were all “legitimate” investigations furthered ONLY by the legitimate interests that the right wing had for “our beloved republic” right? I mean, OBVIOUSLY President Clinton getting his haircut was a matter of national importance. Leastways, that is how it was treated, for several weeks, of Mr. Clintons first term. Surely much more important than anything else a new president could have been doing.

    But yes, Fox is one of the leaders of the right wing media, and my guess is, although “HaircutGate” played out on Fox for many days, THIS incident, involving the republican nominee and his wife, will get….the silent treatment.

    As to the actions of the Arkansas Bar, seems to me that many members of the Bar, in many states, and I suspect Arkansas, have lied nder oath, and received FAR less discipline.

    The far right wing group behind his discipline said as much at the time:

    “The attorney who handled the case for the foundation, Lynn Hogue, said in an interview Saturday that he is not inclined to resist the former president recovering his legal credentials. “My only point was that the conduct of lying to a grand jury, particularly when done by a lawyer who was not just an ordinary lawyer but who held the highest office in the land, should not go unchallenged and should not go unpunished,” said Mr. Hogue, a law professor at Georgia State University.

  21. Steve says:

    Ever since Watergate, media has been dispatching teams of “investigative” reporters looking for the holy grail of scandal that will propel their owners into the atings stratosphere.

    Facts are every side of the political spectrum is constantly under attack from these people and it is us, the readers and listeners who are most directly; negatively; affected by it.

    Once one opens their eyes to reality, it becomes clear the “partisanship” claimed by many is simply a sham, wool pulled over our eyes to hide what is happening and keep the issues from surfacing.

    So enjoy your scandals, swallow them with a nice bottle of beer and a plate of nachos. There all really good for what ailes you.

  22. Art Solie says:

    I believe it was done on purpose to show the difference. Wait and watch carefully.

  23. Bill says:

    Sorry. You can’t blame “Haircutgate” on Fox News. Haircutgate was in 1993. Fox News was not established until October 17, 1996. Facts don’t really matter do they? Police being killed, Islamic Terrorists killing innocents here and abroad, a national deficit that neither we nor our children’s children can pay off, leading presidential candidate being investigatged by the FBI, and what do concerned and informed media and some of our equally informed citizenry want to talk about? Not those issues. They would require thought and the facing of some unpleasant facts and perhaps unpleasant decisions. No, what the media and some of the citizenry currently have their panties in a wad over is whether Mrs. Trump’s speech had some overlapd in platitudes. No wonder the public is disgusted and no wonder that many good citizens avoid public life.

  24. Steve says:

    And along comes that reliable source so many on the left love to quote when it suits them, The Daily Show. Accusing DJ Jr of the same thing….but wait a minute! this time the poop just won’t stick to the wall. A contributor to the speech rebuts the comedy political shows attempt at a ratings grab very quickly…. so put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  25. Steve says:

    Oops, that should be DT Jr…..Donald Trumps son. Who, btw, is far more impressive than his dad.

  26. nyp says:

    “The hottest half year 2016 is set to become the third year in a row of record heat. Although the first six months of 2015 had been the hottest ever recorded, “2016 really has blown that out of the water”, said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. (NYT)”

  27. Rincon says:

    Covering a “scandal” is fine. Beating an unimportant “scandal” into our heads is reprehensible and shame on us for supporting our side when they engage in this stupidity. As I’ve mentioned, my wife is Australian and so, provides an interesting window into how outsiders view us. She says Australians looked at how Monica Lewinski crippled the executive branch for years. Australians could not fathom how we could fixate on a titillating, but common flaw in our leader and then fail to either kick him out or let him get back to work.

  28. Rincon says:

    Just hope against hope that it doesn’t continue, nyp. Due to Conservatives’ diligence, we’ve lost 25-30 years of relatively inexpensive prevention.

  29. Steve says:

    According to the consensus of climate scientists, it never really mattered what we did. By the time they got it “all figured out” they were already saying nothing we do would stop it for at least two whole generations (that’s about a century….) or 100 years.

    Adapt, or die. Nature always makes that decision.

  30. Patrick says:


    Since you raised an interesting question with regard to President Clinton, and his disbarment by the Arkansas Bar due to lying under oath, I’m wondering what your opinion is about whether Clarence Thomas out to be subject to the same, where ever he is barred, for his conduct?

  31. Bill says:

    If the record is as Prof. Turley states it, then the criticism of Thomas is valid. Don’t think that any one, including Turley, is going to filing a criminal complaint or making a formal complaint of whatever Bar that Justice Thomas belongs. Don’t think an action of disbarment is on the horizon nor do I think that there will be any effort to impeach him. You probably know that it is not even necessary to be an attorney to be a member of the U. S. Supreme Court and you were probably just asking the question to make a point.

    The point is not quite on point. Any “sins” that Thomas may have committed are sins of omission not commission. If he didn’t completly report something, then shame on him. Neither should he be an advocate for any particular group nor political philosophy. I would condemn that equally as I do the recent action of Ruth Ginsburg’s inserting herself into the Presidential election.

    However, possible conflicts and omissions on filing disclosure forms by Thomas do not rise to the level of what Brother Bill,did to merit disbarment. Clinton lied to the court while under oath. If after being sworn by oath to tell the truth an officer of he court lies to the very court that he is pledged to honor and defend, he should be disbarred. Our American Justice System is a mockery if that is permitted. A democracy and the rule of law demand that we take such false swearing seriously.

    Come back and talk to me, if and when Justice Thomas is convicted of something or is placed under oath and lies.

  32. Patrick says:

    Funny Bill, I understood you to suggest that, in cases nvolving the Highest Offices in the country, and especially when the “facts” are absolutely clear, that, at a minimum, an investigation ought to ensue and to then let the chips fall where they may.

    “Justice” Thomas, has lied nder oath during his confirmation proceedings, lied on his tax forms, and led about the far right wing groups who supported him, then received favorable treatment as a result of decisions he issued on cases where the dictates of any other court would have required him to recuse himself, and your opinion is…what? That, in some unlikely event that he is prosecuted, then….something?

    Seems to me just a short while ago, when discussing Secretary Clintons actions, the standard was slightly different no?

    I mean, Thomas ADMITTED to lying under oath on his tax forms. Testimony that was OFFERED during his nomination process, but was never received, demonstrated that Thomas’s statements made, under oath, during that process were lies. Thomas refused, even after acknowledging that his wife had received hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of many years, from parties involved in cases he was deciding (namely Citizens united) even though ethical rules, for any other court, would have required him to recuse himself.

    And, instead of “let’s investigate AT LEAST” you offer…this?

    I thoght it was you who claimed some non partisanship about such matters? Or was I mistaken?

  33. Steve says:

    Always fun to watch the sham king at work.

  34. Patrick says:

    A letter from “Common Cause” requesting that the Obama Justice Department open an investigation into the actions of Scalia and Thomas in relationship to their (deciding) votes in the Citizens United case.

  35. Rincon says:

    “According to the consensus of climate scientists, it never really mattered what we did. By the time they got it “all figured out” they were already saying nothing we do would stop it for at least two whole generations (that’s about a century….) or 100 years.”

    Baloney. Care to give a source?

  36. Steve says:

    Turns out you’re right Rincon. Though not in the way you thought.
    Used to be a 100 year window, but not anymore.
    From NPR, yet another conservative conspiracy site, right?
    Probably irreversible. Adapt or die, nature always wins.

  37. Rincon says:

    Please read the article carefully. It actually says the problem is more urgent than we thought. It says that since the oceans are soaking up a lot of the excess heat and down currents carry some of the heat to the bottom, the excess heat will be released over hundred and some over thousands of years. Yes, what we’ve done so far is not reversible in our lifetimes. It certainly does not mean that it makes no difference since we’re screwed anyway. On the contrary, as we continue to add gases and heat, we continue to screw ourselves (actually, not ourselves; our children and grandchildren) more and more. Slow it down, and we’re um, less screwed.

    Adapting is a little like turning the thermostat down (or up in Nevada) in your home instead of adding insulation.

  38. Steve says:

    “People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide that the climate would go back to normal in 100 years or 200 years. What we’re showing here is that’s not right. It’s essentially an irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years,” Solomon says.

    Pretty f’n clear.

    Parsing by “careful reading” is a liberal tool to change the meaning of things, like Patrick and his sham plea.

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