Article in today's NYT (needs a new name, by the way. New York Tripe? Truthiness? Any suggestions?):
"This is how the 2005 edition of “A History of the United States,” a high school history textbook by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Daniel J. Boorstin and Brooks Mather Kelley, relates the cataclysmic attacks of 9/11 for a new generation of young adults:
“'In New York City, the impact of the fully fueled jets caused the twin towers to burst into flames. The fires led to the catastrophic collapse of both 110-story buildings as well as other buildings in the area. The numbers of people missing and presumed dead after this assault was estimated to be 2,750.'”
"The language is virtually identical to that in the 2005 edition of another textbook, “America: Pathways to the Present,” by different authors. The books use substantially identical language to cover other subjects as well, including the disputed presidential election of 2000, the Persian Gulf war, the war in Afghanistan and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security..."
"Wendy Spiegel, a spokeswoman for Pearson Prentice Hall, which published both books and is one of the nation’s largest textbook publishers, called the similarities “absolutely an aberration...
"She added that it was “unfortunate” that the books had identical passages, but said that there were only “eight or nine” in volumes that each ran about 1,000 pages."
"'Only eight or nine"? Gee, I wish I'd known that was an acceptable academic standard back in the day. "But Professor, I can't help it if Aristotle and I think along identical lines! Besides, I only used eight or nine of his arguments!" That would have come in pretty handy come term paper time.
You have to wonder if mainstream publishers have woken up yet. One word, Prentice Hall: in-ter-net. Remember poor little Miss Viswanathan? Plagiarism has shorter legs than it used to thanks to a nation of bloggers, webmasters, and every other aspiring culture-influencer with time on his hands.