“After much reflection, I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the upcoming administration.”
That quote is from Monica Crowley’s statement to The Washington Times, which came shortly after portions of some of her major publications were accused of being extensively plagiarized. The position she turned down was the director of communications on President-elect Donald Trump’s National Security Council.
In Crowley’s best-selling book published by HarperCollins, “What the (Bleep) Just Happened,” CNN reported more than 50 instances of plagiarism. Crowley, a former Fox News contributor, also plagiarized several portions of her doctoral dissertation, according to a report by Politico.
In the current political climate — with Trump accusing nearly every journalism outlet of perpetuating “fake news” —– Crowley’s plagiarism is no trivial issue. Now, perhaps more than ever, honesty and transparency need to be our representatives’ highest priority.
As a news organization, it is easy for us to condemn plagiarism. If writers submit articles to us with words that aren’t their own, it reflects poorly on us as an organization.
But with something like a personal book — Monica Crowley’s book, for instance — perhaps the lines seem grayer. A Wikipedia page here, a New York Times paragraph there, what’s the difference? Who will notice?
It doesn’t matter.
We’re all our own individuals. We have our own voices, our own words and our own opinions. When someone takes credit for someone else’s work, they make a mockery of effort and originality.
There is no justifiable reason to plagiarize. People may aim to further themselves by cheating, but their success is unsustainable — they won’t be able to survive when there’s no one left to steal from.
No, Monica Crowley will not serve in this position, and yes, that is a good thing. It is reassuring to know that politicians in power are still held to some standard of decency, but it’s still disconcerting how close she came to a role of great influence for this country’s national security.