Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 24 hours, you may have heard that chaos ensued at the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio. Mass hysteria erupted when the #NeverTrump movement was shut down after calling for a vote on rule changes. Delegates from Colorado walked out in an anti-Trump demonstration. Oh, and Melania Trump totally plagiarized a speech from 2008 that Michelle Obama gave during the DNC that nominated her husband.
You may have heard that one by now.
Mother Jones sent in reporters to ask Trump voters how they felt about the plagiarism scandal and the answers proved a few things about Trump supporters in general. 1) Few of them seem to have enough formal education to understand what the definition of plagiarism is; 2) There seems to be a giant disconnect in the standards they hold on a FLOTUS of color compared to a white potential FLOTUS; 3) No matter what happens, they’ll find a way to blame the media, just like Trump.
Here are some of their most ridiculous arguments on why Melania clearly did nothing wrong.
“Unfortunately, michelle obama does not have exclusive ownership to the way she was raised. i think lots of us can say we had those exact same moments with our parents.”
While this is true, most of us do not say them in all but the exact same words, with the exact same points, in the exact same order. According to Turnitin.com, a website that teachers and college professors often use to check that their students’ work is their own, “the likelihood that a 16-word match is ‘just a coincidence’ is ‘less than 1 in a trillion.'” That’s not a coincidence of having a similar upbringing. That’s plagiarism.
“i like to quote the famous quotes myself, so when i hear something good, i try to memorize it and then pass it on. maybe that’s what happened to her.”
We’ve all quoted other people. We’ve all repeated phrases and quotes we heard elsewhere. The difference is that using someone else’s words and passing them off as your own in a public forum is unethical and calls your integrity into question. College students are expelled for plagiarizing. A professional writer gets fired for it. Joe Biden lost the 1988 Democratic bid for the presidency over it. A speechwriter or politician who steals someone else’s words should be fired or sanctioned, as well.
“it depended if it was word-for-word. if it wasn’t word-for-word, if they stick in a different word, then it’s not plagiarism.”
Actually, that’s not the case. Harvard University states that:
“If you copy bits and pieces from a source (or several sources), changing a few words here and there without either adequately paraphrasing or quoting directly, the result is mosaic plagiarism.”
How much of Melania Trump’s speech was exactly the same? In some places, the verbatim quotes were 23 words long. That’s not even “mosaic plagiarism,” that’s just plain plagiarism.
See video of the Trump supporters’ defense of Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech below:
Featured image screengrab via CNN