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Is Ann Coulter a Plagiarist?

Very interesting. Editor & Publisher and the New York Post (which Coulter labels as "New York's second-crappiest paper" in her latest column) both report that Coulter's syndicate is going to look into charges of plagiarism leveled against her by John Barrie in the New York Post last week.

Barrie appeared on Keith Olberman's show Wednesday. On Thursday he did a phone interview with Justin Rood at TPMmuckraker where he said some curious things, including, " "By the way, if I never read Ann Coulter again, it will be too soon." Rood also reported:

It didn't take long to find evidence of plagiarism, Barrie said. "After we found three in the book, we called it quits. I think we found four of her syndicated columns that had problems." But the task proved draining, he said -- on himself, not his technology. "After combing through Ann Coulter for a while, it doesn't take long before you want to call it quits. I want to prove the technology, but I don't want to make my eyes bleed."

Why Barrie feels the need to make such public protestations against the content of Coulter's writings is beyond me, and truly irrelevant to whether she's lifted other people's material or not.

According to the E&P story, published late yesterday afternoon, Barrie had yet to return a phone call to the contact person at Coulter's syndicate, nor had he responded to E&P's phone calls requesting comment. It looks like Barrie did manage to give a comment to the Post yesterday, however, after Coulter's publisher came to her defense:

Steve Ross, senior vice president of Crown Publishing group, which published the book, defended his best-selling polemicist by noting there are 19 pages of endnotes.

"We have reviewed the allegations of plagiarism surrounding 'Godless' and found them to be as trivial and meritless as they are irresponsible," Ross said.

"The number of words used by our author in these snippets is so minimal that there is no requirement for attribution." [snip]

Barrie stuck to his guns yesterday, telling The Post he believes Coulter ripped off other people's writings in an effort to "maintain her status as a celebrity author in any way she can."

Maybe Barrie is right, but I find it hard to believe that Coulter, who relishes her role as liberals' Public Enemy No. 1 and who is also smart enough to know her work is going to draw the sort of intense scrutiny that would uncover any instances of plagiarism, would expose herself in such a way.