Apr 12, 2007

when ghostwriters plagiarize

While we're thinking about libraries:

Katie Couric has fired Melissa McNamara for copying parts of the commentaries McNamara ghostwrote for Couric to read on-air. As Timothy Noah points out, there's "deeper fakery" at work.
A counterfeit memory like "I still remember when I first got my library card" can easily be assigned to someone else. A real memory like my long-held prejudice against all librarians and the petty tyranny that led me to it cannot. This leads us to the deeper phoniness that hobbles the assembly-line anchorperson-commentary racket CBS News has been running for decades. If person A is going to express a personal memory or opinion on behalf of person B, and person B is not someone who identifies publicly with specific positions on matters of public debate—something network news anchors (outside of Fox, anyway) are discouraged from doing—then person A will hew carefully to anodyne sentiment. The result is commentary devoid of any substance or interest.
The antidote is a splash of cold blogging.

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