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Associated Press reports on Coulter plagiarism allegations as syndicator probes charges

Ron Brynaert
Published: Saturday July 8, 2006

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"The syndicator of Ann Coulter's newspaper column is looking into allegations that the right-wing pundit has lifted material from other sources," reports Hillel Italie for the Associated Press.

Aside from two reports in the New York Post, this is the first major media article to note the allegations and report that Coulter's syndicator is conducting a probe.

The A.P. also gave credit to the Websites that first reported on Coulter's possible plagiarism.

"The New York Post and the Web sites Raw Story and the Rude Pundit have raised numerous questions about Coulter's columns, and her best-selling 'Godless,'" writes Italie.

A few months ago, the Associated Press based an article on a RAW STORY report but refused to credit the source.

John Barrie, a plagiarism expert who devised an "iThenticate" plagiarism-probing system, said that Coulter had likely plagiarized in her book and some of her syndicated columns in an article in last Sunday's New York Post. Some of the examples cited by Barrie and the Post were first discovered online nearly a year ago.

The Rude Pundit first blogged about the apparent plagiarism in a June 2005 column by Coulter last summer, and RAW STORY followed up on the blogger's work, revealing that the column was little more that a cut-and-paste repetition of points authored by conservative religious groups in the early 1990s.

One of the three examples of "textbook plagiarism" in Godless cited by Barrie was also noted first by The Rude Pundit last month days after the book's release. RAW STORY then reported that Coulter "cribbed" a list of adult stem cell treatments from a Right To Life website for the seventh chapter of her book nearly word-for-word.

On Thursday, the spokesman for Universal Press Syndicate, the company that distributes Coulterís column to over 100 newspapers, released a statement to Editor & Publisher indicating that theyíd be looking into the plagiarism allegations, which TPM Muckraker brought to their attention a few days ago.

After receiving scant attention by the press since the allegations first surfaced last summer, the "confirmation" by plagiarism expert Barrie seems to be fueling the story further.

"Barrie, whose analysis of Coulter's work was first reported by the New York Post on Sunday, has recently been contacted by the Today Show and Good Morning America, he told me," writes Justin Rood for TPM Muckraker. "In addition, AP, the New York Times and others have called him for stories they're working on, and the New York Post is planning a follow-up piece, he said."

In a statement released to Media Matters, a senior vice president for the company that published Coulter's Godless characterizes previous plagiarism allegations as "trivial," "meritless" and "irresponsible."

"We have reviewed the allegations of plagiarism surrounding Godless and found them to be as trivial and meritless as they are irresponsible," Crown Publishing Group's Steve Ross wrote. "Any author is entitled to do what Ann Coulter has done in the three snippets cited: research and report facts."

"The number of words used by our author in these snippets is so minimal that there is no requirement for attribution," added Ross. "As an experienced author and attorney, Ms. Coulter knows when attribution is appropriate, as underscored by the nineteen pages of hundreds of endnotes contained in Godless."

Coulter's publisher only mentions "three snippets" but The Rude Pundit and RAW STORY found other examples which were reported on before the New York Post hired Barrie to check.

According to CNN correspondent Brian Todd, the Post investigated after reading about it online.

"Its editor in chief says the paper looked into it after seeing online rumors about alleged plagiarism by Ann Coulter," said Todd.

TPMmuckraker compiled a list of all of the plagiarism allegations that have surfaced so far, and The Rude Pundit has a post that contains the dates each allegation surfaced.

'Godless' examples found by Raw Story

The seventh chapter of Godless: The Church of Liberalism is devoted to "the left's war on science," which - according to Coulter - includes lying about "the science that is working" so as "to elevate the science that has produced nothing."

"In the August 24, 2004, New York Times, science writer Gina Kolata claimed that no one had succeeded in using adult stem cells 'to treat diseases,'" writes Coulter.

To prove the Times science writer wrong, Coulter then provides a "short list" of sixteen "successful treatments achieved by adult stem cell research."

But fifteen of Coulter's examples (listed at the end of this story) are nearly identical to items in a longer list of seventeen compiled by the Illinois Right To Life website, that has been available since at least September of 2003.

Illinois Right To Life: Spinal cord injury repair (using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions)

Coulter: Repairing spinal cord injuries by using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions.

Illinois Right To Life: Complete reversal of juvenile diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells

Coulter: Completely reversing Type 1 diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells

Illinois Right To Life: Crohnís Disease put into remission (using patientís blood stem cells)

Coulter: Putting Crohn's disease into remission with the patient's own blood stem cells

Illinois Right To Life: Lupus put into remission (using stem cells from patientís bloodstream)

Coulter: Putting lupus into remission using stem cells from the patient's bloodstream

Illinois Right To Life: Repair heart muscle in cases of congestive heart failure (using stem cells from bone marrow)

Coulter: Repairing the heart muscles in patients with congestive heart failure using adult stem cells from bone marrow.

Illinois Right To Life: Repair heart attack damage (using the patientís own blood stem cells)

Coulter: Repairing heart attack damage with the patientís own blood stem cells

Illinois Right To Life: Restore bone marrow in cancer patients (using stem cells from umbilical cord blood)

Coulter: Restoring bone marrow in cancer patients using stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Illinois Right To Life: Restore weak heart muscles (using immature skeletal muscle cells)

Coulter: Restoring weak heart muscles using immature skeletal muscle cells

Illinois Right To Life: Put leukemia into remission (using umbilical cord blood)

Coulter: Putting leukemia into remission using umbilical cord blood

Illinois Right To Life: Heal bone fractures (using bone marrow cells)

Coulter: Healing bone fractures with bone marrow cells.

Illinois Right To Life: Restore a blind manís sight (using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant & a cornea transplant)

Coulter: Restoring sight in blind people using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant and a cornea transplant

Illinois Right To Life: Treat urinary incontinence (using under arm muscle stem cells)

Coulter: Treating urinary incontinence using stem cells from underarm muscle

Illinois Right To Life: Reverse severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) (using genetically modified adult stem cells)

Coulter: Reversing severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) with genetically modified adult cells.

Illinois Right To Life: Restore blood circulation in legs (using bone marrow stem cells)

Coulter: Restoring blood circulation in legs with bone marrow stem cells.

Illinois Right To Life: Treat sickle-cell anemia (using stem cells from unbilical cord blood)

Coulter: Treating sickle-cell anemia using stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

(NOTE: RAW STORY has uncovered similiar examples from Coulter's latest book and will be reporting on them shortly)