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Trump Should Have Had Serious Consequences for Plagiarism

Updated on September 24, 2016
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Before diving into the topic, I want to be clear that this article is not about my political beliefs and whether or not we should vote for Donald Trump. I hope that you, the reader, can keep your political beliefs at bay as you read this article.

Melania Trump's Plagiarized Speech

By now, most of America (and probably most of the world) is aware of Melania Trump's plagiarized speech. In case you are not aware, here is a quick summary of what happened:

On July 18, 2016, Melania Trump gave a speech. She stood on stage at the Republican Convention and read a speech that was clearly plagiarized from first lady Michelle Obama's speech that she gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

From Trump's Speech:

From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.


From Obama's Speech:

From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

So what's the big deal, you ask? It's just a stupid speech you say. No one lost their lives, you say. Well, the big deal is that everyday in this country, students are kicked out of school for plagiarizing a paper. People have lost their jobs for plagiarism. Hubbers can be kicked off of Hub Pages for plagiarism. How is it that someone who is supposed to be a role model for people in this country can stand up at such an important event as the Republican National Convention, and read an obviously plagiarized speech in front of every news camera in America and there is no consequences?

Source

Incidences of Plagiarism and Consequences around the World

According to Allison Go, a contributor to USnews.com, a student was kicked out of Ohio University for using three phrases from Wikipedia and summarizing a movie quote.

"...she was expelled for taking three sentence fragments verbatim from Wikipedia and for paraphrasing a movie synopsis from the site. According to Routman, a day before the papers in question were to be returned to students, the instructor told the class plagiarism was suspected and asked students to come forward and make a "conscientious retraction." Routman says she did not think she had done anything wrong at the time, so she did not come forward. "Had I had any idea I had done something wrong, I would have absolutely come forward," she said." (http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/paper-trail/2008/08/14/two-students-kicked-off-semester-at-sea-for-plagiarism)

According to Joel Roberts, AP for CBSnews.com, one schools use of plagiarism-detecting technology in 2001 caused at least 158 students to be expelled from The University of Virginia.

"Plagiarism on campus grabbed the state's attention in 2001 when a University of Virginia physics professor, acting on a tip, checked student papers using a homemade computer program. The school eventually charged 158 students with plagiarism. Nineteen months later, 20 students had been found guilty of honor violations and kicked out, another 28 admitted guilt and left the school on their own, and 90 students were exonerated. The rest received lesser punishments or treatment, such as counseling, the university reported." (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/technology-sniffs-out-student-plagiarism/)

According to Eric Wemple of Washington Post, CNN fired a news editor from their London Bureau for multiple cases of plagiarism in 2014.

"An internal investigation at the network found that Marie-Louise Gumuchian had published about 50 stories containing plagiarized work. Those pieces contain a total of 128 separate instances of plagiarism, according to a CNN source, and the investigation is ongoing. Gumuchian, including Africa, Europe and the Middle East." (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/05/16/cnn-fires-news-editor-marie-louise-gumuchian-for-plagiarism/)


In general, do you think that people should be punished for plagiarism?

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Why no Consequences for the Trumps?

If the average American citizen is being punished for plagiarism, why is it okay that Melania Trump or even the writer of her speech does not suffer any consequences? In my opinion, I believe that even though Melania did not write the speech, she should suffer consequences as well because I just don't see how she didn't recognize the plagiarism beforehand. I would think, that facing the possibility of being the new first lady, she would have gone back and studied speeches and actions from the current and former first ladies. Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention would have been a first stop when studying for a speech at the Republican National Convention. So either Melania is not very smart (and if not, wouldn't make a good first lady) or she is smart, studied Obama's speech, and chose to go along with the plagiarism.

Melania Trump's plagiarism is worse than that of a student writing a paper because the speech that she gave was supposed to be about her values and about her qualities--things that are important to her being an immigrant to America and a wife. It was supposed to be a beautiful speech filled with hope and love, a speech that gains the trust of Americans. The fact that its not her words, thoughts, or ideas make her a liar or at least a cheater. So in essence, we don't know anything about her values. Our introduction to the possible first lady of the future was not a promising introduction.

I'm no judge or jury, so I can't say what type of consequences that Melania Trump should face. She can't be fired from being Donald Trump's wife (but if she could, that's what should happen), but something needs to happen. Maybe she should at least admit to her wrong doing and launch a campaign to stop plagiarism. Yeah, that does sound a bit lame, but seriously, it's not fair that she gets to just pretend like she didn't commit one of the biggest acts of plagiarism that this country has seen in a while. As far as the writer of the speech, he or she should definitely be fired. There is no question about that.

Plagiarism is already a large issue in this country. The last thing that this country needs is to add social status as a determining factor in the consequences of plagiarism. If a student can get kicked out of college for copying a couple of phrases from Wikipedia even though they didn't realize that it was plagiarism, then Melania Trump certainly needs to face consequences for stealing an entire paragraph from a very public speech by a very public and modern figure and then lying to the American public about her values. Fair is fair, America. Let's do the right thing.

Video from CNN

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      Sanxuary 5 months ago

      Why would anyone pick on Trumps wife? With all the things to pick on she would just be another side show at the circus. Another foreighner that Trump wants to deport as he dodges the draft and hides his tax returns. Ever wonder how many foreighners work in his companies? Well atleast we know she speaks english and can plagerize. I am sure this topic will come up on a slow news night and Trump will tell us she never said that but the crowds were huge. TWITTER-TWITTER

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