Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day for the United States of America. We celebrate the country's Declaration of Independence. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, I also think about our Constitution and its Bill of Rights along with other Constitutional amendments that make our country great.
Today, as I write this Roland Hansen Commentary, I am thinking of the First Amendment which amongst other things provides for a free press. And my thoughts evolve into the following commentary.
I found The Blade article in regards to the Toledo Free Press to be quite interesting. Click on the embedded link so that you may read for yourself the article Plagiarism at weekly used as teaching tool from toledoblade.com.
The major thrust of the article revolves around a fellow by the name of Gregg Schwartz who had written a monthly column for the Toledo Free Press from sometime in 2007 up until April 2009. Apparently, Mr. Schwartz did not totally use his own words in the columns carried by the Toledo Free Press. It appears Gregg Schwartz may have used the works of others without attribution in the writings he had submitted as his own to the Toledo Free Press and that they had been published by the Toledo Free Press as the works of Mr. Schwartz.
First off, for the record, I do not question the concerted efforts by the Toledo Free Press to provide adequate and proper attributions, to eliminate plagiarism, and to assure the veracity of the facts contained within its articles.
However, I do have several areas of concern regarding several items that are contained in the preceding referenced article, if indeed, those items have been reported accurately.
If you have read The Blade article or if you go back and read it now, you will note that there are several statements or reported references to statements that have been attributed to University of Toledo associate Professor Mary Lineham. I am focusing on two of those which I have copied and pasted as follows:
"She wrote a letter to Tom Pounds, the weekly's publisher and president, dated April 23, and included at least a half-dozen examples from a one-year span of Mr. Schwartz's work highlighting portions of his columns that were lifted without attributions from other publications." to which it is also being reported that "Ms Lineham said she did not receive a reply to her letter to Mr. Pounds and it wasn't published in the Free Press with other letters to the editor."
'What really makes some furious and angry and outraged and makes me feel threatened as an individual is that the Free Press would give Gregg my letter without bothering to answer it and send him on his way to hassle me,' "she said"
In addition to those items, there is another thing that causes me to raise my eyebrows in curious wonderment..The eyebrow raising is my reaction to The Blade statement that "Mr. Pounds did not return calls from The Blade seeking comment, and Michael Miller, editor-in-chief of the weekly, refused to answer specific questions about the allegations of plagiarism from The Blade, ... "
That sure seems to me like "the pot calling the kettle black" if my recollection of past events is correct. Unless I am mistaken. I seem to recall that Tom Pounds and Michael Miller have used the Toledo Free Press in the past as a means to attack the Blade and its publisher and editor for questionable practices and for not responding to inquiries from representatives of the Toledo Free Press.
This current situation as reported by The Blade gives me the distinct impression that there appears to me to be a "double-standard" on the part of Toledo Free Press. After all, if my memory is correct and if the Blade report is correct in that neither the publisher nor the editor of the Toledo Free Press have responded to inquiries from The Blade, then why has the Toledo Free Press in the past made negative remarks about The Blade not being responsive to inquiries from the Toledo Free Press.
Then there is the matter that causes me to think that there may be some serious concerns regarding Michael Miller in the area of ethics and possible conflict of interest. Of course, I may be totally off base in my thinking; perhaps I should not even think that there is any such possibility of a breach of ethics or that there might have been a possible conflict of interest. However, I cannot help but wonder when I read that portion of the article that states "And Mr. Miller has revealed publicly that he was once a client of Mr. Schwartz, writing in a September, 2007, column that he was trying to get in shape and that effort included strength training with Mr. Schwartz."
With all due respect, the bottom line for me is that it appears that the publisher and editor of the Toledo Free Press are exhibiting the very same characteristics of which they have been critical of the Blade publisher and editor.