War criminal and former Congressman Allen West says he was so upset by the “black lives matter” meme that he decided, in his own words, to “do a little checking and scouring for some information. And it didn’t take long to find proof of hypocrisy that reaches the highest levels — the White House.” But his idea of doing crack research is copying, virtually word-for-word (including typos), a viral meme that is entirely false.
You’ve probably seen the meme on Facebook. It’s the one that claims that while Obama sent representatives to Michael Brown’s funeral, “794 law enforcement officers have fallen in the line of duty since B.H. Obama took office, with no special recognition from the White House.” PolitiFact calls this a Pants on Fire lie. But Allen West, after literally seconds of “checking and scouring” passed it off as if it were real — and didn’t even bother not copying and pasting from it directly, typos and all, as though he wrote it himself. So what happened when Media Matters pointed out the obvious plagiarism?
Following the publication of this post, Media Matters emailed West for comment. Michele Hickford, AllenBWest.com editor-in-chief, replied that “I know you’ve already written your story, but I have revised our post to indicate the copy that came from the original sources. I had inadvertently omitted the quotation marks when I originally posted.”
Media Matters subsequently asked Hickford for further clarification. Hickford wrote that “Allen West is the author of the post.” She also said that “as editor, I had inadvertently omitted the quotes, and once I realized the quotes were omitted, added the sentence regarding the source of the original content to clarify.” When asked why the post does not indicate that it has been revised, Hickford wrote: “We do not generally note updates to the stories unless substantive facts of the stories have changed. in this case, the specific shooting incidences remain unchanged.”
But why would the editor need to supply quotation marks and give attribution unless West also didn’t include them when he wrote it? I’ve been an editor. If a reporter turned in a piece to me with five paragraphs that quoted another source without quotation marks or attribution, he wouldn’t be a reporter for me anymore. So then they deleted the line about West “checking and scouring” for information with this:
Then I came across a widely circulated email and viral internet post about a number of stories that seem to have dropped off the radar of the mainstream media, and conveniently ignored by the Department of Justice.”
But they don’t bother to note that there’s been any changes at all to the article. This is called dishonesty.