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Plagiarism Helped Win the American Revolution

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | about 2 years ago

The Media 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Although today the stigma of lifting passages can haunt media professionals forever, Revolutionary War Historian Todd Andrlik writes that 250 years ago stealing another reporter's work without credit was an acceptable form of journalism. In fact, plagiarism was a practice that helped unite the colonies and win the Revolutionary War."Without professional writing staffs of journalists or correspondents, eighteenth-century newspaper printers relied heavily on an intercolonial newspaper exchange system to fill their pages," writes Andrlik. "Printers often copied entire paragraphs or columns directly from other newspapers and frequently without attribution. As a result, identical news reports often appeared in multiple papers throughout America. This news-swapping technique, and resulting plagiarism, helped spread the ideas of liberty and uphold the colonists' resistance to British Parliament." For example, an eyewitness account of the Boston Tea Party by "An Impartial Observer" was first authored for the December 20, 1773, Boston Gazette, but was soon reprinted without edit or attribution in other New England newspapers. News of the Boston Massacre, Battle of Lexington and Concord, the treason of Benedict Arnold and practically every major event of the American Revolution circulated among the colonies much the same way. "Thanks in no small part to this plagiarism, newspaper printers fanned the flames of rebellion and helped colonists realize the conflict was closer to home than perhaps they wanted to believe.""

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