Saturday, April 24, 2004


Certain professors have, apparently, been "writing" op-ed pieces that were actually written by someone else
I started searching LexisNexis and other databases for op-eds written by academics the NEI touts as "experts." I printed out a healthy sampling, grouping them chronologically and by subject area. Searching on key phrases led me to other academics' op-eds. Once sorted, it didn't take a forensic crime lab to determine that one person's literary DNA is all over those articles.

Take the argument that the increased use of nuclear power leads to fewer greenhouse-gas emissions. Op-eds on that subject, for instance, ran between 1997 and 1999 with different bylines in three newspapers. Each writer dismissed the claims of "environmentalists" or "skeptics" that greenhouse-gas emissions "can be reduced" without nuclear power. "They are dreaming," said one op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 2, 1997. Yes, concurred another in the Record of Northern New Jersey on Jan. 5, 1998: "They are dreaming." And Dallas Morning News readers awoke on April 5, 1999, to learn from Landsberger that those lazy enviros were still in the sack: "They are dreaming," he wrote.

Or take the campaign to locate low-level nuclear waste facilities in various states. Between 1990 and 1996, three academics and a physician writing op-eds in newspapers in four states -- Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas -- all assured readers that nearby sites would "be among the safest and best-engineered" waste facilities in the country.
And we're supposed to convince our students that plagiarism is bad.

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