January 11, 2017

Trump’s pick for National Security Council communications role is a serial plagiarizer



Monica Crowley. Image via HarperCollins.

Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama was relegated to an even lower level of embarrassing-but-not-exactly-the-worst failings of the Trump political machine this past weekend.

On Saturday, CNN’s K-File team reported that conservative commentator Monica Crowley, Trump’s pick for the National Security Council’s senior director of strategy and communications role, plagiarized extensive portions of her 2012 New York Times bestselling book What the (Bleep) Just Happened?. It then took reporters at Politico only a couple days to dig up Crowley’s Columbia University Ph.D. dissertation and determine that much of that work had also been plagiarized.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reported that his team had “found upwards of 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including the copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia” in Crowley’s book. It’s worth taking a look at his side-by-side comparison of the plagiarized texts with the originals, which show such brazen lifting that it’s hard to wonder how everyone (not least her publisher) could have failed to notice it until now. And the same question might be asked of Crowley’s awful-sounding Columbia dissertation “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy: The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China Under Truman and Nixon,” which, Politico’s Alex Caton and Grace Watkins reported Monday, replicates text from six different books and articles on U.S. foreign policy without citation.

On Tuesday, Crowley’s publisher, HarperCollins, provided CNN a statement announcing that What the (Bleep) Just Happened? would “no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.” Trump’s transition team, on the other hand, is standing by her, going so far as to tell CNN that “any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country,” which is a strangely lazy response coming from the famously thin-skinned president-elect’s people.



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.