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March 06, 2008

Conservative tries to smear Tim Goeglein's victim, Jeff Hart

I don't usually get mail from the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. So, this message came as a bit of a surprise:

Just wanted to alert you to my colleague M. Thomas Eisenstadt's blog entry about the Goeglein plagiarism scandal and how it's opened up a can of worms at Dartmouth. Sure, the Bush staffer got fired, but the real story is whether the Dartmouth Review article that was plagiarized, was original in the first place. This mystery pits two well-heeled Dartmouth alums against each other: former professor, failed Nixon speechwriter and Dartmouth Review founder Jeffrey Hart vs. Asst. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Callahan. One of them is a plagiarizer, too.

Here's the link to Eisenstadt's piece:

We hope you'll look into it, too.

Eli Perle
Associate Fellow,
The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy

I figure I got this email/press release because I've blogged about former White House aide Tim Goeglein who stepped down after blogger Nancy Nall caught him plagiarizing.

Nall caught Goeglein because he made the mistake of dropping a very unusual name, "Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey.” When Hall googled the name, it became clear that Goeglein's column on education was based, almost word-for-word, on this essay by conservative scholar Jefferey Hart.

Here's the passage where Hart mentions Prof. Rosenstock-Hussey. It's just one of dozens of sentences and ideas that Goeglein lifted from Hart's essay:

A notable Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth, Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey often expressed the matter succinctly, “The goal of education,” he would say, “is to form the Citizen. And the Citizen         is a person who, if need be, can re-found his civilization.” [DR]

As it happened, L'affaire Rosenstock-Hussey was not an isolated incident. Goeglein, Bush's top liaison to the religious right, turned out to be a serial offender who had stolen from many sources, including Hoagie Carmichael and Pope John Paul II.

Eli's email made some serious charges. The founder of the Dartmouth Review is pitted against the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State over plagiarism? That would be something.

So, I clicked over to the Eisenstadt post. Sure enough M. Thomas Eisenstadt, of Eisenstadt Group is implying that Tim Goeglein's latest victim may be a plagiarist. The Eisenstadt Group bills itself as Eisenstadt Group a "multifaceted consulting firm specializing in political campaigns and issue advocacy, in case you were wondering.


I'm exerpting this passage from Eisenstadt's post so you can see for yourselves.

In my ironic ramblings about plagiarism, it’s possible that I buried the lead. The Goeglein case was open and shut about as fast as you can get. But the question that lingers is what’s the story with this Jeffrey Hart character? I was just reading The Dartmouth Review’s wrap-up story by A.S. Erickson and something odd hit me:

When contacted by CNN, Professor Hart said, “I told him I was flattered he’d used it. It doesn’t damage him in my estimation at all. I’m glad he spread the word.” ….”A bit of plagiarism should not trouble this White House at all. The Dartmouth Review publishes a lot of very good material, and should take a bow.”

To his credit, this is exactly the point I was making in my last blog (though I meant it ironically). But honestly, why would an avowed Obama supporter like Hart be so forgiving of a Bush apparatchik like Goeglein? On a purely human level, it doesn’t make sense. He should be going ballistic. (for example, our friend Debbie Schlussel rightly takes considerable umbrage when Sean Hannity plagiarizes her)

The only explanation is that something was funny with his original story in the first place and he didn’t want to draw attention to it. He probably figured it was one part of one article - the whole thing would blow over. He had no idea at the time that Goeglein had also plagiarized everyone from The Washington Post to the Pope, and it would become a huge story. As I pointed out in my last blog, it could be that Hart had plagiarized the quote from Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy from fellow Dartmouther Asst. Deputy Sec. of State Thomas Callahan. (Emphasis added.)

The only explanation? Hart is under suspicion because he didn't give a sufficiently irate quote to CNN? Debbie Schlussel is a role model emotional self-regulation?

Eisenstadt's "case" against Hart comes down to the fact that two Dartmouth alums quoted the same Dartmouth prof in the Dartmouth review.

The centerpiece of the attack is a quote in an alumni profile attributed to Thomas Callahan:

Thomas Callahan ’84, currently a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the US Department of State, believes in a liberal arts education.  “My father was class of 1947 at Dartmouth and used to quote to us one of his favorite professors, a philosophy professor named Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey:  ‘The goal of education is to form the Citizen.  And the Citizen is a person who, if need be, can refound his civilization.’”

Rosenstock-Hussey was a German Jew who had fought in the Kaiser’s army in WWI.  As Nazism took hold in post-Weimar Germany, he emigrated to America.

“He and my father clicked, I think, because neither of them took anything for granted.  Rosenstock-Hussey had lived through chaos and war.  My father had just completed his tour with the Marine Corps in WWII.  My father’s parents were Irish immigrants and he grew up during the Depression.  They were very poor.  By the time I came along, my brothers and sisters had it pretty good.  He didn’t want us to ever take life for granted.” (Emphasis added) [DR]

Callahan was, of course, the subject of the latter piece, not the author.

Apart from citations of Rosenstock-Hussey, the two stories have nothing in common. Hart's piece is a polemic against self-directed study programs at Dartmouth. Callahan profile is a blurb on a famous alumnus.

Compare: What Is A College Education? and The Making of Citizen Thomas Callahan. Then look at Nancy Nall's side-by-side comparison of Hart's essay to Goeglein's column. Goeglein didn't just cite Rosenstock-Hussey's chestnut, he stole Hart's entire argument.

Eisenstadt thinks it's significant that both pieces misspell Eugen Rosenstock-Hussey's name in the same way:"Eugene."

Where are these charges coming from? Why are Eli and Eisenstadt going out of their way to smear Both Callahan and Hart attributed the idea to the great man himself.  Don't they understand that if you cite your sources, it's not plagiarism?

There's nothing suspicious about two Dartmouth alums citing the same obscure Dartmouth professor in different articles the Dartmouth Review. The fact that the same publication consistently misspelled the same unusual name may reflect on the Dartmouth Review's editors, but not on the Hart or Callahan.

It was odd when Goeglein, with no known ties to Dartmouth, cited Rosenstock-Hussey in an Indiania newspaper in 2008. That reference was the red flag that prompted the further investigation that exposed Goeglein's wholesale theft from Hart.

But Goeglein didn't get in trouble for citing the same sources as someone else, he got busted for lifting the better part of Hart's article and passing it off as his own.

Eisenstadt pointedly notes that Hart came out for Barack Obama. Maybe that's why they're gunning for him. I've noticed that spurious accusations of plagiarism are cropping up a lot in this campaign. It's gotten to the point where campaigns have accused their rivals of intellectual dishonesty for supporting similar policies.

The bar for public accusations of plagiarism is being set alarmingly low. Obama was accused of "plagiarism" because his talking points overlapped with those of Duval Patrick (who had the same campaign manager as Obama).

If you're a Democrat who sounds like other dems, you're a plagiarist. If you're a Republican who sounds like other Republicans, you're "on message." Unless you're a high-profile Republican like Jeff Hart who publicly supports Barack Obama, in which case you're a plagiarist when a Bush appointee steals your words.




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In academia (or at least, legal academia), if you come across a quote you want to cite that's published in a secondary piece of literature, you should cite both the original quote and the secondary source of your information. That's the closest they can come to a claim here, except that: 1. they haven't proven Hart got it from Callahan, 2. this strict standard isn't critical outside of academia, and 3. it's hardly a major foul to leave out the secondary citation anyway, especially if you've verified the quote elsewhere.

The only time my name has appeared on national TV was when a woman on CNN read my blog comment about a similar case involving journalist Tom Squitieri.

I wrote that he got a "raw deal."

Eisenstadt thinks it's significant that both pieces misspell Eugen Rosenstock-Hussey's name in the same way:"Eugene."

Not only that, it's "Rosenstock-Huessy", not "Hussey".

I've made several of the same points at The Dartmouth Review's weblog, here:

I'd just note that though we run Professor Hart's essay every fall in the freshman issue, the Callahan piece did not appear in our paper. It appeared on the college's own website.

True, to their credit, it's clearly not the Dartmouth Review who mispelled the name, it's Hart himself. But giving Hart the benefit of the doubt, then there are still a lot of questions about Callahan. It may not be the scope of "plagiarism" that did in Goeglein, but it's still strange that he used the Hart quote in a very personal memory of his father. As M. Thomas Eisenstadt found out today, if you dig into Callahan, you find a patriotic, charismatic figure on the one hand, but also a guy with Animal House connections to Jordan's Kind Abdullah II. Whether that's good for this country or not, it's hard to say:
Animal House and the King: How the Plagiarism Scandal Leads to Some Very Strange Places

Eli, do you work for the Eisenstadt Group? Is the Harding Institute affiliated with the Eisenstadt Group?

The Eisenstadt group is a political consulting firm. M. Thomas Eisenstadt is going to a lot of trouble to cast aspersions on Jeff Hart and/or Thomas Callahan. May I ask what's going on here?

Now you're saying that Callahan isn't a plagiarist, but he was King Abdullah's frat brother.

I shouldn't be laughing but I can't help it.

The main point of secondary cites ("A, as cited in B") is as a CYA in case B misquoted A or cited A out of context (including, possibly, a cite that is in context for B's original use but not for the citing author's). It assigns responsibility for any error that creeps in. You can avoid using a secondary cite if you look up the original source yourself, regardless of where you originally heard about it. Those, at least, are the rules I remember from A Handbook for Scholars.

In any case, these rules are not followed strictly even in formal scholarly writing that I'm familiar with. I'm one of the few paper reviewers I know who tries to look up the original sources cited for any paper I review, and you might be surprised how many authors make the same mistake on page references or journal names for one of their references as one of the other sources they cite. It's lazy, but not necessarily intellectually dishonest, and more common than you might expect.

Look, folks, if Hart had not written those sentences, Goeglein would never have plagiarized them. So it's the first guy's fault.

You missed to key point - Gig Faux does not exist - (His name is a play on Guy Fawkes, a religious terrorists).

That was the whole "connection" btw Tom Callahan and the King.

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