Yesterday the Washington Post apologized for the plagiarism of one of its reporters, Sari Horwitz, who was caught stealing material from the Arizona Republic newspaper. A “severe and appropriate” punishment was promised, which is why it’s a bit surprising that she’s keeping her job.
Former WaPo media reporter Howard Kurtz responded on Twitter:
On the WP plagiarism: Sari Horwitz has won 2 Pulitzers. She made a bad mistake and is paying for it. Doesn’t invalidate her whole career.
Isn’t this just another way of saying that her whole career validates her mistake? That she shouldn’t be subject to the same rules as everybody else because of the status she’s gained by winning some awards? I know I’m just a silly blogger and it’s not my place to comment on the exalted profession of journalism, but doesn’t a Pulitzer Prize raise someone to a higher standard of ethical behavior than the rest of us? Shouldn’t we expect more from her, not less?
My friend and colleague Mike Riggs, who is a journalist, has some theories. Yeah, it does sound like she’s playing the “I’m old and the Internet is scary” card.
Well, never let it be said that the Washington Post doesn’t have any standards. It’s got two sets of them: one for their own, and one for the rest of us.