Media

Daily Beast Writer Plagiarized More Than Once

(Video screenshot/Daily Beast)

Peter Hasson Senior Reporter

A reporter for The Daily Beast who resigned after getting caught blatantly plagiarizing an article appears to have broken journalism’s cardinal rule more than once.

Lizzie Crocker resigned from the left-leaning publication after she was revealed to have copied and pasted several paragraphs from a Weekly Standard piece into her own article without citation or attribution. In a statement announcing Crocker’s resignation on Sunday, Daily Beast editor in chief John Avlon said that an internal investigation revealed that Crocker’s plagiarism was limited to the one instance.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

A Daily Caller review of Crocker’s recent articles turned up at least one other instance where the reporter appeared to pass off another writer’s work as her own, without any attribution. In an article published by The Daily Beast on Nov. 19, Crocker repeatedly used identical or noticeably similar language as an NBC News opinion column by Alexandra Tracy-Ramirez from two days before.

The Daily Beast deleted the article and replaced it with an editor’s note after a request for comment from The Daily Caller that outlined the similarities in the two articles. An archived version of the article can be seen here.

Ramirez’s column started off:

No one wants to think of someone they love, or anyone they know and respect, as a monster. But in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, as more and more people have come forward to detail their stories of harassment and assault…more and more people are having to ask themselves, as Sarah Silverman did on her Hulu show “I Love You, America,” “Can you love someone who did bad things?”

Now here’s Crocker’s article:

No one wants to think of someone they love, or anyone they admire and respect, as a monster. But as more and more people come forward with stories of harassment and assault, more and more people are having to reckon with this conflict.

Sarah Silverman was the first to do so publicly. “Can you love someone who did bad things?” she asked in the beginning of her Hulu Show, I Love You, America, in a reference to her longtime friendship with fellow comedian Louis C.K., who confessed last week to masturbating in front of numerous women against their will.

Here’s Ramirez later in her column:

It is comforting to think that horrendous acts are committed only by horrendous people. But what if we approached the current swell of sexual harassment allegations remembering that people just like us can do things that we would not do, and that not everyone who engages in bad behavior is the kind of monster we see in the movies?

Maybe when the next wave of allegations hits, we would not be as shocked by the “magnitude of the problem.” We could recognize that sexual harassment and assault are real, serious problems while opting out of character debates about whether anyone is a good person or a monster.

And here’s Crocker:

It’s comforting to tell ourselves that the Weinsteins of the world are monsters and villains, that horrible acts are only committed by horrible people. But that mindset obscures the reality that good people can do bad things, and those bad things themselves vary in badness.

The “one monster fits all” thesis makes us more inclined to make excuses for them, as my friends did with Franken. It makes us more likely to be stunned by the “magnitude of the problem,” and then to normalize or dismiss abusive behavior.

Crocker’s article even leans on a similar-sounding anecdote as Ramirez’s column. Ramirez quoted an unnamed colleague who “recently said, sometimes ‘it’s just hard to believe there could be that many monsters.'” Crocker cited similarly incredulous (and unnamed) friends who, when Franken’s alleged sexual assault became public, “couldn’t believe Franken would forced [sic] himself on another woman and shove his tongue down her throat.”

Crocker’s article doesn’t cite or link to Ramirez’s column once. An email sent to Crocker seeking comment was not returned.

“When The Daily Beast was confronted with evidence of Lizzie Crocker’s plagiarism this weekend, we deleted the article in question and launched an investigation across a significant sample of her work using automated software paired with human review. It turned up no other incidents. However, it has come to our attention that this article published on November 19 also contains plagiarism, in this case from NBC news,” Avlon said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

“Lizzie Crocker has resigned and is no longer with The Beast. Nonetheless, given this new evidence, we have deleted this article from the site and replaced it with an editors’ note. We are also continuing an investigation into the full corpus of Lizzie’s work from the past several years to ensure we apply consistent standards that are unmistakable to Beast reporters and Beast readers,” Avlon said.

Crocker’s plagiarism of the Weekly Standard piece, an essay by Alice Lloyd, was even less subtle in its theft. (RELATED: Daily Beast Reporter Resigns After Blatantly Plagiarizing Article)

Thomas Chatterton Williams, a writer for The New York Times Magazine, first pointed out on Twitter that Crocker had, apparently, copied and pasted several of Lloyd’s paragraphs into her own article without quotation or attribution.

The Beast also deleted that article and replaced it with an editor’s note.

The brazenness of Crocker’s plagiarism of Alice Lloyd’s column in The Weekly Standard was perplexing to some in media circles. Her work was respected. Why would she all of a sudden turn into plagiarist? But now, it seems, that wasn’t her first time.

It was just the first time she got caught.