November 14, 2003

PLAGIARIZING BLOGGERS? This has to be embarrassing for the New York Times. Venkat Balasubramani thinks it's poetic justice. Or something like that.

UPDATE: A Hollywood reader emails about Bernard Weinraub, subject of this flap: "One of the great on-going scandals hereabouts is that he still covers the Hollywood Beat for the NYT when he has been married for several years to Amy Pascal, studio head at Sony. It's extreme conflict of interest. Hard to fathom."

Yeah, Mickey Kaus had something on that recently:

So why is the spouse of Amy Pascal, who runs one of the biggest Hollywood studios (as one of three Vice-Chairmen of Sony Pictures) writing a New York Times profile of Jack Valenti, head of the movie studios' trade association and lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Association of America? It doesn't take much imagination to see the potential for conflict when Pascal's husband, Bernard Weinraub, covers his wife's business.

This seems to me to be a bigger ethical problem than sort-of lifting a paragraph from a blog. It's no surprise, though, that the latter gets more attention than the former. In fact -- as you can read in this chapter on plagiarism from the book on ethics that Peter Morgan and I wrote -- such an instinct for the capillary is typical.