Margaret Wente, a 20-year columnist for Canada’s largest-selling newspaper, The Globe & Mail, stands accused of plagiarism by colleagues and her boss.
The Globe & Mail, considered the national newspaper of record in Canada, has responded with what some analysts consider a weak and diluted hand slap, according to The Guardian.
Canadian blogger Carol Wainio has posted stories about Wente’s plagiarizing on several occasions; other bloggers have likewise strongly implied Wente was drawing too closely from the work of other writers.
Wente, 62, is from Illinois, but was partly schooled in Canada and moved there in 1964, later becoming a naturalized citizen.
Eventually such accusations caught the eye of Sylvia Stead, the Toronto newspaper’s public Editor, and Friday Stead concluded that "there appears to be some truth to the concerns but not on every count."
Regarding one column, Stead, who has been with the paper in various executive positions for about 40 years, said Wente crossed the line, blurring the writings of a political professor with her own work.
"This column contains thoughts and statements by Professor Robert Paarlberg which are paraphrased and not always clearly identified," said Stead.
However, rather than quelling the scandal, Stead's lack of disciplinary action against Wente, considered a conservative columnist, has attracted increased scrutiny to the controversy as Canadian media commentators like Maclean’s Colby Cosh and John Miller of The Journalism Doctor blog weigh into The Globe & Mail’s investigation.
Miller calls the investigation of Wente’s plagiary a "perfunctory" and "a shockingly inadequate response." Miller says Stead’s report omits that three corrections or clarifications were added to other Wente columns after previous Wainio accusations for "the appropriation of material written by others and not properly attributed."
Cosh used harsher terms, describing the editor’s investigation and response to Wente’s alleged plagiarizing as "remarkable papal bull," and claims the paper never admits plagiarism had occurred.