Site navigation

Watching the effect of the plagiarism scandal on the blogosphere.



"they cite their sources"
"One-stop plagiarism shopping"
"A new blog keeping tabs on you-know-who"
"Major Agonist linkage"
"a good roundup of links"
"your site is a hoot"
(via email) "such an ad hoc topical site"
(via email) "I want to tell you that you're doing a great job!"
(via email) "won't be around for long"
"someone with too much time on their hands"
"essentially defunct"
"I suggest reading the Agonist Watch Site"

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Enough emails for now, but keep them coming to:
Mail #7:

I don't know who you are, and the remark about the PGP key blew my best
guess theory, but your site is a hoot.

Well, except for the name. Could you have come up with a worse site
name? I mean, really. wcnbdhusicf? What, was

By the way, the skins are causing a huge slowdown in load time. The
scripts you have, the slower the load is going to be. Then again, it
loads about as slowly as Kelley's site, so perhaps it's fitting.


Well, we could have used defhuwre9fwehvu8whfvrehwu8v, now couldn't we? So we could have come up with a worse name.
Mail #6: From Juan:

posted at;action=display;num=1049819628;start=200#238

"... a must-read Weblog that constantly links to and
culls from a range of the most informed, relevant
Websites—and that makes for a pretty good first draft
of history."

in agonist thread:
' any case, the agonist has been a phenomenon
that will be emulated by similar ad hoc & topical
websites because it works so well.

this thread alone has attracted readership from
outside the blogosphere, while the blogosphere seems
to have become obsessively solipsistic...
so the net effect has been to boost circulation for
the agonist while marginalising the envious
evolution in action - but in hours instead of
millenia...that's how it works on the net! ...'

agonist watch is just such an ad hoc topical site
would you post your stats?

Yes...6'4" 220lb muscular, good looking, intelligent....and that's just the editor. Wait until you hear about the staff.
Mail #5: From an anonymous reader:

I know you have been following the Agonist ballyhoo.

Here's more:

Jay (Sean Paul's techie) and I had a slight dispute on the message
today. Nothing nasty whatsoever. Just calm talk about the plagiarism.
Immediately following, my firewall access history showed this:
4/16/03 5:19:12 PM Deny unknown (697)
4/16/03 5:19:12 PM Deny unknown (883)

...snip about 100 lines...

4/16/03 5:19:10 PM Deny unknown (152)
4/16/03 5:19:10 PM Deny unknown (3333)

nearly 200 access attempts on my machine from Jay's domain.

amazing, right? where will they stop!

anyway, take care. great site.

Where, indeed.
Mail #4: From a reader in France:


I don't know if this is a permanent situation, but I have been going
back daily to check boy-wonder's stats on Site Meter. Yesterday they
were on the floor and today so-far they will not come up at all. It
seems at this moment as if he has killed the public tracking of his

Obviously, I can't swear to it, perhaps later in the day things will
change. Although I did just look at someone else's Site Meter stats and
theirs were working.
Mail #3: James writes:

Do you want to make extra income??
You get emails every day, offering to show you how to make money.
Most of these emails are from people who are NOT making any money.
And they expect you to listen to them?


We agree totally, James...we just want to get paid!
Mail #2:

Subject: More Kelley schenanigans?
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 17:34:53 -0000

Have you seen this:

Yes, thanks to you.
Ok, now that we've caught reasonably up on recent events and discussed some of the things we're pissed about, on to some samples from the voluminous mailbag (Mail #1):


This is Andre Botelho. I'm surfing right now at
"AOL Netfind", and I saw your contact at this web site:
I want to tell you that you're doing a great job!

I know my customers would be well-suited
prospects and vice-versa. What should I do
if I want to send a few of them your way?

Looking forward to your reply.
Reply to my personal email address:

Best Regards,


Well, Andre, thanks for the compliments. Just tell your customers to read Agonist Watch regularly!
New synonym? "He's not a Raving Atheist. He's a Raving Agonist." Steve H. in the comments of The Raving Plagiarist
Byzantium has a suggestion for Agonist shunners.
Agonist Plagiarism Scandal update: Is the Agonist being shunned?
Instapundit notes:

Time to catch The Agonist: a couple of weeks. Time to catch Jayson Blair -- over a year after the Metro editor wrote a memo saying that he needed to be stopped "right now."
Tim Swanson writes:

If I were to do anything like The Agonist did back in college, I would have been summarily flunked, and justly so. And ignoring for a moment his failure to attribute sources appropriately, the Agonist simply copied the material adding little original commentary to the messages. Note: this is where sites like BlogPulse could come in handy, to see who is just copying posts – there is a term for that: Parroting.
Why we are pissed Reason #13: Byte Back writes in WCNBDHUSICF?

There's an Agonist Watch. Don't blink because it won't be around for long. There is not much to watch.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! We are still here! Ha! We'll be here forever, or at least until our mysterious owner pays us. Is this thing getting bigger than J-Lo's butt or what?

So far the A-Watch site is just a collection of other people's comments on Sean-Paul Kelly, who I'm sure was partially targeted because he sounds French.

Comment avez-vous su?

Oh and those initials are the blog address. We Can Not Blog Decisively Having Understood Something Is Completely Fucked.

But that's just a guess.

Wrong! Thanks for playing! It actually stands for Wonderfully Conundrumic Neat Blog Defining Hard Urban Shameless Igneous Carbon Facts.
Why we are pissed Reason #12: And then we happen upon this little gem. The People's Republic of Seabrook writes:

I had a nice telephone conversation with Sean-Paul Kelley on Saturday morning, as I was trying to figure out how to kill a copperhead in my backyard. I wanted to get a feel for where he was after the plagiarism issue hit the street. I left the conversation convinced that he realizes he did something stupid, but not criminally so. Frankly, I would have to agree. While a lot of us, Sean-Paul included, would love to be taken seriously as "real journalists", the reality is that these are weblogs we're talking about here. I'm not making money (yet), nor is Sean-Paul; it's a labor of love. While we all need to be certain that we properly credit sources, it does seem as if Sean-Paul's mistake has been blown out of proportion. He did something stupid, he admitted it; the man deserves a second chance. End of story; let's all move on, shall we?

No! (Editor's note: We sure hope Sean-Paul Kelly told you to treat that copperhead humanely!) Also, we're making money for our mysterious owner, but *we* are not getting paid either, pal (yet).

I suppose it should be taken as a measure of Sean-Paul's success that someone with too much time on their hands has set up a weblog called Agonist Watch. It just goes to show that the farther up the food chain you go, the more people will be looking to pick you off.

We look at our hands and see no time! So there!

Is this much ado about nothing? Or is it worth "Watching the effect of the plagiarism scandal on the blogosphere"? Frankly, I have better things to do with my time.

Yes, like writing about Agonist Watch.

We have been dubbed Wiggly Worm #2867 by Truth Laid Bear, which has lifted the staff's spirits a bit.
Why we are pissed Reason #11: The right leaning lesbian writes:

I just found out, thanks to this that "Mac Diva" has multiple blogs! Talk about pathetic!


She also runs this one
Agonist Watch

Ok, show us the evidence, we'll give you the money! We'd rather give it to a right-leaning lesbian than anyone else, really. The Agonist Watch staff are fans of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" just like everyone else.
Why we are pissed Reason #10: Ok, this takes the cake! Alas, a Blog writes:

Natasha Watch, created by Mac Diva, is a terrible idea for a blog; its creation cannot help but spread malice and mud.

Ok, this Mac Diva thing has gotten out of hand. If she is the owner of Agonist Watch (there is still a $500 reward if anyone can prove it) then she is starting new "watch" blogs without paying any of the current staff! If she doesn't own Agonist Watch, then the *real* owner of Agonist Watch will be very interested in talking to the owner of "Natasha Watch" for franchise infringement! Unless, of course ....nevermind.

Then, in the comments to the article, PG writes:

Many bloggers consider their role to be that of a watchdog on traditional media, and some go on to watchdog more well-known bloggers, as with the SullyWatch on Andrew Sullivan, or the (essentially defunct) Agonist Watch.

First of all, we are not "essentially defunct!" Second of all, what is Sully Watch? Could this be our mysterious owner? (pssst...$500 to anyone who can prove it)
What is this about Russia and WWIII? The issue got blown way out of hand when some people opened up a whole new blog following Agonist - the kinda Agonist-Hate Blog: Agonist Watch! Which, obviously, shows how Agonist is humangously popular!

Patton was right. Patton was definately right.
Why we are pissed Reason #9: You leave for a few months and bloggers like Gene Expression start lascivious rumors about us, claiming we are "run" and "owned" by "hysterical" and "paranoid" Mac Diva! Witness:

"At least one of them is definitely run by her (Agonist Watch), but for her to run *all* the others would take a lot of time. I find it implausible, but maybe she really is a huge internet nerd who has nothing better to do than game NZ's Ecosystem. Seems unlikely, but perhaps someone has evidence. "

Well, the unpaid staff of Agonist Watch has contacted Mac Diva in hopes of getting our back pay with no success. Talk about heartbreak! Our Fiji vacation bills have already arrived. Seems our mysterious owner has deemed us to be unworthy of email response! We took up a collection, and are offering a genuine $500 reward (no joke) for anyone who has evidence that Mac Diva or any other blogger is our owner! If you can prove we are owned by another blogger, we'll finally get our pay, and so will you!
Why we are pissed Reason #8: Shock and Awe had the audacity to suggest we are biased in the list of reasons they still like the Agonist! Oh well, we can't be too pissed, they suggested reading us.
Why we are pissed Reason #7: Mark Glaser put our name in quotes!
Why we are pissed Reason #6: We didn't think of this!
Why we are pissed Reason #5: No quality hatemail like this to respond to!
Why we are pissed Reason #4: We leave for a few months, get back and find we have a recommended reading list and ecosystem stats! We don't have time to read! Half our staff can't even read! Lastly, what does all this mean?
Why we are pissed Reason #3: The economy is improving and traffic is horrible! Why can't we have a depression and get all these people off the road? They'd have a hard time driving all over if they couldn't afford to buy gas. Is a maximum of 70 years between depressions too much to ask? Maybe instead of this global warming crap, we need a good old-fashioned ice age. Turn the clock back 100,000 years and Michigan is buried under 500 feet of ice. Ha! No more freakin cars on the road then, eh?
Why we are pissed Reason #2: A simple vacation and the war is over and warblogging is dead! Why can't we have wars like WWII again that last several years? Is that too much to ask?
Why we are pissed Reason #1: Ok, first of all, it's hot! In fact, it's damn hot! No, we aren't talking about the Agonist site stats, we are talking about the weather! Our picture of our favorite gris-gris woman has practically melted, which really sucks, since we can't remember how to get another one at the moment.

Speaking of site stats, the Agonists' have been mysteriously been taken down. Hmmmm.
Ok, we, the staff of Agonist Watch are back from a lengthy vacation in Fiji and boy are we pissed! Details soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

You can now contact Agonist Watch at (sorry, no PGP key). Leads appreciated and will be credited unless otherwise specified.
Sean-Paul apparently offers to fact-check for Meryl, Meryl says "Pay attention, Sean-Paul, this is how it's done"

"While the offer is appreciated for what it is—a lame attempt at embarassing me—I must firmly refuse your offer of assistance. To have a known plagiarist help me with fact-checking of any kind would only besmirch my reputation. You see, Sean-Paul, what I have done is make a simple mistake. What you have done is put out a series of lies until you were exposed in a national magazine, and only then owned up to—well, you haven't really owned up to it yet, have you?"
I was considering yanking our Research and Development Department's advanced prototype "Agonist Scandal Blogosphere Instant Mood-o-Meter" as needless sensationalism, but if she likes it, maybe it will stay.
From a comment at An Age Like This:

"Copyright is monopolism. that is all. it was left outside to die. it has no application here where one of the primary values is information. on the internet, information will be free. that's just physics and human nature = reality.
so the really weird sacrificial rites around the Agonist only serves to identify those participants as strange foreigners, here. similar, in character, to any fundamentalists.
their derangement is an ugly thing for anyone to have to witness..."
Blogads: "Unmarked quotes, quoting badly and sinful silence
What the Agonist did -- not putting quotation marks and attributions on stuff he posted -- was bad and stupid.


Friday, April 11, 2003

"The most trusted name in news" has everyone talking about this article reported earlier today and expands the argument of journalistic integrity to a whole new level. A sampling of what they are saying:

Dave Winer: "A riveting op-ed in today's NY Times raises basic issues of editorial integrity at CNN and a new window into the tyranny of Saddam's Iraq. Technically there's no doubt that Eason Jordan has admitted a major breach of editorial integrity at CNN."

Dan Gillmore: "CNN should have left the country. It was not worth keeping a bureau open if the only way to do so was to make so many ethical and moral compromises."

Transterrestrial Musings: "Now that we know how the game is played , please tell us why your reporting from Damascus, or Gaza, or the West Bank (as just three examples) should be given any credibility whatsoever. How much of Arafat and Assad's thuggish behavior have you been covering up?"
New Media Musings:
"Stupid indeed, and regrettable, given The Agonist's sudden burst of popularity. Amateur bloggers who want to play by journalism's rules have to live by all the rules -- and plagiarism is a major no-no, no matter the medium."
David Kenner is writing an essay on the subject:

"I was probably unfair, earlier, to imply that lefty bloggers are giving Sean-Paul a free ride because he's a liberal."

"In preparing to write this essay, I contacted some of the liberal blogs listed below, and asked them for their reason in not delinking Kelley. The Daily Kos was kind enough to respond very promptly, and even better, succinctly and sincerely. His e-mail is good enough to print in full"

The reply is in the article.
Counterspin Central: "METABLOGGING AT ITS MOST RIDICULOUS: There's actually an Agonist Watch."
Inbound links at Technorati
Dystopian: "Here's hoping the incident doesn't tarnish the rest of the Blogosphere."
Mediajunk: "One of the reasons why blogging will never rival journalism became clear this week when noted "warblogger" Sean-Paul Kelley, publisher of The Agonist, was reported by Wired magazine (no less) to have blatantly plagiarized many of his entries."

Hesiod blasts Meryl and Meryl blasts back.

"Bloggers are not journalists (see here and here). But, as commenters in the public sphere, we are certainly bound by the same rules of etiquette (not to mention law) regarding plagiarism."

Is this ethical? Did they do the right thing by withholding news?

"CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk."
"We have an IP address"
Front page is now back
Actually, the front page loads, but it has only the following HTML in it:

[!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"]
[META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=windows-1252"][/HEAD]

(angle brackets were changed to squares)
Others can't get through, either.
Sean-Paul says his hosting company says the Agonist is being hacked. I can't seem to get through to the main page right now.
funferal: "The widespread publicity should discourage other bloggers from going a similar route."
rebecca has pointers on ethics
Alas, a blog responds to Meryl: "I find Meryl's claim that she hasn't seen "a word" from the left to be a bit bizarre, since she links to Mac Diva's post. But that aside, I don't really see this as a left-right issue. Surely everyone is against plagiarism. I'd question anyone keeping the Agonist on their blogroll after this, and I think those blogs who are very interested in issues of blogging ethics, journalistic ethics, and academic ethics - or who have frequently linked to the Agonist - might want to talk about this."

roger l. simon writes: "it strikes me that the rapid response to Kelley's "mistake" is an example of why Aaron Brown's criticism of the Blogosphere the other night on CNN was wrong. While interviewing Glenn Reynolds, Brown raised his mass media eyebrows at the idea that bloggers were "unedited." Actually, they may be more thoroughly edited than writers in establishment media. They can have thousands of editors coming down on their heads in a matter of minutes. Even at magazines famous for fact-checking, like The New Yorker, there are only one or two."
Dana Blankenhorn responds to the Washington Post article and writes:
"There is no jury for bloggers, save the market....What matters is whether you keep reading, or keep watching. What matters isn't the "profession" (there is no such thing -- journalism is just a trade like baking or baseball) but the market."
Derek on the ethics of blogging "Sean-Paul was in the wrong, his new found popularity got the best of him, aside from violating copywrite laws, he has damaged the trust of his readers and distorted the mission of the blogging community. For the next of the high-traffic blogs, I hope they remember that they represent our community and will do so more responsibly then he."
Byte Back writes:

"I think some of the attack is due to jealousy - Sean-Paul Kelly received mentions in the NY Times and other places. I believe he has done so, not because of his claims for "sources" but because he quickly became a hub of information through seemingly tireless posting."
Amish Tech Support rants back to Electric Venom:

"The Agonist set back the Blogopshere decades with his theft of copyrighted material to post to a blog."
"Cite your sources!
Credit the original creator of material!
How simple is that?" asks "What journalist ethics apply to blogging?"
Wylie wants to "get a couple of more whacks in" in "Horse dead, still flogging"

"The new kind of journalism Kelley has been boldly fighting for has suffered a setback. This bold, brave new style doesn't bother with attribution, with fact-checking and the other excuses for delay. Kelley wanted a fast-paced, slimmed down, fighting media that could respond to any situation at any time. He saw himself and his brother bloggers slaying the dinosaurs of the hated 'clerisy of professional Journalists.'"

Flea makes some point about conventions of blogging and plagiarism, and the French.
Geek Blog writes:

"Now the community has to recover. I am certain that many people who have blogged about this guy's site have removed such links, and Kelley will really need to work hard to regain the trust of his readers. We will make it, I know the community can do it."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Chicago Sun-Times talks about celebrity bloggers and the Agonist incident (via the plagiarism thread)
Sean-Paul and jay write a big thank-you
Chose this new format to make the text somewhat easier to read. Maybe I'll figure out how to get rid of "my funny motto" up there tomorrow. Until then, I'm content to just look ridiculous.
Putin gets tough on plagiarism, from the Moscow Times:

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) --President Vladimir Putin has signed into law amendments to Clause 146 of the Criminal Code providing for tougher measures against intellectual piracy, the presidential press service reported Wednesday.

Under the law, plagiarism, if it causes considerable damage to an author or another copyright holder, is punishable either by a fine of 200 to 400 minimum wages or by a fine equal to two to four times the lawbreaker's monthly salary. Currently, the minimum wage is set at 450 rubles ($14.30) per month.

Otherwise, a lawbreaker can be sentenced to 180 to 240 hours of compulsory labor or jailed for three to six months.

"Holy crap this guy's prolific" from an article at Shift
Mac-Diva writes a rebuttal ("Defending the Indefensible") to a rare defense of the Agonist previously reported:

"I would prefer that liberal bloggers not defend Kelley at all rather than see us sink to the depths of irrationality in doing so. So far, most of the non-conservative bloggers I know are aware of the scandal have chosen not to comment. Some people may interpret that as a defense of the Agonist, but I don't think it is. The silence strikes me more as 'if you can't say something good about a person. . .' or a refusal to criticize the dead man blogging."

She has been quite prolific lately:

In "Filter filets ethics issue" - she comments on the Washington Post article and offers:

"What does a blogger schooled in both journalism and law think about the ethics issue? I consider avoiding plagiarism and always attributing sources (or explaining why an attribution is not possible) as threshold ethical behavior for anyone practicing a form of journalism, whether the focus is news or opinion. I consider blogging about currrent events, including hard and soft news, to be journalism."

In Trouble in Paradise she speculates on why Stratfor reached an agreement with Kelly, and adds:

"For anyone wondering, in journalism what Kelley has done would be considered a firing offense by any reputable newspaper. "
Maybe this is the future for bloggers, although this is a website, they have put up a code of ethics, including a rules for citing the work of others and plagiarism, their advertising and income policy and a journalistic code of ethics. Now why would a site devoted to mead do that other than they are trying to live up to their domain name? Nice logo graphic.
The Wired Article is still top-o-the-Popdex
Chris Lawrence has a lengthy update to his post The Agonist: Thoughtful, global, plagiarized? in which he mentions Agonist Watch. A few points he makes in the update:

He notes USAToday has picked up the story.

He also notes that Command-Post has less drop-off in site stats than the Agonist. Interestingly, Command-Post is trending up (growth), while the Agonist is trending down. I think this is partly due to the multiple-contributor model of Command-Post, which is better suited to rapid-fire news, imo. The negative publicity sure isn't helping the Agonist grow, but then it doesn't seem to be hurting other blogs much, judging by the Command-Post.

He also pointed out the email referenced in a link belowalludes to a conversation between Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and Kelly. Kurtz apparently refers to the Wired article as a "hatchet job." Will he be writing a column in defense of Kelly? The Washington Post has already weighed in, but this is their "tech" arm. An article by Kurtz ... and who knows?
Venusberg ventilates: "I for one am ready to swear that you'll get a warm fuzzy when you see that some people are seeing the big picture, and the concomitant necessity to squabble with other bloggers."
Ursula says: easy to uncover plagiarism, not sure why anyone would do it over and over and over again (once I could brush off, but doing it 5-6 times a week is unforgiveable)"
Andrea Harris has some pointers on plagiarism
"I was saddened to receive this email yesterday from Sean-Paul Kelly"
Is/was the Agonist trying to be like Drudge?


Instead of paying reporters to ferret out stories, Drudge gets the news through his network of sources. "To my knowledge Matt does virtually no independent reporting whatsoever,"


Aggregate, Don't Duplicate


"Matt's whole mantra has been that he's this lone individual against the world," says Christopher Ruddy, editor of the website NewsMax.
Rosemary writes her thoughts:

"I find it annoying that he claims to not had the time to type the word "Stratfor". It's all of 8 letters - 8 letters that he used to be able to type easily BEFORE. Of course, when he is busy cutting and pasting with lightening speed "for his readers" it is a little time consuming to type in BY HAND 8 long letters."


"Stop spinning. Sean-Paul LIED. He LIED. He led people to believe that he was busy working hard - getting all that information by reading and watching the news. I know because I was there. He let people think that he was doing ALL the work. People complimented him on his efforts - he thanked them all so graciously for noticing his HARD WORK. I know because I was ONE OF THEM.


I'M ANGRY. I feel like I was taken. And, I was."

In other news, Sean Penn's car and gun (in the trunk) were stolen
Meryl ventilates to those who "think she's being too hard on Kelly:"

"It's not like he, oh, plagiarized a pay-for-information service, passed the work off as his own, and tried to parlay it into a paying job."

"Kelley has never yet acknowledged his plagiarism."

"He lied about the unnamed source, and then gave out the source's phone number (wonder if he got permission?), and tried to pin the plagiarism on the source. Yep, these are all actions of a penitent man."

"I do believe he deserves to be delinked by the blogosphere ."

"He delinked Dean Esmay for mentioning the plagiarism."
This article is applicable. The guy is writing a book about "When Every Reader Can Be a Writer " and asks for your input
Ken Layne's article is still the top weblog post on Daypop
"Blogistan is a nasty Place" - translated from German via Google - Original
Neal Sheeran found this blog. He Writes:

"I think the resulting fallout/discussion is as interesting, if not more, than the original story of outright fraud and theft."
StoutDem writes: "I agree with the words of another blogger in that article: "I can no longer recommend his site to my readers." The link that was here (under War News) to Kelley's site has been removed."
Hot Buttered Death writes:

"It's inexcusable, and I'm not surprised at some of the reaction I've seen on both sides of the political chasm"
"I don't know, though, I suspect there's a bit of a beat-up going on."
Pathetic - Kevin Whited
Major Blogger Ignores Plagionist Scandal
- Little Tiny Lies
Plagiarism in the Age of Google - Matthew Yglesias
"Kelley's fans (his site has evolved in the course of a couple of weeks to include three mirrors and a busy message board) seem willing to defend his lapses, few other bloggers are standing up for him; but then he burned bridges, or perhaps ladders, on his way up." (at Blogroots)
Instapundit has a new comment via Wizblog
Get Popdex Citations for this blog (none yet)
DiamondBlog: "Amazing that it took so long for him to get caught. Also amazing how much traffic the technique got him."

TampaTantrum: "Ouch, baby, very Ouch"
Blogatelle: "A hypocrite and a liar"
Textism accuses Dean of theft and says this affair is a "babyconservative dogpile" on the Agonist. Via Andrea Harris, who responds.
Is that other blog mocking?

"In the spirit of The Agonist, we bring these reactions to you typed in breathless real-time as events unfold. (We regret that no opportunity exists to go all out with our tribute and plagiarize some professional journalism. Indeed, we'll buck the whole lack-of-integrity aspect of the imitation and point out that all quotes are paraphrased"
Dave Kenner writes: "The amazing thing about this Agonist scandal has been the major blogs' willingness to let it die. For as long as I've read blogs, a period best measured in years, bloggers have assumed the role of watchdog."
"He should either be kicked of the Warblogs:cc staff, or resign -- or that site should be subjected to the same measures as his own. This isn't something other blogs can simply ignore. Our reputation, and our identity, are at stake."
Rick Klau explains who Daniel Forbes is
Acidman: Scandal!
The Agonist is paying for links on Google, but they may want to reconsider this particular search word combination. The ad for the Agonist appears on the right-hand-side right above a link to this site.
The article by Ken Layne is the top post on Daypop
Winds of Change defends their continued link to the Agonist
This guy responds to Meryl: "IMHO, he's toast. When you've systematically stolen material, over time, there's no justification - it's not an aberration, a delirious moment at the end of a long day, but a gaping hole in your character."
Anyone speak German? What does Industrial technology have to do with witchcraft?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Jim Basset puts "his wrong doing in the same camp as running a gnutella client"
RiShawn writes: "The recent expose on the blogger who calls himself “The Agonist” and his admitted plagiarism of paid intelligence news site Stratfor, is hilarious just because it embarrasses the established news organizations that sang its praises."

Agonist pageviews are definately trending down, but I suspect this is part of the normal weekly pattern coupled with lessening interest in the war.
Gcz posted these comments (same thread as below):

let's begin research on our topic with the dictionary.
pla·gia·rism (pl!Æjà rizÅÃm, -j" à rizÅ-), n.
1. the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.

point- the language or thoughts posted are public domain. therefore no authorisation is required. therefore this is not plagiarism.

point- the language or thoughts posted were not represented as original work. therefore this is not plagiarism.

now, i apologise to my wife often enough without being guilty of anything just to calm her down. i'm sure it's hardly admissible in court as a confession of anything other than a rather peaceloving nature.

li·bel (l#ÆbÃl), n., v., -beled, -bel·ing or (esp. Brit.) -belled, -bel·ling.
1. Law.
a. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.

point- accusations of plagiarism are false and you know it. you have made such accusations. therefore this is libel.

otherwise - hey, bodacious resumé - part of a strategy designed to ape a career of single-handed investigative brilliance? I mean, i don't see any thanks for anyone who may have helped you...or any credits cited...

Remember Napster!
your era is through.
tyranny will not be tolerated on the internet.
An Agonist regular Gcz apparently has sent an email to Daniel Forbes (the guy who wrote the Wired article) and supposedly received a reply from him, which Gcz posted in the plagiarism thread cited below. Per the request in the reply, the reply is posted in it's entirety below, rather than an excerpt (the original email is in the plagiarism thread):

From: Danforbes
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 06:29:52 EDT
Subject: Reply to your note to do with what you will provided you quote it in whole
Hello, oh curiously nameless writer:
Well, if all your points are true, why has Mr. Kelley apologized so fully? And consider, beyond the endlessly repeated lack of attribution, the outright fabrication of supposed sources, i.e., "a little birdie" and the "Turkish friend." They were part of a strategy designed to ape a wealth of contacts -- the sort of gold that reporters spend entire careers finding and hoarding. It was a strategy, as Mr. Kelley told me, designed to encourage real sources to contact him.
As for your charge that I proceed, "without being willing to put forth even the slightest effort to look into your topic": I'm afraid, having twice pursued government malfeasance 'on spec' -- that is, for free, with no guarantee of payment or even publication -- for some six months each time because I thought they both were stories that needed to be told, well....
The first of these, disclosing the secret payments of Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey to the TV networks rewarding government-scripted anti-drug storylines in sitcoms and dramas got enough play.
As to the second, The Governor's Sub Rosa Plot to Subvert an Election in Ohio, any notice you might give it is much appreciated. It was published by the venerable Washington think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies [] and detailed how, in concert with a senior Bush administration official, Ohio Governor Bob Taft embarked on a concerted, months-long effort to subvert the state's electoral process and defeat a drug treatment rather than incarceration amendment that appeared on the ballot this past November. It proved massive political malfeasance, the misuse of public funds and the inappropriate use of government resources.
As for your accusation that I'm "an envious troll": Once your award-winning work has appeared on nearly every front page in the country; once you've single-handedly engendered four congressional hearings, have testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives along with a Clinton cabinet member your work has called to account; once you've helped curtail an abusive program of covert, federal mind-control, well....
I ask only, but insistently, that should you make any use of this note, please publish it whole. By my prolix standards, it's really not that long.
Dan Forbes

Things heat up at the Agonist plagiarism thread and this blog gets a mention.
"we ain't leavin' till we're heavin" - Jay on what's next for Agonist
The Providence Journal notices.
Wes Salmon isn't surprised.
The Agonist Stumbles - MSNBC

"The biggest news to rock the Weblog world this week "

"Several other Weblogs, — including’s Weblog Central — have also dropped The Agonist from their lists of recommended warblogs."

"Other warblog readers are troubled by Kelley’s continuing efforts to raise money with his site."

Very long article.
Quite a bunch of comments here as well as links to the article.
So...Day 3 after the Wired story - where does it go from here? It appears the intial wave of bloggers' comments listed below are all pretty condemning of the incident. But the defense is making it's case now, as evidenced by the last few entries. As far as I can tell, the Agonist is waiting for this to blow over - but mainstream media is perhaps waiting in the wings to chime in. They hyped the whole warblogger thing (when they needed to fill in some spots) and put the Agonist, Command-Post and others on the map, drawing a whole new audience that didn't know what a blog was two or three weeks ago. Webloggers have broken through, but was this what they wanted? Will they continue coverage? Will the incident cause them (or give them an excuse) to back off from covering blogs at all for awhile?

Today was a TV day for the war coverage. Blogs just can't convey what happened in Baghdad the way images on TV can. With TV coverage on the spot, the need for the aggregated, lightning fast news of warblogs will be diminishing until the next need for coverage where the TV cameras can't compete. I think warblogs are due for a breather, but people will remember this great source of news and turn to it again. 2004 Election blogs?
joy just noticed this blog and has advice - but what is a G33K girl?
The Houston Chronical interviews Sean-Paul about the incident.


Keith Woods, the reporting, writing and editing group leader at the media think tank Poynter Institute, says that if a Web site is acting in a journalistic fashion, it should follow all rules of journalism such as accuracy and fairness. Once you step out of that realm, there are still rules that apply to lying and deception, he says.

"Representing something that's not yours is still lying," Woods says.
"I hope I can recover from this," he (Sean-Paul) later said in a phone interview.

Venomous Kate defends the Agonist
A Clever Sheep defends the Agonist. "these lapses in attribution can just as easily be chalked up to Sean-Paul's personal voice -- humor and an air of espionage"
The Boston Phoenix picks up the story.
A constant issue in many articles on this is the apology. Although The Agonist offered one, it is now buried in the archives, and a casual reader would never find it. Several authors have called for an apology (or link to it) right up front on the main page. Truth Laid Bear was one of the first.
LittleTinyLies has a thoughtful discussion on the matter. Steve says that "bloggers' fight for respect was sabotaged from within," and that the "Agonist gives big media more ammunition." He further contends that big media has been making preemtive strikes at bloggers and in this incident "The Agonist took the stick they were beating us with and added spikes to it"
Perhaps this all started months ago?
The Wired story is the top news on Daypop News with 173 citations.
Population:One pulls the Agonist from his blogroll.
The affair gets a mention in the weblog of the Guardian
Meryl points out a new article in Today's Washinton Post Filter
Radio Free Blogistan has thoughts on the Agonist and war as a career opportunity
No big dropoff in Agonist views - it's more like a taper-off
The guy who wrote this is stirring things up on the Agonist comment board.
Drezner has a good summary of the situation.
The comments section of The Agonist Uproar is interesting
One wonders as you watch the toppling of Saddam's statue and Baghdad fall, is the end of warblogs near?
Colby Cosh was missed in the links below
Ken Layne's take is making the Daypop Top 40
MetaFilter has an interesting discussion.
funferal had some early comments, before the Wired story broke.
Wylie talks about intellectual property theft
Blogs of War has some good comments
Rands replaces Agonist
Sheila calls it piracy (via jd)
When your supporters act badly

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Nicholas Jon thinks it's a career-ending offense.
Geodog has some advice for getting readers.
Random Static asks for integrity.
Scott Rosenberg: When in Doubt, link it out
Balloon Juice thinks the Agonist is still at it.
Dean has more thoughts on the Agonist Uproar and gets accused of being too lenient on the Agonist and ends up suggesting Sean-Paul Kelley offer another apology.
Things are still going strong at the plagiarism discussion thread.
Neal Sheeran missed the controversy, but says the Agonist's apology was half-hearted.
Agonist site visits appear to be dropping. Is it disinterest in the war, the scandal, or something else? It could just be the weekly dropoff, but this week's peak is less than last week's.
But another fan pines for the old days (when the news wasn't so slow)
A loyal fan demands an apology from Wired and accuses them of libel.
More plagiarism stuff! from Ken Layne
Fellow Texan The Fat Guy calls the Agonist a "hypocritical carpet-bagging scumbag"
Meryl has a new entry.
Mac Diva, a former? print journalist adds her thoughts.
Chris is watching this too.
Maybe the Iraqi Freedom Automatic News Generator would be of some use.
Blogshares is too far behind right now to notice any effect.

This is the article that started the controversy yesterday:

Noted War Blogger Cops to Copying

As of today, it was ranked number 2 on the "pulse of the blogosphere"

But this is the guy who discovered the whole affair.
A short recap of Day 2 events to kickoff:

People are still trying to sort out the effect this has had on the blog community:

Truth Laid Bear gives some practical advice to the Agonist:

Meryl Yourish sets up an Agonist Ecosystem Watch

Bill Middleton weighs in.

Dean gives some thoughts and apparently gets vandalized by some rabid fans.

Diane contributes

not to mention this

and last, but certainly not least, the Washington Post weighs in Ouch.