Any teacher worth their salt can quickly discern when one of their students has plagiarized their school assignment from Wikipedia or some other erudite source.
When the words in the essay that the student hands in differ significantly from the type of language that they typically use or suddenly indicate a massive augmentation of vocabulary nor previously demonstrated, the savvy teacher can be fairly certain that some sort of unmentioned “borrowing” has taken place in order to goose the offending student’s grade or relieve them of the burden of actually thinking things through and doing the required labor necessary to complete the assignment.
With that in mind, one can come to the conclusion that The New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman would be a heck of an effective teacher.
Haberman took one look at Donald Trump’s recent statement endorsing How I Saved the World, the new book by Fox News political commentator Jesse Watters and immediately came to the conclusion that someone other than the doddering psychopath with the vocabulary of a middle-school student must have written it.
I wanna know who wrote this pic.twitter.com/dPger7Y3Gz
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 14, 2021
With its fully-constructed, multi-part sentence, Haberman doubted that this back-scratching promotional blurb was the intellectual product of the man whose disdain for intelligence he wears as a badge of honor and whose typical cadences of speech rarely extend to the multi-syllabic.
Haberman’s desire to find the actual source of the literary praise that Trump sprayed upon Watter’s new tome was soon fulfilled, thanks to the sleuthing efforts of Jeremy Stahl, a senior editor at Slate.
Stahl discovered that Trump had lifted his description of Watter’s book directly from the work’s own details page.
LOL. Trump's latest statement is an endorsement of Jesse Watters' book that reads like a personal blurb/review from someone who has read the book, but which is actually lifted verbatim from the book's details page. pic.twitter.com/DKUHgxebMk
— Jeremy Stahl (@JeremyStahl) July 14, 2021
Stahl was not the only investigative journalist to discover the source of Trump’s purloined press release.
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel also independently found the origin of Trump’s promotional copy and added a suggestion to the publishers of future books with a positive spin on the disgraced ex-president that they’d be wise to follow if they don’t want this sort of embarrassing debacle to happen with their author’s works.
The "interspersed" line in Trump's statement on the Jesse Watters book sounded off, un-Trumpy. That's because it was copy-pasted from the publisher's description of the book.
Future solution: Publishers of pro-Trump books need to copy his syntax in their ad copy. pic.twitter.com/qGcWVVMqy6
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 14, 2021
it’s fairly simple for publishers to find a ghost copywriter to emulate Donald Trump’s spoken voice in their written publicity blurbs.
All they would need to do is attend a MAGA rally for recruitment purposes or put up a help-wanted ad on the right-wing-oriented Parler or Gab social media platforms, and they should find plenty of people whose tone and language perfectly mirror that of Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump deserves a failing grade and a lengthy sentence in detention for his latest act of linguistic larceny.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.