How the Goodwin Story DevelopedHot Topics
tags: doris kearns goodwin, plagiarism
Editor's Note 10-6-05 Doris Kearns Goodwin's new biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, has generated renewed interest in the scandal of 2002, when it was revealed that she had borrowed passages from other writers without proper acknowledgement. This page tracked the story as it unfolded. The story proceeds in chronological order. The latest entry features columnist Alex Beam's discovery that copies of her tainted work, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, had not been withdrawn from booksellers' shelves as had been promised.
The Weekly Standard first published Bob Crader's story on its website on Friday January 18, 2002 at 6:10 pm. It was then published in the January 28 paper edition of the magazine.
The Associated Press on Monday January 21 published half a dozen different versions of the story, citing the Weekly's account.
On January 22 the Boston Globe published the first newspaper story about Goodwin, who lives in the Boston area. The Globe reported for the first time that Goodwin had paid Lynne McTaggart an undisclosed amount in their settlement. Goodwin told the paper she's"absolutely not" a plagiarist. She said there were extensive footnotes" in The Fitzgeralds. She said that her mistake was not properly marking quotations in her 900 pages of hand-written notes. She explained that this was the"first big work of history I have ever done." The Globe story pointed out that in 1976--eleven years before--she had published Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. Ms. Kearns added that at the time she criticized Joe McGinniss she was unaware she had borrowed quotes without attribution.
On the afternoon of the twenty-second Slate.com published an article by Timothy Noah that provocatively claimed Goodwin"has not only committed plagiarism, but lied about whether it was plagiarism (and, incidentally, paid hush money to one of the people she plagiarized)." Noah observed that if a freshman at Harvard (where Goodwin sits on the Board of Overseers)had done what she did, the punishment would have been severe:"Harvard policy," according to the school handbook,"requires instructors to report all suspected cases to the Dean of the College, and most such cases are ultimately adjudicated by the Administrative Board. If the majority of Board members believe, after considering the evidence and your own account of the events, that you misused sources, they will likely vote that you be required to withdraw from the College for at least two semesters."
On January 23 the New York Times published its first story on the controversy. The paper did not advance the story, but used a startlingly blunt headline:"Historian Critical of Author Is Also Found to Plagiarize." A picture caption stated plainly that Goodwin"says carelessness led to plagiarism in a book she wrote in 1987." The article itself did not describe what Goodwin did as"plagiarism." (The online edition of the NYT carried this more circumspect headline:"Historian Says Publisher Quickly Settled Copying Dispute." The picture caption read:"She attributed her use of others' work in a book she wrote in 1987 to carelessness.")
On the afternoon of January 23 the Weekly Standard published a letter by Joe McGinniss about l'affaire Goodwin. He expressed his admiration for Ms. Goodwin but charged that she had mischaracterized his book out of a duty"she was expected to perform as a member of the Kennedy extended family." He insisted that"her complaint about my work was essentially baseless--that I quote from her repeatedly in my text, in each case placing quotation marks around the words used, and crediting her as the source." He noted that he even acknowledged her help in an author's note published, he pointed out,"in the original edition of the book, not added later."
Later on the twenty-third the Weekly Standard ran another story, this time featuring an interview with Lynne McTaggart, author of the book on Kathleen Kennedy. This was the first time McTaggert had ever spoken out. She said she felt compelled to after Goodwin misconstrued the record. Goodwin had told the Boston Globe that just a few paragraphs had been borrowed without proper attribution from McTaggert. McTaggert charged that so many of her words had been copied that she decided not to ask Goodwin to put them all in quotes."I never asked for quotations [because] I felt it would be impossible because of the sheer number of them. It would have taken hours and hours of determining what was an exact quote, almost an exact quote, and what was a close paraphrase. . . . So we said it was enough to attribute everything that came from my book."
Eight days after the story first broke Goodwin defended herself in a piece in Time.com. She blamed the entire mess on faulty note-taking. She did not address the charge of hypocrisy (i.e., accusing Joe McGinniss of the same offense of which she herself was guilty). Unlike Stephen Ambrose, she did not claim that it was a legitimate practice to drop into her book whole passages from another without using quotation marks.
On Saturday February 23, 2002 the Goodwin story took a new turn. Ms. Goodwin told the New York Times that"she failed to acknowledge scores of [additional] close paraphrases from other authors." She said that after the January flap she had asked her researchers to stop working on her next book, which is about Lincoln, so they could do a thorough check of possibly borrowed passages in her Kennedy book. She said that was when she discovered that many more passages had been borrowed. She said that at her request Simon and Schuster is going to destroy the copies of the book on hand and publish a new corrected edition in the spring. This will cost the publisher about $10,000.
In January when the story broke Goodwin explained that she had changed her methods after the Kennedy book to ensure accuracy. She told the NYT, however, that"she continued taking notes and writing in longhand."
Goodwin declined to identify the borrowed passages or the books they came from. That Saturday night History News Network revealed the names of three of the books, providing a list of borrowed passages.
On Wednesday February 27, USA Today ran an editorial ridiculing both Goodwin and Ambrose. The editorial began:"Half-truths. Implausible denials. Secret payoffs. Shredded documents. The elements of the Enron scandal? Nope, the reaction of big-name historians to revelations that they plagiarized parts of their popular histories on the Kennedy family and World War II."
Later on Wednesday the wires reported that Goodwin was bumped from her PBS perch on"The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." PBS said that Goodwin and the show's producers agreed she should go on indefinite leave until"she gets her situation resolved."
HNN reported that Goodwin was making phone calls to editors to preserve the reputation of her Pulitzer Prize winner, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Both she and her publisher, Simon and Schuster, insist that the Roosevelt book is free of the kinds of errors that cropped up in the Kennedy book.
Also Wednesday, the University of Delaware announced that it had withdrawn an invitation for her to speak at graduation in May. University President David Roselle explained:"We thought better to just cancel the appearance than to have her talk in front of our students and their families."
The following day the NYT ran two stories mentioning Goodwin, one by David Kirkpatrick announcing Goodwin's departure from the Jim Lehrer show, the other by Martin Arnold taking both Goodwin and Ambrose to task for their"lame" excuses. The Arnold article appeared on the front page of the Living Arts section, guaranteeing it a wide audience.
The Boston Globe, which first broke the story that Goodwin had paid McTaggert money, published two columns at the end of February and the beginning of March that came to opposite conclusions about the course the controversy has taken. First, Alex Beam commented,"In her public and private statements, this most decorated of popular historians seems to be asking for sympathy that would routinely be denied someone not so fortunate as to downplay her mistakes in a full-page essay in Time magazine, as she has, or on PBS. Maybe if I had heard one fewer time what a great historian she was I could feel more sympathetic." Then, a few days later Thomas Oliphant wrote that she was being unfairly maligned. He noted that she was being hounded by Philip Nobile. Oliphant's column, titled:"The Smearing of Goodwin," began,"Enough Already." Nobile responded with a letter to the paper in which he argued that Goodwin was guilty of a 15 year long cover-up. The Globe is publishing his riposte.
The following day Jonathan Yardley attacked writers/editors and Goodwin herself for using euphemisms to describe what she did."There are any number of good old-fashioned words for what this certainly seems to be, but the one that was most commonly used until recent vintage brought things up to date was 'plagiarize,'" Yardley wrote in the Washington Post."The ever-helpful and pithy Mr. Webster defines it as: 'to steal and pass off as one's own (the ideas or words of another); use (a created production) without crediting the source . . .; to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.' But Goodwin, in fessing up to her transgressions, said they were 'absolutely not' plagiarism. Instead, she said, she had 'borrowed' phrases and passages and facts from Lynne McTaggart ...."
Later in the day the Post's online edition reported that Goodwin had"pulled out of the Pulitzer panel." The article explained:"Pulitzer board administrator Seymour Topping said Monday that Goodwin 'decided not to participate' when the 18-member board meets April 4 and 5 to decide on the 21 prizes for work done last year. Topping said the decision was made after consultation this weekend between Goodwin and board chairman John Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times."
Writing in defense of Goodwin on March 3, mobylives.com columnist Dennis Loy Johnson noted that she has been the victim of a smear campaign organized by an anonymous emailer using fake Harvard addresses. The emails have been sent to the media, including HNN, challenging reporters to dig deeper. Johnson took note of the irony:"Some anonymous person using false addresses wants me to go after Doris Goodwin for falsely claiming someone else's work as her own -- that is to say, somebody using fake attributions wants me to go after somebody for using fake attributions." He concluded:"The worst thing Doris Kearns Goodwin has possibly done has been to lie to make herself look good. Her anonymous detractor, however, has lied to try and destroy somebody."
David Greenberg, uncharacteristically sitting out the controversy for weeks, finally entered the Slate fray on March 5, with a column titled,"Mistakes Were Made." Of the two, Ambrose and Goodwin, Greenberg argued that Ambrose's offenses were far worse. He thumbed his nose at the academics critical of his methods, while she apologized."Ironically," Greenberg concluded,"Goodwin seems to be the one suffering more—-having her membership on various boards questioned, her speaking invitations withdrawn. Because the reputation she wants to protect lies with elites, not just with an undiscerning mass, she couldn't shrug off her plagiarism and still preserve her reputation, even if she wanted to. She's in an impossible bind: The more she tries to fix her mistakes, the more attention she draws to them."
On March 6 Goodwin spoke at the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota. According to a local press account,"Goodwin had planned to talk about 'Democracy in Times of Crisis,' but she said she wanted to confront the charges against her and she changed her topic to 'The Writing of History: Problems and Pleasures.'" In her talk she spoke about the joy of writing. She gave the same explanation she has given before for the mistakes that cropped up in the Kennedy book: a bad system for taking notes. The paper reported that at the end of her talk she was given a standing ovation.
Her comments thus far did not seem to mollify here critics. The following day the Buffalo News ran the following quotation from Edward O. Smith Jr., chairman of the history department at Buffalo State College."This is sort of an academic version of Enron," he said, referring to both the Ambrose and Goodwin controversies."It's about filching other people's words and ideas."
On Sunday March 10 the New York Times featured an article by free lancer Tom McNichol that seemed to advance the Goodwin story. McNichol, identified in a tag at the bottom as"a contributing editor for Wired, [who] has written humor for Salon," reported that"the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has been rocked by more charges of plagiarism, this time concerning her love of baseball," as recounted in her book, Wait Till Next Year, a memoir of her youth as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. McNichol went on to say that"it appears that many of Ms. Goodwin's baseball memories were 'borrowed' from other sources," including Roger Kahn. Most of the charges seemed entirely convincing. Two did not. McNichol wrote that Goodwin claimed that she had stood at home plate at Yankee Stadium before a roaring crowd, an anecdote"that is now believed to have been adapted from the life of the Yankee great Lou Gehrig." He also indicated that the plot of her memoir followed closely the film"The Bad News Bears."
McNichol's piece was published in the far-right column on the second page of the Week in Review, a page devoted to hard news. Many readers took the charges seriously. Half a dozen wrote to HNN to alert us to this sudden new development, including a past president of the American Historical Association.
What these readers did not realize was that the Times has used this space in the paper from time to time to feature spoofs. Goodwin's supporters say the paper misled readers. [Disclosure: the editor of HNN was taken in last year by another column in the same space about President Bush and the nicknames he gives people.] A spokesperson for Ms. Goodwin told HNN:
"The piece in yesterday’s Times in the Week in Review section by Tom McNichol has nothing to do with reality. It is apparently intended to be a spoof or an attempt at humor. We regret that the New York Times decided to publish it at all. We especially are disappointed that the Times published it in the Week in Review section on a page that otherwise had only hard news. That apparently increased the confusion so that people thought the story had some basis in fact when of course it didn’t. As far as we’re concerned it’s really nothing more than a small joke in bad taste. We are making this known to the New York Times."
On Monday March 11 the Harvard Crimson broke with Goodwin, recommending that she resign her position as a Harvard overseeer. In a front page editorial in the online edition, the student paper argued that she should have to play by the same rules as students:"For students who have committed plagiarism, as Associate Director of Expository Writing Gordon C. Harvey points out in Writing With Sources, 'any letter of recommendation written for you on behalf of Harvard College—including letters to graduate schools, law schools, and medical schools—will report that you were required to withdraw for academic dishonesty.' With this policy, it is clear that the College does not think that students who have committed plagiarism should be able to proceed, unaffected, with their career goals. Why then, should an adult who is more experienced, much less a professional historian, continue in her position in the University without consequence?"
Three days after the NYT ran McNichol's satire, the paper published a correction:"Some readers have mistaken the article for a factual report. It should have been explicitly labeled a satire." In its defense, the Times noted that the piece appeared"in a position usually reserved for humor, and the author was identified as a humor writer."
The controversy cost Goodwin another speaking engagement in March. She was scheduled to give a lecture at James Madison University on March 15--James Madison Day. But the school withdrew the invitation"after Goodwin acknowledged she had quoted other writers without sufficient attribution in her book about the Kennedys." Lawrence S. Eagleburger was tapped at short notice to replace her.
Concern that the attacks on Goodwin went too far, amounting to a witchhunt, several magazines in March began rallying to her defense. Natasha Berger in the American Prospect concluded that Goodwin had been maligned, specifically citing attacks on her integrity in the Washington Post and Slate:
"There is no proof the theft was intentional, and in this case, intent matters. Accidental plagiarism is something of an oxymoron, after all. Nor is it exactly fair to argue, as [Slate's Timothy] Noah does, that Goodwin is getting her just desserts because a 'Harvard undergraduate' caught doing the same thing would be punished with suspension. Goodwin's position in no way corresponds to that of a student. Her years of valuable -- and blameless -- scholarly work merit the benefit of the doubt."
On March 13 the University of Kansas became the third school to withdraw an invitation to Ms. Goodwin. She had been scheduled to deliver the first talk in the university's new Dole Institute of Politics Presidential Lecture Series. David McCullough was named as her replacement.
The announcement was made by the Institute's director, Richard Norton Smith, who once was one of her students."On a personal level, of course it was a difficult decision," Smith confided."On an institutional level, it was an easy decision. I'm well aware this is going to be a defining moment in the Dole Institute."
Just how many words did Goodwin borrow from Lynne McTaggert? On March 16 McTaggert herself gave the answer in an op ed in the New York Times. The answer: thousands of words."Whether Ms. Goodwin had used footnotes or even quotation marks around the passages taken from my book would not have mattered," McTaggert wrote."It was the sheer volume of the appropriation — thousands of my exact or nearly exact words — that supported my copyright infringement claim." (Editor's Note: McTaggert in January in a letter to the Weekly Standard indicated that Goodwin had borrowed dozens and dozens of phrases; she did not mention thousands of words.)
In a searing conclusion, McTaggert wrote"it is important not to excuse the larger sins of appropriation. In this age of clever electronic tools, writing can easily turn into a process of pressing the cut-and-paste buttons, or gluing together the work of a team of researchers, rather than the long and lonely slog of placing one word after another in a new and arresting way."
Lawrence Tribe rose to Goodwin's defense on March 18 in a letter to the Harvard Crimson, which identified him as"a staff writer." (A Harvard graduate, Tribe contributes pieces to the paper from time to time.) Tribe chided the editors for lecturing Goodwin and called their demand that she step down as overseer"nonsense."
He noted that Goodwin, an old friend, admitted making mistakes transcribing her notes."But there can be no doubt that, unlike the student who turns in someone else’s work as her own and hopes the instructor won’t notice the cribbing—-the student for whom the Harvard disciplinary rules to which the Crimson editorial referred were principally written—-Goodwin, who cited the very sources she has been accused of not crediting, had not the slightest intention to deceive, to claim originality for thoughts that were unoriginal, or to appropriate another’s deathless prose in hopes that she might be credited with a literary gift that belongs in truth to someone else."
Later that same day Slate's Timothy Noah took Tribe to task, identifying two weaknesses in his argument. First, Tribe indicated that Goodwin should be spared because she had not intended to deceive readers; under Harvard's standard, Noah observed, intent doesn't matter (though as he subsequently conceded in response to a reader complaint, Harvard punishes less harshly students who plagiarize unintentionally). Second, Tribe approved of Goodwin's settlement with McTaggert; Noah noted that the trouble with the settlement was that the addition of a few footnotes did not change the fact that numerous passages from McTaggert remained in Goodwin's text as if they were Goodwin's own. That McTaggert found the settlement satisfactory was beside the point:"By agreeing to Goodwin's terms, McTaggart became a party to that fraud."
On March 21 mobylives.com published a story by Philip Nobile entitled:"DID DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN COPY 'IN NO ORDINARY TIME,' TOO? . . . THE STORY SHE TRIED TO KILL." Nobile claimed that he had found examples of copying in Goodwin's Pulitzer-Prize winning book on the Roosevelts. Two Boston Globe columnists -- Alex Beam and Thomas Oliphant -- given a sneak peek at his evidence, earlier concluded that the passages did not amount to plagiarism.
Editor's Note: Nobile originally offered this piece to HNN. HNN initially agreed to publish it, then decided against doing so after receiving a phone call from Doris Kearns Goodwin. According to a statement printed on the homepage of mobylives.com,"Nobile says Goodwin has gotten the History News Network — where he is a contributing editor — to suppress his latest investigation of her work, after he let it be known that he was going to accuse her of plagiarism in yet another book." Actually, we simply reconsidered our decision on the basis of the facts that we now had before us. We concluded that each of her books has to be judged on the merits. We became convinced that Nobile's examples of alleged copying in the Roosevelt book did not raise sufficient doubts about her credibility to warrant publication.
On March 23 the Associated Press reported that the McTaggert/Goodwin fight had become nastier, McTaggert complaining that Goodwin had taken the"heart and guts" of her book about Kathleen Kennedy. McTaggert charged that"they have copied passages appearing on 91 of the 248 pages of my book." She added,"and at least 45 of 94 pages of Goodwin's book that discuss Kathleen Kennedy contain my material." Michael Nussbaum, Goodwin's attorney, responded:"It is preposterous for McTaggart to say that Goodwin copied 'thousands of words' from McTaggart or that Goodwin ... took the 'heart and guts' from McTaggart's work."
By the end of March the Goodwin story finally lost steam. Several days in a row there wasn't a single mention of Doris Kearns Goodwin in the major media. But she did pop up on David Letterman's show, Dave telling her,"I know your work a little bit, and you're no skunk." And on March 31 the NYT published a story critical of her campaign to win redemption from the media. The paper reported that she had been"working with Robert Shrum, a political consultant" and noted that Senator Ted Kennedy, a friend, had even intervened on her behalf when she was dropped by the Dole Institute. (Goodwin denied that she had asked the senator to intervene.) The story included this quotation from Robert C. Darnton, a professor at Princeton:"If she is organizing a P.R. campaign to exculpate herself, that strikes me as unprofessional conduct." Darnton was identified as a former president of the American Historical Association.
The following week, on April 8, the executive director of the OAH, Lee W. Formwalt, sounded more sympathetic, telling Newsday that he and fellow historians doubt that she was guilty of deliberate wrongdoing."I think probably most would give her the benefit of the doubt on that," he said. (Editor's Note: Mr. Formwalt told HNN on April 13 that he made his remarks to Newsday in an interview conducted some 7 or 8 weeks before the article appeared, at a time when information about the Goodwin controversy had just begun to emerge.)
On April 5, on the eve of the award of the 2002 Pulitzer Prizes, Philip Nobile asked the Pulitzer Board to consider revoking Goodwin's 1995 prize for No Ordinary Time. His reasoning: the"prize was obtained under false credentials. Had the Board known in 1995 that she was a practicing plagiarist in the paperback of 'The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,' no award would have been granted." Nobile in years past had asked the Board to revoke the prize awarded in 1977 to Alex Haley, who was accused of plagiarism in connection with Roots. The Board declined. Former chairman Russell Baker told Nobile in 1993,"The history of the Board is not pure." Baker added:"Should we make an effort to amend the past? What's done is done."
On Saturday morning, April 13, members of the Organization of American History (OAH), attending their annual convention in Washington, D.C., crowded into the Renaissance hotel auditorium to hear Robert Caro, Nell Irvin Painter and Goodwin talk about the secrets of vivid writing. Goodwin, however, was a no-show. Sitting in her place was Richard Smith, who'd been drafted on Monday as a last-minute substitute. What had happened? Ten minutes into the discussion C-Span's Brian Lamb, host of the televised event, cryptically explained that Goodwin simply couldn't make it, leaving the audience to wonder what had happened. Here's the story, as recounted in HNN's History Grapevine: Despite the controversy, Goodwin had led OAH officials to believe she was going to attend the session, which had been arranged a year ago. Monday when they came to work they found an email from her assistant. She wouldn't be coming after all."Goodwin had really hoped to be there on the 13th," the email explained,"even in the midst of this difficult time. But it turns out that she and her husband have to be in London on business for a few days during that period. She promises that she will make this up to you in the future at whatever session you would like her to attend."
That Goodwin remained a presence at the session despite her absence was evident in passing references several panelists made in the course of their remarks. Asked at one point how he writes his books, Rick Smith answered:" I was going to say I make it up as I go along, but that is not a phrase I want to use these days." Later he was asked if he uses graduate students to help with his research. Never has, he said,"and in the current climate" wouldn't think of it.
The following message appeared on the website of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater mid-April: The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin have mutually agreed to cancel her scheduled keynote address on April 25 to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2002....NCUR will draw an expected 2000-plus undergraduates from more than 200 universities. Since plagiarism is a highly charged topic on college campuses, conference organizers were not in a position to speak for more than 200 campuses as to the appropriateness of Goodwin as the keynote speaker."
While little was published about the Goodwin controversy in late April, her critics remained eager to discredit her. HNN received several emails alerting us to unflattering references to Goodwin in the media. The anonymous emails came with the return address: firstname.lastname@example.org. One email referred us to New York Magazine in which Goodwin's name was used as a cultural metaphor for theft in an article about fashion designer Nicolas Ghesquière:"After it was revealed earlier this month that the beautiful boy wonder at the head of Balenciaga had copied the most photographed showpiece of his spring collection -- a vest -- tassel-for-tassel, some people assumed he would become the Doris Kearns Goodwin of the fashion world."
Three months after the Goodwin story broke, Ms. Goodwin continued to be represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau, despite the cancellation of several important lectures (noted above). The bureau's website indicated that she was still drawing tens of thousands of dollars per lecture. On a scale of one to six, she ranked five, collecting fees between $25,000 - $39,999.
After trying for months to work out an agreeable arrangement with the Pulitzer Board, Goodwin finally resigned at the end of May. She explained:"After the controversy earlier this year surrounding my book `The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,' and the need to concentrate now on my Lincoln manuscript, I will not be able to give the board the kind of attention it deserves." Upon her departure Board administrator Seymour Topping indicated that it had ended its investigation of the charge that she was guilty of plagiarism.
On August 4, 2002 the Los Angeles Times, which had ignored the Goodwin story, published a long piece putting the scandal into perspective. About midway through the story, which was written by Peter King, however, there was this bombshell:
For this article, The Times contracted with an outside reader to select a half-dozen or so of the books listed by Goodwin as source materials and simply follow the footnotes, randomly reading passages of"No Ordinary Time" against the other works. The process, which consumed roughly one full workweek, produced nearly three dozen instances where phrases and sentences in Goodwin's book resembled the words of other authors.
As for any parallel language reflected in the passages, she said:"As long as a person is credited," on occasion there is"leeway to use some of the words. Just using individual words now and then, and when it is clear where it is coming from, that is what paraphrasing is." Moreover, she said, in some instances, references to the source were included in the text.
In some cases, she said,"if you had the whole thing quoted, you would lose the flow of the narrative." In others, the language in question was simply a common expression--how many ways are there to describe, say, a"white linen suit" or a camera being knocked"to the ground"?
And in still others, Goodwin said, sequential action was being described, and to tamper with the language would be to risk inaccuracy. She offered as an example of this the similarities between her description of Roosevelt's Guantanamo Bay visit and that of Sherwood:"This chronology and structure had to be adhered to in order to describe the visit accurately. Furthermore, the end-note anchor phrase of 'At Guantanamo Bay, etc.' clearly alerts the reader that general information about the Guantanamo Bay is derived from Sherwood's book."
Finally, Goodwin said:"The most important thing I keep coming back to, and what most people would agree with, is that the standard to be met in every instance is providing appropriate credit to the source."
A week after the LA Times story broke, political writer Mickey Kaus, writing in Slate, wondered why Goodwin isn't"toast":"Either nobody reads the Los Angeles Times, or it's summer and nobody reads anything, or people are sick of the Doris Kearns Goodwin plagiarism story -- but for some reason attention hasn't been paid to a fairly damning front-page Times piece that knocks one of the remaining props out from under Goodwin's defense."
Kaus noted that Goodwin had continuously maintained that the Roosevelt book was pristine. Her spokesman, lawyer Michael Nussbaum, had told the NYT that"Everything is fully credited and attributed" in No Ordinary Time. Yet the LAT showed that there were dozens of examples of copying, at least one, egregious.
Kaus concluded that the editors of the paper were to blame. They buried the lead. Not until midway through the piece, Kaus noted, did the reader learn about the copying in the Roosevelt book.
Just days after Slate's piece, the Boston Globe's Alex Beam called the LAT's article"damning." He reported that"Goodwin and Nussbaum are mounting an aggressive defense of her actions":
The LA Times article is"junk journalism," Nussbaum says."Any time you put passages together side by side, yes, the inference will come forward that because the passages resemble one another there must be something wrong with the scholarship." Nussbaum adds that Ropes & Gray"looked at every single footnote without exception and then went to every source to see if the footnote was correct, proper, and met the highest standards of scholarship. We gave `No Ordinary Time' a clean bill of health, and we stand by that."
August closed out with a damning article by the Weekly Standard, the magazine that started the Goodwin brouhaha in January. The article, titled"Repeat Offender," began:"Like history, plagiarism tends to repeat itself." The magazine went on to recount the revelations in the LA Times, including this example of what appeared to be copying:
HUGH GREGORY GALLAGHER in FDR's Splendid Deception:"FDR had made it a rule, during his first campaign for governor, that photographers were not to take pictures of him looking crippled or helpless. . . . It was an unspoken code, honored by the White House photography corps. If, as happened once or twice, one of its members sought to violate it and try to sneak a picture of the President in his chair, one or another of the older photographers would 'accidentally' knock the camera to the ground or otherwise block the picture."
GOODWIN in Ordinary Times:"If, as occasionally happened, one of the members of the press corps sought to violate the code by sneaking a picture of the president looking helpless, one of the older photographers would 'accidentally' block the shot or gently knock the camera to the ground."
The Weekly acidly concluded:
Goodwin's response?"There are thousands of footnotes in the book . . . and they are really good footnotes."
As for language swiped from other authors?"I took the notes," she told King."And they were in my longhand. And then, when they got into the text, that was the mistake." The"mistake," Goodwin still insists, occurred because a researcher didn't" cross-check" the quotations with the original material, but she doesn't want to blame someone else."That was her responsibility to cross-check it, but she didn't. But that doesn't matter. It's mine. I'm the one." So it was the researcher's responsibility to make sure she didn't plagiarize, but it was Goodwin's book? Got it.
On September 23, 2002 Philip Nobile, in an article published by HNN, took the LAT to task for declining to publish the 30-odd parallels the paper's researcher discovered in Ms. Goodwin's Kennedy book. The paper maintained that the parallels are"work product." Mr. Nobile argued in a series of emails reproduced on HNN, that the paper had an obligation to reveal its evidence so readers could judge for themselves the egregiousness of Ms. Goodwin's alleged copying.
In October 2003 the NYT published an article about the widespread phenomenon of cheating. The article included Goodwin as an example of a celebrity who got caught violating standards of good behavior. In response, about a dozen historians came to her defense.
In the fall of 2005 Ms. Goodwin began giving media interviews again in conjunction with the publication of her new biography, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, published by Simon & Schuster. Thomas Mallon, in the Atlantic Monthly reported on two extensive interviews. In an effusively positive and lengthy piece Mallon, the author of a book about plagiarism, indicated that Goodwin preferred not to discuss the subject of the 2002 controversy and asked to go off the record when the subject came up. Most of his article concerned her new book, which he indicated showed Goodwin to be a master at narrative history.
In the midst of her troubles in 2002, Goodwin announced to The New York Times that she had asked Simon & Schuster to pulp all paperback copies of the tainted ''Fitzgeralds" book so that she could publish ''a thoroughly corrected edition this spring." But on Monday I bought a new paperback copy of ''Fitzgeralds" that had no sign of any corrections. ''We did exactly what we said we were going to do," says Simon & Schuster's Hayes. ''We did pull all our copies as promised. We weren't aware that other copy [from St. Martin's Press] was out there." The promised corrected edition of ''Fitzgeralds" may be forthcoming after Goodwin finishes her current book tour, Hayes says.
A few days later Slate's Timothy Noah ripped into Goodwin for failing to follow-through on her promise:
I have misrepresented Ms. Goodwin's actions, and I owe her an apology. In my earlier columns, I portrayed Ms. Goodwin as somewhat craven for correcting her faulty text only when bad publicity required it. What I should have written was that Ms. Goodwin was really, really craven for saying she was going to correct her faulty text and then, once the braying media pack scampered away, not doing it!
In late October 2005 Goodwin's past became useful fodder for Northwest's Mechanics' Union. Goodwin serves on the board of the union. In its stuggle with the company the union is putting pressure on board members. The union released a pamplet entiled,"The Great Emancipator Meets a Great Prevaricator." 100,000 copies were said to have been printed. The same week it was revealed that Steven Spielberg has optiond her Lincoln book for the movies.