Melania Trump fails to cite her homework in speech to GOP Convention

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(CNN, 2016)

Now it’s not the first time a politician or a celebrity in the spotlight has been ‘called out for copying’ (Fawzy, 2016) or caught ‘borrowing’ other people’s ideas. So for Melania Trump, and whoever her speech writer is (sorry, was), last night’s speech at the GOP Convention was a tad embarrassing.

Proving that the reach of plagiarism extends far beyond a college essay, it became pretty clear that part of Melania Trump’s speech was lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic Convention in 2008, when you look at side-by-side videos of the speeches. However, it didn’t take long for Trump’s Campaign to deny that Melania Trump’s speech in part plagiarised Michelle Obama. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, went on record with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day saying, “To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd” (Krieg and Scott, 2016). Manafort also said “There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family” (Krieg and Scott, 2016).

Krieg and Scott’s article has a nice graphic which illustrates the parts of the Obama speech that Melania Trump used in hers. However that didn’t stop New Jersey Governor and Donald Trump ally, Chris Christie, from defending Melania by saying, “There’s no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech” and “I just don’t see it” (Krieg and Scott, 2016).

Regardless of whether Melania Trump did or did not ‘plagiarize’ Michelle Obama’s speech, one thing is for sure; all this controversy could have been avoided if Trump had only cited her work and given credit where credit was due.

That’s why RefME is working with educators to encourage all students far and wide to stand on the shoulders of giants by acknowledging the research and sources that contribute to their work. At RefME we carried out an interesting survey with 2,111 US students to find out what they think of plagiarism and how knowledgeable they really are on the topic.

On the upside, Trump’s misstep is not the worst example of plagiarism – just take a look back to when the UK Government of the day admitted ‘blunder’ on Iraq dossier for making the case for war (MacAskill et al., 2016).

Today’s blog was brought to you from Dillon, Colorado at Instructurecon 2016 with the help of the trusty RefME.com. To cite your sources accurately and quickly, check out RefME’s open generators and handy style guides for citation styles such as the APA citation, MLA format, Chicago citation style, ASA, AMA or IEEE.

Works Cited

Fawzy, F. (2016) From speeches to Ph.D.’S: Politicians called out for copying. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/19/politics/politicians-plagiarism/index.html (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

Krieg, G. and Scott, E. (2016) No one to be fired after Melania Trump speech plagiarism episode. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/19/politics/melania-trump-michelle-obama-speech/index.html (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

MacAskill, E., Norton-Taylor, R. and White, M. (2016) Downing st admits blunder on Iraq dossier. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/feb/08/politics.iraq (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

Network, C.N. (2016b) Side-by-side of Melania Trump, Michelle Obama speeches – CNN video. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/19/melania-trump-michelle-obama-speech-similarities-side-by-side-sots.cnn (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

Plagiarism (2016a) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

RefME (2016b) Survey reveals unique insights to US students’ attitudes towards plagiarism. Available at: https://www.refme.com/blog/2016/06/20/survey-reveals-insights-to-us-students-attitudes-towards-plagiarism/ (Accessed: 19 July 2016).

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