The always-excellent Nancy Nall, former columnist for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, posted a blog entry this morning about Tim Goeglein, a News-Sentinel op-ed contributor and special assistant to President Bush. Intrigued by an unusual name in Goeglein's latest column, she Googled the fellow and found that much of the column had been written, nearly verbatim, a decade before by someone else.
Nall laid out the evidence of plagiarism (see, cheaters? Cut-and-paste works both ways!) and concluded:
I mentioned at the top of this post that I feel bad about what I’m going to do here. (I stole that line, by the way; it’s Nora Ephron’s opening for her devastating profile of Dorothy Schiff’s New York Post. Now that I’ve given credit, it’s not plagiarism, it’s an homage. See how it works?) I feel bad because my old buddy Leo Morris, who edits the op-ed pages, is going to bear the brunt of this — the investigation, the uncomfortable announcement to readers, the search through the archives for more time bombs, the embarrassment of being took by someone any editor would trust, a self-styled intellectual and senior White House aide, for crying out loud. But either this stuff is important or it isn’t, and I say it is.
By early afternoon, Nall's readers had found several more easily Googled examples of plagiarism, Goeglein had 'fessed up and apologized, and the News-Sentinel ran the "uncomfortable announcement" that Nall had predicted even as its editors searched for more time bombs. (There were 20 and counting at last check; the little weasel had even Domeneched people like The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani and The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley and Michael Dirda, for God's sake.)
And by late afternoon, an official release from the White House press secretary:
Today, Tim accepted responsibility for the columns published under his name in his local newspaper, and has apologized for not upholding the standards expected by the President. The President was disappointed to learn of the matter, and he was saddened for Tim and his family. He has long appreciated Tim's service, and he knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country. President Bush accepted Tim's resignation today.
From blog entry to high-level political resignation in one news cycle: good on ya, Nancy Nall.