WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Plagiarism is back in the headlines. The German Education Minister Annette Schavan recently resigned because of allegations of plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation. There was also significant outrage when it became public that the now discredited science journalist Jonah Lehrer was paid $20,000 to speak at the Knight Foundation about plagiarism and other forms of journalistic misconduct that he has engaged in.
Christopher Robin of the Winnie Foundation feels that plagiarists are unfairly maligned. His foundation conducted a survey, which proved that plagiarism scandals usually result in weeks of extensive reporting and investigations, thus providing new job opportunities for investigative journalists and academic committees. "Plagiarists create jobs for others. They should be seen as heroes and not as villains, especially during a recession when there aren't too many jobs out there."
Robin also said that plagiarism may soon become a highly attractive career for U.S. college graduates:
Lehrer is becoming an excellent role model. He shows that you can earn good money while you are engaging in plagiarism. Even if you are caught, you still receive large honoraria to speak about your misconduct. Plagiarists have excellent job security.
Meanwhile, the Cocaine Retailer Association of Chicago (CRAC) says that at least three of its members are applying to the Knight Foundation for an opportunity to give a lecture. "They would like to speak about how wrong it is to sell drugs and some of them would be willing to do it for only half of the Lehrer honorarium."
An earlier version of this article was first published on the Fragments of Truth Blog.