Rachel Maddow a ‘hater’ in Wikipedia plagiarism flap, Rand Paul says

Rachel Maddow is a “hater” who needs to stop nitpicking -- or so says Sen. Rand Paul.

Maddow, the liberal MSNBC host, this week accused GOP leader Paul of making a speech that “totally plagiarized” the Wikipedia page for the sci-fi film “Gattaca.”

In the speech, Paul referenced the movie and its world “where DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class.” This and other lines seemed lifted directly from the Wikipedia page.


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Big deal, Paul said in a Wednesday interview with Fusion. “There are technicalities to this, but nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from,” Paul told Jorge Ramos.

Paul said repeatedly that he didn’t claim credit for writing “Gattaca” -- although that sidesteps the real issue, which is whether his speech plagiarized Wikipedia, not the movie.

In any case, Paul, who is thought be mulling a White House bid, said his critics were “making a mountain out of a molehill.... It’s a disagreement about how you footnote things.”

Paul tagged Maddow as part of a group of “haters” who have bashed him over the years. “She’s been spreading hate on me for about three years now,” he said, adding that Maddow was not “an objective news source” (that last part seems beyond dispute).

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But as Ramos pointed out, Paul now faces an additional charge of plagiarism. The site Buzzfeed -- known more for its “listicles” and cat-photo galleries than for any particular partisan slant -- revealed that a Paul speech had evidently borrowed from the Wikipedia page for the movie “Stand and Deliver.” (When Paul likes a movie, we evidently know where he goes for research.)

Paul did not directly address the Buzzfeed claim -- and the site reports that he didn’t respond to its request for comment.

Many viewers might shrug -- especially Paul’s supporters -- but plagiarism can prove a difficult issue for a major politico. During the 1988 presidential campaign, revelations that he had plagiarized a speech by British leader Neil Kinnock helped sink the candidacy of Joe Biden, who eventually recovered and is now vice president in the Obama White House.

What do you make of the Maddow accusation and Paul’s response?


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