Since it's so totally stressful to have to come up with original content all the time, it's completely understandable that Fox pundit Juan Williams should plagiarize entire paragraphs from a Center for American Progress report on immigration for his regular column in The Hill...
The CAP report stated:
"These big gains occur because legalized workers earn higher wages than undocumented workers, and they use those wages to buy things such as houses, cars, phones, and clothing. … Hinojosa-Ojeda found that the tax benefits alone from legalization would be between $4.5 billion and $5.4 billion in the first three years."
While Williams stated:
"These big gains occur because legalized workers earn higher wages than undocumented workers, and they use those wages to buy things and stimulate the economy through commerce. Professor Hinojosa-Ojeda also calculated that the tax benefits alone from legalization would be between $4.5 billion and $5.4 billion in the first three years."
When confronted about the plagiarism, Williams mentioned that a "young man" who worked for him as a research assistant was at fault stating that he'd thought he'd been sent the researchers own words.
A second excerpt from the CAP study stated:
"According to the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrants will add a net of $611 billion to the Social Security system over the next 75 years. Immigrants are a key driver of keeping the Social Security Trust Fund solvent, and Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy finds that cutting off immigration to the country would increase the size of the Social Security deficit by 31 percent over 50 years."
While Williams' original copy as found using a google cached news search via Salon stated:
"According to the independent National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), immigrants will contribute $611 billion to the Social Security system over the next 75 years. Indeed, immigrants are a key force in keeping the Social Security trust fund solvent for older Americans who are at or near retirement. NFAP also found that halting all immigration into the United Size [sic] would explode the size of the Social Security deficit by at least 31 percent over 50 years."
The research assistant has handed in his resignation and the CAP as well as The Hill have all stated that they are satisfied with Williams' revisions, admission and apology. So what should we take from this?
1. Assuming that Williams' research assistants are being hired from a class of recent graduates who have attended top tier universities, I'd say for shame to the students who ignore directives not to plagiarize. If you can't at minimum credit the source where you received the information and properly use quotation marks (or a hyperlink), you should choose another field.
2. To writers and pundits who hire research assistants in an effort to stay on top of news trends in this ever-expanding information industry; perhaps you should still at least be writing your own copy.