Now that the rules for stealing news stories have been revealed, people are seeing stolen stories everywhere! At the National Review, they're accusing the New Yorker's Jeff Toobin of ripping off the Weekly Standard's profile last year of Nixon-loving political hit man Roger Stone. We guess that's true, if you consider it plagiarism to quote the well-rehearsed quotes of a veteran quote whore:
The similarities are striking, the most egregious of which is a device Labash uses throughout his piece. He repeatedly breaks up anecdotes with "Stone's Rules" — things like "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack," as well as "White shirt + tan face = confidence."
Toobin does the exact same thing throughout his profile, even including the same mathematical equation and, like Labash, basing his conclusion on yet another rule. The cover art on The Weekly Standard is a photo of Roger Stone with his shirt off, showing his Nixon back tattoo. Whaddayaknow? In The New Yorker's print edition (not online), they run a photo of Stone with his shirt off, flashing his back tattoo.
We can't quite agree with this. Stone's tattoo is probably the most obvious photo of him for any profile. And as for "Stone's Rules"—they're really quotable slogans that the man has honed to a fine point over decades of working with the media. To expect any profiler not to quote them is ludicrous. But judge for yourself: Toobin's profile is here. The Weekly Standard's Matt Labash profile is here.
(Further story-stealing sensitivity: a tipster accuses the New York Times of ripping off a year-old Washington Post story today. The Post's piece was on shrinking portion sizes at restaurants; the Times today talks about portion sizes as well as rising prices as a byproduct of increasing food costs. Again, we have to say this one is clean. The Times' story was broader, and has a solid current news peg. Disagreements in the comments, please.)