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Daily Mail And Huffington Post In Dick Van Dyke Plagiarism Row

by | 1st, February 2010

plagiarism1PLAGIARISM is lazy. The hack can’t even be bothered to attribute the source nor paraphrase the original to make it look like new, and at least as good. Robert J. Elisberg puts forward the argument that a work – a review of Dick Van Dyke’s LA theatre production of Mary Poppins – was plagiarised by the Daily’s Mail’s Chris Johnson.

MacGuffin from the Tabloid Watch blog investigates:

AN article by Robert J. Elisberg at The Huffington Post has shown a journalist at the Daily Mail indulging in blatant plagiarism.(We would add, allegedly.)

The story is about a cameo appearance by Dick Van Dyke in a LA theatre production of Mary Poppins.

The problem is Mail hack Chris Johnson’s article is suspiciously similar to an LA Times one by Karen Wada, which appeared several hours earlier.

Indeed, as Elisberg points out, Johnson ends his piece with a lengthy direct quote from the LA Times. He just forgets to mention that the seven or so paragraphs before it are also lifted straight from there.

Here’s the evidence, as set out by Elisberg. Wada:

Instead he reprised his other (and less well known) screen role – Mr. Dawes Sr., the crotchety bank president and boss of Poppins’ boss, Mr. Banks.

Johnson:

Instead the American actor, 84, took on the role of the lesser known character he also played in the 1964 movie – that of crotchety bank president Mr Dawes.

Hmm. There’s more. Wada:

Van Dyke had to cajole Walt Disney into giving him the part because Disney thought Van Dyke – then in his 30s – was too young to be the ancient moneyman. The actor reportedly won him over by acing a screen test, agreeing to portray Dawes for free and making a donation to the California Institute of the Arts, which Disney co-founded.

Johnson:

Van Dyke had to persuade Walt Disney into giving him the part in the movie because bosses thought he was too young to play the ancient financier. At the time he was only in his thirties.

But the actor reportedly won them over by acting a screen test, agreeing to portray Dawes for free and making a donation to the California Institute of the Arts, which Disney co-founded.

As Elisberg says:

In the plagiarism biz, this is not good at all. A direct steal. (The funniest thing, though, is that the British Johnson apparently didn’t know what “acing” a test was and “fixed” it, seemingly thinking it was a typo for “acting”).

It’s almost as if Johnson isn’t that clever…

Wada again:

Van Dyke had a much easier time getting the chance to play the tottering, doddering banker at the Ahmanson.

And Johnson:

Van Dyke slipped into the role much easier as she [sic] played the tottering banker at the Ahmanson.

Oh dear. And it’s not over yet. Wada:

After seeing the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh production of ‘Poppins’ when it opened here in November, he volunteered to join the cast for a cameo. Dawes – a character not included in the stage musical – was written into a pivotal scene in which Banks finds out whether he’s going to lose his job.

Johnson:

After seeing the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh production of Poppins after it opened there in November, he volunteered to join the cast for a cameo.

The character of Mr Dawes was not included in the stage musical – but was written into a scene so Dick Van Dyke could reprise his role.

It is in a scene where Mr Banks, Mary Poppins’s boss, finds out whether he is going to lose his job.

Elisberg sums it up nicely:

Almost word-for-word. Much of it exactly word-for-word. I know Mary Poppins sang, ‘Every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake’ – but this is carrying it beyond extremes.

Dacre has wrongly claimed that the Mail doesn’t do ‘churnalism’ but this copy-and-paste job goes beyond that.

Dacre, of course, is Chair of the Code of Practice Committee which makes the rules to which journalists are meant to adhere. He already edits the most complained about newspaper in Britain and now one of his minions has been caught plagiarising. – TW



Posted: 1st, February 2010 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink