The internet is buzzing about Melania Trump’s convention speech which appears to have plagiarized sections of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. But this Fox News coverage did its best to give the brewing scandal as little attention as possible.
Here are the relevant passages of Trump and Obama, via The New York Times:
Ms. Trump, Monday night:
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Mrs. Obama, in her 2008 speech:
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hardworking mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.”
Mrs. Obama in 2008:
“And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.”
Although The Hill noted that convention speeches are often written by campaign aides, Melania has said, "I wrote the speech, with as little help as possible.” So now she’s in the position of either being a plagiarist or a liar.
Of course, that did not come up in a brief discussion about it on Fox News. Anchor Kelly Wright did his best to sound upbeat about Melania’s speech. “The world getting a closer look at the Trump family tonight,” he said, without irony, in his introduction. “After being mostly silent throughout this campaign, Melania Trump, the wife of Donald Trump, took to the convention floor.”
If guest Adam Wollner, of National Journal, hadn’t brought up the subject, I doubt Wright ever would have.
“What did you think about Melania’s speech tonight?” Wright asked, to begin the discussion. What are the chances that if Bill or Hillary Clinton had just been caught plagiarizing a speech that a Fox anchor wouldn’t have honed in on that right away?
Wollner called Mrs. Trump’s speech one of the “bright spots” of the evening. “But unfortunately for the Trump campaign," Wollner continued, "it’s been kind of overshadowed by some of the controversy that’s followed the event. It looks like, that certain paragraphs from her speech were plagiarized from a speech that Michelle Obama gave during the 2008 Democratic convention.” He described Mrs. Trump’s speech as “more uplifting” than the others of the evening “but that’s only going to be overshadowed now, going into the second day of the convention by these questions that are being raised about how authentic some of these lines were.”
Wright did ask if she’ll be questioned later today about “where she got the source for that speech,” and Wollner said that he would be surprised if Melania Trump wrote it. But, he added, “a lot of the lines were strikingly similar and this is going to be a controversy that’s going to last into tomorrow.”
And that was all Wright wanted to talk about it. He played a clip from Mrs. Trump’s speech. But not a clip from any of the plagiarized portions.
Watch it below, from Fox's late night/early morning Republican convention coverage.
Also, Fox News and Republicans (like Manafort) can play Seven Degrees of Separation to deflect literally anything to being Obama’s or Hillary’s fault. We all laugh at it but their right-wing audience has been trained to hate liberals so much they’ll accept it blindly.
I also note for Eyes that Trump is actually saying he intends to model his speech after Nixon’s 1968 speech. For all those who think Trump would “not be as bad as you think”, let’s revisit the goodness of the Nixon presidency, shall we? Is there ANYONE who thinks that would be a good idea?
I think Melania did write the speech herself, if only because a professional writer would have made it less stilted, more personal. She was supposed to “humanise” (sic) Trump, not provide eye candy and titillate the ear. (Language training in Slovenia/ Yugoslavia was/is top notch and there’s no way in hell she’d have learned English with that accent.)
Manafort talking to Cuomo on CNN claimed that Melania would never have copied Michelle. Personally, I think she did, but probably without realising that she was committing a very serious crime in the eyes of the English-speaking world.
When I arrived in Europe over 50 years ago, plagiarism was perceived as a venial sin, a misdemeanor, by the French and Italian people I worked with. The Brits felt strongly that it was a really big deal, a cardinal sin reflecting laziness and a lack of integrity. Melania probably didn’t know any better.
“All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human [populist] passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress [substitute freedom-loving Tea Party here] or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.”
“Great liars are also great magicians. [So don’t look up my sleeve].”
“How fortunate for leaders that [conservative] men do not think.”
“It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge. [So under a Trump administration the Republican war against science will reach its zenith. To this I swear!]”
“The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. [Which reminds me. Have you seen my latest tweet?]”
“Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong. [It worked in business; it’ll be a yuuuuuuge success in government.]”
“The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one. [Did I remember to tell you I’ll be the greatest in the last 2 minutes?]”
“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself [and America] against the Jew [note to self: substitute Muslim here], I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
Okay, that was tasteless. On a more serious note, while every channel I turned to was simply gushing last night over Melania’s speech – apparently astonished she was able to deliver one at all – I was struck by how shallow it was.
It was a pale shadow of Trump’s own ego-masturbation. My husband is kind. My husband is strong. My husband kisses babies and plays with puppy dogs. Yet my manly man husband is so strong he will crush ISIS.
There was no substance. No personal anecdotes. No real glimpse into what The Donald is like. It was like a casual acquaintance was tasked with flattering Trump.
Plagiarizing is the cherry on top. Not just the plagiarizing. She didn’t plagiarize Reagan. She plagiarized Michelle Obama, wife to the anti-Christ. Seriously?
Was there ever any doubt Fox News would gush over it as the greatest wife’s speech ever in politics while forgetting the plagiarizing?
That’s ‘cause they’re still waiting for their talking points on the matter — which might ultimately conclude that it was actually FLOTUS Obama who preemptively plagiarized Melania Drumpf’s speech, years in the future . . . much in the same manner that President Obama’s parents had two fake birth announcements placed in Honolulu’s two newspapers back in 1961, knowing he’d need them for his future run for the presidency.
Ridiculous? Of course. But this is Fox, remember?