Oliver North's Memorial Day post for Fox News Insider wasn't quite what it purported to be - the words of his "dear friend," Army Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy L. Davis explaining the personal significance for veterans to observe the holiday in Washington D.C. Instead, Davis' reflections really came from author and NYU journalism professor Michael Norman's 1990 memoir.
When confronted with the original source, Oliver North blamed his friend, saying that Davis had emailed North the comments and he had assumed the words were Davis'.
For the record, although I'm no fan of North's (to put it mildly), I do believe his account. But there's no excuse for the rest of his and Fox' behavior. As the Washington Post reports;
After a reporter brought the 1990 passage to Fox’s attention last week, the company took the unorthodox step of scrubbing the quotation and reposting North’s column, which is syndicated by Creators Syndicate. It appended an editor’s note that mentioned, without explanation, that the paragraphs had been removed and that North had included them “through no fault of his own.” The note also credited Norman.
Early this week, the company removed the column from the Web site altogether, also without explanation. It also no longer appears in Fox’s online archive of North’s work.
Norman calls Fox’s actions “a non-correction correction and a non-apology apology,” he said. “From a journalism professor’s perspective, it’s one of the more bizarre handling of a plagiarism accusation that I’ve ever seen.”
As Ellen links to in the last sentence above, according to Col. David Hackworth, Ollie was much, much more than just a plagiarist:
“LET ME TRY to describe Oliver North in a few fast bursts. He’s a jackass. He is so preposterous that there is a temptation to laugh at him. He’s smarmy, a flatter, a brownnoser. He’s also a twisted impostor, a drugstore Marine with an apparent compulsion to bullshit just about all the time.”
Yikes —and that’s not even the whole first paragraph . . .
Hm — Fox, in particular Sean Hannity, has hinted in the past that President Obama’s books were actually written by Bill Ayers . . . I wonder if they’ll report on North’s ACTUAL instance of plagiarism, rather than continue to speculate on the President’s imagined one . . .
My failure to issue a retraction was due to naivete and inexperience at that time. I somehow doubt Fox News can say the same about themselves.