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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Megapastor Mark Driscoll Remains Silent Amid Plagiarism-Ghostwriting Controversy

By Rick Pearcey • December 18, 2013, 10:10 AM

Alex Murashko reports at ChristianPost.com:

A wider circle of accusations surrounding author and Seattle-based megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll that originally included plagiarism allegations by a radio talk show host, now includes claims from others tracking the saga about how ghostwriters or researchers were used and not given proper attribution. At the same time, the Mars Hill Church pastor's silence on the matter has raised intrigue and the question: How powerful is the "evangelical celebrity machine?"

"What started in late November with Janet Mefferd's accusations of plagiarism against Mark Driscoll has morphed into broader concerns over authorship and use of research materials," CP quotes Warren Throckmorton as writing over at Patheos. "This finding raises interesting questions about ghostwriting and the use of research in writing for publication. I am not aware of how wide spread this practice is but perhaps this story allows us a view behind a door not often opened," states Throckmorton.

"Throckmorton, who has been reporting daily on developments in the Driscoll alleged-plagiarism story that began three weeks ago, says that it appears that Docent Research Group consultant Justin Holcomb 'quoted the material from the New Bible Commentary and then Driscoll changed a few words and included it under his authorship. There are multiple instances of this practice throughout the memo'," CP reports.

Here is how the Docent Research Group describes some of its services: "Provide excellent sermon research for pastors who . . . Desire to inform and transform an audience . . . Need stories, metaphors and statistics that connect with their audience . . . Require a team that will execute the Pastor’s specific ideas, questions and instructions . . . Speak to culturally savvy congregations." Under "Book Summaries," Docent specifies "books or articles," promising to provide pastors "content you need to know but don’t have time to read," in "any genre" and at "any level of detail."

In addition, Christian Post reports that "well-known theologian and pastor John Piper also chimed in on the online chatter about the Driscoll matter via Twitter, and Throckmorton writes that the series of [Piper] tweets was 'apparently in response to an op-ed by Andy Crouch at Christianity Today on the Mark Driscoll plagiarism (now ghostwriting) controversy. Crouch's op-ed builds to this crescendo: The real danger here is not plagiarism -- it is idolatry'."

Francis Schaeffer: "The Central Problem of Our Age"
Oxford, Cambridge, Plagiarism and Christian Worldview 
Spiritual Corruption Watch: Andersen Book Blows Obama-Ayers Cover on "Dreams"
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Approach

Friday, September 20, 2013

On Faking It: Vladimir Putin's Ghostwriters

By Rick Pearcey • September 20, 2013, 07:42 AM

On the occasion of an op-ed that went out under Vladimir Putin's name September 11, Michael Johnson at American Spectator discusses the "utterly cynical" world of PR and ghostwriting (ghostwriting is, of course, the fine art of deceiving the public into thinking that your writing was actually "authored" by somebody else). Johnson states:

The 1100-word screed under Putin’s byline was a masterpiece of chutzpah, portraying the Russia president as a God-fearing protector of democracy and stalwart supporter of the United Nations, especially the Security Council where Russia has flagrantly used its veto since the beginning of the Syria conflict. Understandably the reaction in the West has been jaw-droppingly negative.
. . .

The greatest heat in this affair has emanated not from the American public but from the private conference rooms of Ketchum Public Relations, the U.S. agency that actually wrote it for Putin’s team. No original text in Russian has surfaced, most likely because it never existed. The few Russian publications that have picked up the story quote sparingly from the English version.

It is naïve to believe that Vladimir Putin sat down one night at his Kremlin desk and, pen in hand, dashed off this heartfelt opener reminiscent of FDR, “Recent events in Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people . . ."

One wants to say, "Oh puh-leeeeze."

"Major pronouncements such as this one, especially if placed in a major U.S. newspaper, are almost never written by the people who sign them," Johnson explains. "This is where the Ketchums of the PR industry come in. Presidents and CEOs turn to such agencies or hire expensive ex-journalists to make up their self-serving pronouncements. You can ignore the Kremlin spokesman’s quaint assurance that Putin actually jotted down the 'basic content' for this piece and let his aides flesh them out. He was probably out of the loop until late-stage drafts."

Spiritual Corruption Watch: Andersen Book Blows Obama-Ayers Cover on "Dreams" 
American Thinker: Time Blows Lid on "Secret" Sarah Palin Ghostwriter

Monday, February 18, 2013

Report: Actor Alec Baldwin Calls Black Photographer "Coon"

By Rick Pearcey • February 18, 2013, 08:20 AM

Leonard Green reports at the NYPost:

Actor Alec Baldwin allegedly calls a black Post photographer a racial epithet, a "crackhead" and a "drug dealer" during a confrontation on an East Village street yesterday morning, prompting police to intervene.

Baldwin had first been approached by a Post reporter while walking his dogs outside his East 10th Street pad at around 10:50 a.m. He was asked for comment on a lawsuit against his wife, Hilaria, involving her work as a yoga instructor.

The “30 Rock’’ star grabbed the reporter, Tara Palmeri, by her arm and told her, “I want you to choke to death,” Palmeri told police, for whom she played an audiotape of the conversation.

"He then called G.N. Miller -- a decorated retired detective with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau and a staff photographer for the Post -- a 'coon, a drug dealer,' Miller’s police statement said," according to the Post.

AlfonZo Rachel: "If I wanted to profit from racism . . . "
Death Wish: Hollywood's Ellen Barkin Wants Hurricane Isaac to Drown Republicans 
Alec Baldwin: Sen. Inhofe a "Whore," Should Retire to "Solar-Powered Gay Bar"

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tina Turner Dropping U.S. Citizenship

By Rick Pearcey • January 26, 2013, 08:49 AM

Fox News reports:

The Nutbush, Tenn. native is giving up her US passport, in favor of a Swiss one.

"I'm very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. . . . I cannot imagine a better place to live," Turner told the German newspaper Blick.

"Turner has lived in the Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht since the mid-1990s," Fox reports.

"The local Zuerichsee-Zeitung newspaper said on its website the local council announced its decision to grant the 73-year-old Turner citizenship in an official notice published in Friday's edition."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Feds Seek Prison Time for Obama "Hope" Poster Artist

By Rick Pearcey • September 6, 2012, 08:42 AM

At The Smoking Gun:

Federal prosecutors want Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, to serve time in prison following his misdemeanor conviction for destroying and fabricating documents in connection with a civil lawsuit over the iconic campaign image. . . .

Fairey . . . has admitted destroying electronic records and creating fake documents in an effort to thwart a copyright lawsuit brought by the Associated Press, which contended that Fairey had based the “Hope” image on a photo taken by an AP lensman.

Plagiarism is an "act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author," states Dictionary.com. This would include "a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation."

Note, however, one can plagiarize even if there is an under-the-table "authorization" to allow it (sometimes protected by a contract's "nondisclosure clause"). Ghostwriting, for example, is often preceded by a legal agreement in which a "big name" pretend author agrees to take credit for work in fact authored by the "ghost." 

The true authorship of the book is hidden from the reading public, for any number of rationalizations. Both the "author" and real writer (and their lawyers and organizations and publishers) have thereby agreed to deceive and manipulate to achieve some desired end (book sales, image enhancement, influence, etc.).

Being known as an "author," or having a list of 20 or 30 books he or she has "written," can do wonders for one's speaking fees, the status of one's organization, the rehabilitation of one's besmirched image, and the "legacy" you've carefully crafted for years so that all remains well when you're dead and gone.

It's all "nice and legal," but unethical. Two wrongs do not make a right. Even if "legal." Even if agreed to by consenting adults. This is true even if some big "Christian" celebrity's name (often PRed as a "spiritual giant") is stuck on the front of the book. Or on the front of 30 books.

Francis Schaeffer -- "The Central Problem of Our Age"
Oxford, Cambridge, Plagiarism, and Christian Worldview
Francis Schaeffer: A Student's Appreciation of a Distinct Approach

Monday, August 27, 2012

Death Wish: Hollywood's Ellen Barkin Wants Hurricane Isaac to Drown Republicans

By Rick Pearcey • August 27, 2012, 05:51 PM

Ms. Barkin shares her retweeted sentiment (in reply to "HighwayStarr"):

C'mon #Isaac! Wash every pro-life, anti-education, anti-woman, xenophobic, gay-bashing, racist SOB right into the ocean! #RNC

Friday, July 6, 2012

Brad Pitt's Mom Pens So-Called Anti-"Gay," Anti-Obama Letter to Local Newspaper

By Rick Pearcey • July 6, 2012, 08:44 AM

Jane Pitt's pro-family, pro-marriage letter is here.

The Hollywood Reporter story, which expresses the typical slavish
anti-marriage and anti-family presuppositions of the formerly mainstream media, is here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hollywood's Love Affair With Obama

By Rick Pearcey • July 9, 2010, 10:14 AM

Christian Toto writes at Human Events:

Sen. Barack Obama promised us "Hope and Change" during the 2008 presidential campaign.

A gaggle of celebrities from Tom Hanks to Spike Lee predicted more than that if voters pulled the lever for Obama. They said the senator would "change the world."

Voters assumed they meant for the better.

But after 16 months of the Obama Administration in action -- high unemployment, allies rebuffed, promises shattered, chaos in Afghanistan and mind-numbing deficits -- these very same celebrities owe us an apology.

And Oprah Winfrey’s mea culpa should come gift-wrapped and scented with fancy perfume. She used her reservoir of good will to stump for the smooth-talking senator.
Practical Application: Voters may want to "think twice before they consider listening to an actor’s political opinion in 2012."

Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes
Ashley Judd: No More Coal Mining on KY Mountain Tops
Photo: Beckham in Afghanistan No "Hanoi Jane" Fonda
Hollywood Approval Rating in the Toilet

Friday, July 2, 2010

Al's Masseuse and the Feminists

By Rick Pearcey • July 2, 2010, 06:00 AM

Jeannie DeAngelis examines why feminists have not risen in outrage to support Molly Hagerty for "her bravery and courage in exposing" the undesired impositions of "adductor muscle massage-craving, 'crazed sex poodle,' male feminist and staunch ally of both mothers and nature, Al Gore."

Hat tip: American Thinker

Bush's Fault Gore in Sex Crisis?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiger's Mystery Woman in LA: Video

By Rick Pearcey • December 1, 2009, 07:32 AM

Video posted at Sydney Morning Herald: "Rachel Uchitel, who has denied having an affair with Tiger Woods, arrives in Los Angeles to meet with her lawyer."