“If a student had done that… that student would be facing a very unpleasant conversation with his or her professor about the notion of plagiarism and what is legitimate to take from someone else without citing them,” says WSU communications professor Lee Wilkins.
The first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland has given us plenty to talk about. The big news this morning is the revelation that Melania Trump lifted sections of her speech directly from Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech in 2008.
Wayne State University professor of communications Lee Wilkins joins Detroit Today to evaluate whether the speech rises to the level of plagiarism.
“If a student had done that… that student would be facing a very unpleasant conversation with his or her professor about the notion of plagiarism and what is legitimate to take from someone else without citing them,” says Wilkins. “Congress has actually passed laws that say that if I use more than 100 words from another source, not only can I not use word number 101, but I absolutely have to cite that source and, in most cases, I have to get their permission.”
Former Michigan Republican Party chairman and RNC delegate Saul Anuzis says it’s not that big of a deal to him.
“Obama’s speech wasn’t copyrighted and Melania’s speech isn’t copyrighted,” says Anuzis. “These were speeches given in a political environment. And I think that people use phrases and terms and terminology from one another all the time because we tend to talk about things that appeal to the same general voting public.”
But Anuzis says he thinks taking portions of the speech from Michelle Obama’s was a mistake.
“I wish the speech writers would have been a little more deliberate with regards to doing that,” he says. “This becomes, probably, an unnecessary distraction.”
There was also a standoff on the convention floor between Republicans hoping to dump Trump and the presumptive nominee’s supporters. The quick adoption of the RNC’s rules effectively stomped out the Never Trump movement’s hopes of finding an alternative nominee to lead the party into November.
Anuzis, a former advisor to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign who supported having a debate on the convention rules, says it was quite a scene on the convention floor.
“It was hardball politics down there,” he says. ”People were being harassed on the floor to rescind their request for roll call vote.”
To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.