Can a writer accidentally subcontract?

In her weekly column as the Star Tribune’s reader’s representative, Kate Parry reflects on the the partial plagiarism committed by a recent Star Tribune editorial: “Can a writer unintentionally plagiarize?” It’s a good column, far better than the mystifying note on the incident by editorial page editor Susan Albright. (John Hinderaker appended a refutation of the Hertzberg/Strib editorial to my post quoting Albright’s note.)
Ms. Parry interviewed our former law partner Norm Carpenter for her column. Norm had alerted us to the Star Tribune’s plagiarism, which I wrote about here. At the time Norm explained to me that, after litigating construction cases in the course of a long career in commercial litigation, he had been struck by the use of the term “subcontracting” in the original New Yorker editorial comment by Hendrik Hertzberg.
Hertzberg had condemned “the subcontracting” of Bush administration policymaking “to corporate interests.” Ms. Parry reports that the Star Tribune editorial’s use of the term in the same context led to Norm’s discovery of the fact that the Star Tribune had, well, subcontracted part of its editorial to Hertzberg.


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