Melania Speech Scandal Gets Twice the Coverage as Obama's Lifted Lines in 2008

By Adams, Becket | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, July 20, 2016 | Go to article overview

Melania Speech Scandal Gets Twice the Coverage as Obama's Lifted Lines in 2008


Adams, Becket, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Melania Trump's plagiarism scandal has earned more than twice the amount of coverage than the major networks gave in 2008 when Barack Obama was caught lifting lines from then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Melania Trump delivered an address Monday evening at the Republican National Convention featuring passages taken directly from a speech that Michelle Obama gave in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.

The similarities were flagged immediately, and thus began a two- day news cycle featuring mixed messages, denials and eyebrow- raising defenses from the Republican National Committee and Trump's campaign team.

Melania Trump's speechwriter, Meredith McIver, eventually owned up to the plagiarism, and said Wednesday she accidentally left passages from Obama's speech in the copy of the address heard Monday evening at the GOP convention.

By the time McIver admitted to cribbing the first lady's 2008 convention speech, the three major networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC News -- had already dedicated an impressive 59 minutes and 25 seconds to the story, according to an analysis from the Media Research Center.

In contrast, these same networks spent only 14 minutes and 11 seconds in 2008 covering reports that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had plagiarized lines from Deval Patrick.

There is a major difference between the two plagiarism stories, however, which would explain how each event was covered.

Most importantly, Obama got in front of his plagiarism story immediately, and put it to bed by addressing it together with the man from whom he had taken the line. In contrast, the Trump campaign and the RNC responded to the Melania plagiarism scandal with a series of contradictory statements, nonsensical defenses and opposing strategies.

Obama said in a speech on Feb. 16, 2008, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal -- just words. We have nothing to fear but fear itself -- just words."

These lines, it turned out, were lifted almost verbatim from an address delivered on Oct. …

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