For a newspaper that likes to call on “transparency” from government and what others do, I believe the Contra Costa Times editorial staff should release the name or names of those responsible for this so called “breach of public trust” as a portion of their editorial was taken from the Los Angeles Times.
As columnist, readers generally do not know the difference between opinion and fact and confuse some of these questionable columns for facts which then cause an uproar against local governments—as opposed to just one persons opinion. Readers should know whom is responsible for this plagiarism.
It also raises the question about what else in the past has been plagiarized and what should be second guessed. Was this person’s column also other people’s opinions simply inserted into the text of the Contra Costa Times for political gain?
The Times claims they have taken appropriate actions… okay, like what? Was this person fired? Was their column discontinued? Suspension? What are these actions do they speak of? After all, this would all be in the name of transparency as they like to promote to their readers.
Could it be coincidence that Daniel Borenstein did not have his column run this past weekend? Maybe it wasn’t Borenstein, but the timing is odd.
Instead, Dan Hattfield released the following on 4/7/2012 that is vague (see below). As readers, we deserve to know and I would encourage others to ask similar questions.
I would urge the CC Times not to be a hypocrite when the tables are turned on them for a change. Release the name in the name of transparency.
Your readers are waiting.
On Monday, this newspaper published an editorial about the California court system’s stupendous failure to create an efficient computer system that could operate across the state, even after spending $700 million on the effort.
After publication of that editorial, it was brought to our attention by an editor at the Los Angeles Times that our editorial had taken a nearly identical approach to one that his newspaper had published several days before ours. In addition, there were several paragraphs in this paper’s editorial that were virtually identical to those in the Los Angeles Times.
While each newspaper’s editorial opinion staff came to the same viewpoint on the issue separately, the editorial that was published in our newspapers was clearly inappropriate and profoundly unprofessional. The wording is simply too similar to be a coincidence, and we have taken appropriate personnel action.
I want to offer a sincere apology to the Los Angeles Times for our breach of journalism ethics and protocol. I thank them for calling it to our attention. I also want to apologize to our readers for breaching their trust in this editorial.
I promise you a new diligence on this end that will ensure such shortcuts are never taken again.
— Dan Hatfield, editorial page director