- The gross incompetence of the Trump campaign is laid bare: Melania said on video that she wrote the speech ‘with as little help as possible’. Now that it has been proven that part of it was plagiarized from a Michelle Obama speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, does she step back from that claim? Does the Trump campaign now look for someone else to blame and then hang out to dry? Whatever the case, can a campaign unable to fact check a speech, really be trusted in the White House?
- The (people who use the) internet never forget. Ever.: The real power of the internet is not just the fact that it can store information indefinitely. It is also that those who use the internet – humans – can make connections and know where to look. Melania’s plagiarism would have gone unnoticed but for Jarrett Hill, who had heard something similar before. He made the connection, and that was that.
- Plagiarism remains a big deal in the West: A significant number of people, from politicians to technocrats to writers, have seen their careers take a big hit as a result of plagiarism. Two recent examples that come to mind like Jonah Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria, although the latter has emerged largely unscathed from the allegations.
In a society that takes intellectual pursuits very seriously for the most part, such things can be damning. Even Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign ended as a result of that. In Nigeria, it is quite different. Perhaps there would be some backlash if a public official was found out as having ripped off a speech or dissertation, but he or she would not suffer much as a result.
In a country where billions are stolen and millions suffer as a result, with no consequences, who gives a damn about a few words?