Daily Mail political editor plagiarises Reg

We're used to people nicking stories, but...


We were glad when someone picked up on our story about Labour party officials posting anti-Plaid Cymru messages on political newsgroups under pseudonyms. The Daily Mail was one of the first and it gave almost a half page to it with its political editor's byline.

Of course, it didn't bother to credit us with the story but then it's a big, important newspaper so why shouldn't it pretend that it finds its own stories? However, skimming through the story, an eerie sense of deja vu formed. See here.

Yes, the story seemed to follow the exact same pace and approach as ours but oddly it also quotes all the (original) figures that our story gave and doesn't add anything new apart from a quote from Helen Mary Jones. Incredible. In fact, the Mail was obviously so pleased with the figures that it thought it would borrow the words as well. Very flattering.

Here is a selection of the parts the Mail really liked:

Mail: The messages included accusations that Plaid Cymru is racist, wants to put controls on English immigrants, is propping up Tory administrations, and is full of hypocrites.
Register: Among the postings were accusations that Plaid Cymru was racist, wanted to put controls on English immigrants, was propping up Tory administrations, was responsible for future industrial action and was full of hypocrites.

Mail:"Hairy Melon Jones" has posted far fewer messages, just 38 since last July, but they have been far more provocative.
Register:Hairy Melon Jones has posted far fewer with only 38 messages since July last year, but they tend to be far more provocative.

Mail:They have filed a motion in the Welsh National Assembly asking First Minister Rhodri Morgan to distance himself from the messages. They have also demanded the resignation of Adrian McMenamin, a special advisor to Welsh secretary Paul Murphy. Mr McMenamin - a protégé of fallen Labour spin supremo Peter Mandelson - is suspected of playing a role in the Internet operation.
Register:Plaid Cymru representatives are furious and have filed a motion in the Welsh National Assembly asking the first minister to distance himself from the messages. The party has also called for the resignation of Adrian McMenamin, a "special advisor" to Welsh secretary Paul Murphy. McMenamin - a protégé of fallen Labour spin supremo Peter Mandelson - has been heavily implicated in ongoing investigations.

Mail:He has posted heavily to the same political newsgroups under his own name. His first posting came within days of the emergence of "David Currie" and since then he has written 358 messages.
Register:McMenamin also posted heavily to the same political newsgroups under his own name. His first posting came within days of David Currie's and since then he has written 358 messages on Deja newsgroups.

Mail:Since November, Mr McMenamin and "David Currie" have frequently supported one another's views. One posting, titled "English immigrants must be controlled - Plaid Cymru", was started by one Hairy Melon Jones and of the 51 responses, 22 were from David Currie and two from Mr McMenamin - all critical of Plaid Cymru.
Register:Since November, McMenamin and "David Currie" have frequently supported one another's views. One posting, titled "English immigrants must be controlled - Plaid Cymru", was started by one Hairy Melon Jones and of the 51 responses, 22 were from David Currie and 2 from Adrian McMenamin - all critical of Plaid Cymru.

Mail:The row raises the spectre of a co-ordinated propaganda campaign over the Internet by New Labour from Millbank as the election draws near.
Register:The whole issue raises the spectre of a co-ordinated propaganda campaign over the Internet by New Labour from Millbank as the election draws near.

While we are obviously overjoyed that the Daily Mail thinks our story so terrific that it didn't want to spoil it by, er, changing any words or doing any work on it itself, someone else pointed out that "copying what somebody else has written or taking somebody else's idea and trying to pass it off as original" is commonly termed plagiarism. And that's a bad thing.

So we wrote to the Daily Mail to clarify matters. Our story was posted on 30 January and theirs came out on 2 Feb. Six days later and we still haven't heard anything - which is odd because the letter was quite strongly worded.

Now the question is: do we write a story about them, send them an invoice, tell Private Eye, or all three? ®

Related Stories

Our story
The Mail's "story"


Other stories you might like

  • It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

    Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

    Column I used to think technology could change the world. Google's vision is different: it just wants you to sort of play with the world. That's fun, but it's not as powerful as it could be.

    Despite the fact that it often gives me a stomach-churning sense of motion sickness, I've been spending quite a bit of time lately fully immersed in Google Earth VR. Pop down inside a major city centre – Sydney, San Francisco or London – and the intense data-gathering work performed by Google's global fleet of scanning vehicles shows up in eye-popping detail.

    Buildings are rendered photorealistically, using the mathematics of photogrammetry to extrude three-dimensional solids from multiple two-dimensional images. Trees resolve across successive passes from childlike lollipops into complex textured forms. Yet what should feel absolutely real seems exactly the opposite – leaving me cold, as though I've stumbled onto a global-scale miniature train set, built by someone with too much time on their hands. What good is it, really?

    Continue reading
  • Why Cloud First should not have to mean Cloud Everywhere

    HPE urges 'consciously hybrid' strategy for UK public sector

    Sponsored In 2013, the UK government heralded Cloud First, a ground-breaking strategy to drive cloud adoption across the public sector. Eight years on, and much of UK public sector IT still runs on-premises - and all too often - on obsolete technologies.

    Today the government‘s message boils down to “cloud first, if you can” - perhaps in recognition that modernising complex legacy systems is hard. But in the private sector today, enterprises are typically mixing and matching cloud and on-premises infrastructure, according to the best business fit for their needs.

    The UK government should also adopt a “consciously hybrid” approach, according to HPE, The global technology company is calling for the entire IT industry to step up so that the public sector can modernise where needed and keep up with innovation: “We’re calling for a collective IT industry response to the problem,” says Russell MacDonald, HPE strategic advisor to the public sector.

    Continue reading
  • A Raspberry Pi HAT for the Lego Technic fan

    Sneaking in programming under the guise of plastic bricks

    There is good news for the intersection of Lego and Raspberry Pi fans today, as a new HAT (the delightfully named Hardware Attached on Top) will be unveiled for the diminutive computer to control Technic motors and sensors.

    Using a Pi to process sensor readings and manage motors has been a thing since the inception of the computer, and users (including ourselves) have long made use of the General Purpose Input / Output (GPIO) pins that have been a feature of the hardware for all manner of projects.

    However, not all users are entirely happy with breadboards and jumpers. Lego, familiar to many a builder thanks to lines such as its Mindstorms range, recently introduced the Education SPIKE Prime set, aimed at the classroom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021