January 10, 2017 Last Updated 12:11 pm

Trinity Mirror confirms it is talks to buy rival tabloid publisher; Trump pick for National Security Council post runs into trouble

Morning Brief: Fox News contributor Monica Crowley has political reporters searching her published works for cases of plagiarism, and apparently hitting paydirt

The publisher of the UK tabloid The Daily Mirror is in talks concerning a merger with the publisher of The Daily Express and The Daily Star.

“The Board of Trinity Mirror plc notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is at an early stage of discussions towards taking a minority interest in a new company comprising certain of Northern & Shell’s assets,” the company said today.

“No offer has been made and there is no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

Trinity Mirror publishes a large number of papers throughout the UK, including Ireland, owning such papers as the Manchester Evening News, Bristol Post, and Liverpool Echo. Like other chains, though, its revenue continues to fall, with its latest trading update saying it expected revenue to decline 8 percent in the fourth quarter.

The papers in question are owned by Richard Desmond, the billionaire publisher who began his company, Northern & Shell, publishing adult titles. His company acquired Express Newspapers from United News & Media in 2000, and four years later Desmond sold his adult titles.

A merger would combine not only tabloid newspapers, but ones on opposite sides of the political spectrum. The Daily Express is a strong supporter of right-wing politics including UKIP, and has a circulation of just over 400K. The Daily Star, has a circulation of over 450K, and the daily publishes a topless model.



Editorial layoffs and cutbacks happen every day in the industry… sad to report. But you knew that. So, this story is probably a little overblown. Yes, now may not be the time be cutting back on fact-checking, but what really is happening here is the ending of a syndication deal – the Richmond Times-Dispatch is ending its arrangement with PolitiFact where by the paper held the Virginia franchise. No longer.

The Washington Post, Erik Wemple:

Richmond Times-Dispatch lays off PolitiFact editor, ends fact-checking relationship

Conventional media wisdom holds that fact-checking is ascendant — that it drives traffic, lands with impact and will continue growing.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is heading in the other direction. A note from Executive Editor Paige Mudd notes that the newspaper is ending its relationship with PolitiFact, under which the newspaper has been fact-checking Virginia politicians since 2010.

Richmond-Times-Dispatch:

RTD ends partnership with PolitiFact

We understand that now, more than ever, it remains critical to hold politicians accountable for what they say. Readers deserve the truth. But we believe it’s the role of all of our reporters — not just a small fact-checking team — to provide readers with that context. You deserve to know when someone is telling the truth, bending the truth or ignoring it altogether.

The Times-Dispatch is committed to reporting on the truthfulness and accuracy of statements by newsmakers in all of our coverage. We will apply some of the lessons learned from our experience with PolitiFact throughout the newsroom, but we will no longer use the PolitiFact fact-checking formula, which included ratings ranging from True to Pants on Fire for the veracity of statements, and a lengthy process inside our newsroom to determine those ratings.

We have appreciated our association with PolitiFact, and we wish them well.



I once had a conversation with an assistant editor regarding plagiarism. “Don’t do it,” I told him. “It will always catch up with you, and at the most inopportune time, when you least expect it.”

Well, Monica Crowley, president-elect Donald Trump’s pick for a National Security Council job, is learning that lesson today.

Crowley, it turns out, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book What The (Bleep) Just Happened, according to CNN. That set reporters in motion – after all, if she plagiarized sections of her book, then surely this wasn’t the only time, right?

CNN was busy checking out her other published work when Politico beat them to the punch. To Andrew Kaczynski’s credit, he congratulated Politico on the scoop, but one wonders if Kaczynski had the story, too, but was waiting for the design team to put it together – his first story was well designed, and maybe CNN wanted the follow-up to be as attractive. Oh well.

Update: Harper Collins announced today that it would pull the book. “The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material,” HarperCollins said in a statement given to CNN that seems to be also saying that the book wasn’t selling much these days.

The stories, the first from Saturday, the second from Monday – who knows what to expect today or Wednesday:

CNN, Andrew Kaczynski:

Trump national security pick Monica Crowley plagiarized multiple sources in 2012 book

The review of Crowley’s June 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” found upwards of 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including the copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia. The New York Times bestseller, published by the HarperCollins imprint Broadside Books, contains no notes or bibliography…

…Trump’s transition team is standing by Crowley.

“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said. “HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”

In the book, Crowley lifted an entire section on Keynesian economics from the IAC-owned website Investopedia…

Politico, Alex Caton and Grace Watkins:

Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation

Monica Crowley, President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s pick for a top National Security Council job, plagiarized numerous passages in her Ph.D. dissertation, Politico Magazine has found.

In examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified around more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all…

…The transition team did not reply to requests for comment for this story.

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