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This, from Jeremy Duns (previously encountered here), resonates with me:

When I asked Thayer why he hadn’t cited Zeigler, he told me very forcefully that he had cited everything, and accused me of libelling him: this means, presumably, that he accused me of libel without checking his article and seeing the ‘citations’ weren’t there. And when he did finally spot that, why did he not tell me I was right, apologize, get them added and explain to me, on his site, below the article or anywhere else that his editor had accidentally missed out his attributions?

It’s so frustrating. The kind of people who cheat also seem to be the kind of people who lie when caught at it, and the kind of people who never ever apologize.


  1. polymath says:

    Looking at the Felix Salmon update (“deeply indebted to”) and the CJR commentary, along with comments on Duns’s blog, it seems there’s a big payoff to not apologizing or admitting even blatant falsehoods. But then, that rot starts at the top — robosigning, Libor faking, climate change denial, death panels, WMD in Iraq, HSBC drug money. In politics, big journos commit fraud on their audiences all the time, and are if anything rewarded for it with more appearances on conflict-based talking head shows. Authors are smart. If big frauds are done with terrible consequences for the world, yet the people behind the big frauds aren’t held to account (much less do they apologize), why should Lehrer or Thayer or your average scientific plagiarist suffer disgrace for much more minor infractions of just copying words?

    I think Duns here is doing good work, and I wish there was more of it. But authors just learn how to get by in the world around them. Why would they feel shame at what they’ve done? They have families to feed and didn’t get a million dollar bonus. If we want it to be different, we have to make it comprehensively different at a social level.

  2. BenSix says:

    …the kind of people who never ever apologize.

    Well, unless there’s $20,000 in it.

  3. Rahul says:

    Off topic but Andrew you should comment on this Infographic video: “Wealth Inequality in America”

    Looks pretty cool. Your thoughts on his visualization / charts / stats?

    • Andrew says:


      I don’t have the patience to watch an entire video but I guess it looked ok. My only quick comment was that they had a graph showing “pop star” being richer than “investment banker.” I think that’s misleading, as “pop star” is on the far right scale of the “musician” or “performer” category. I think it would be more appropriate either to compare “investment banker” to “musician” or to compare “investment banker star” to “pop star.”

  4. The title for this post could even have been “P”!