Ohio Democratic Party Press Secretary Previously Fired For Plagiarism
Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) Press Secretary Andrew Zucker, whose work frequently hammers at conservative “lies” as described by left-wing “fact checking” outlet PolitiFact Ohio, was fired from his college newspaper after committing plagiarism. Zucker was caught plagiarizing Arianna Huffington in April 2010, and was hired by ODP in October 2011.
While attending Ohio University, Zucker was a columnist for the university’s student newspaper, The Post. On April 21, 2010, a note from Post Associate Editor Ryan Dunn titled “Former columnist breaks ethical standards” appeared on the opinion page in place of Zuckers usual political column.
“Plagiarism, as it would be with any course at Ohio University, is completely unacceptable at The Post,” Dunn wrote before proceeding to detail a flagrant copy-and-paste job Zucker had submitted to the editors two days earlier.
Shown adjacent to Huffington’s April 12 blog post, “The West Virginia Mining Disaster and the Financial Crisis Have the Same Root Cause,” the first four sentences of Zucker’s Post column submitted April 19, 2010 were obviously plagiarized.
“Remarkable similarities are scattered throughout both pieces, and in essentially the same sequence,” Dunn wrote. “He made no attribution or reference to her blog.”
In other words, Zucker did not forget to cite a source for a sentence or paragraph – Zucker made minor changes to an entire Huffington story and sent it to The Post as his own work.
The student newspaper’s executive editors further justified Zucker’s firing after a meeting several days later. ”The Post‘s editorial board unanimously stands behind Associate Editor Ryan Dunns decision to fire Andrew Zucker for plagiarism,” they wrote.
After being caught, Zucker apparently tried to argue that he did not copy Huffington’s work. “To say the pieces were ‘framed similarly’ grossly understates the extent to which both the text and ideas were ripped from Huffington’s work without attribution,” wrote the Post editors.
“Our business relies on public trust, and we take that charge seriously,” the student newspaper’s editors continued. “Post policies, which Zucker signed, list plagiarism as cause for termination.”
“As noted plagiarist and Vice President Joe Biden might put it, we consider plagiarism a big fucking deal.”
The editorial concluded, “We know Zucker copied information from Arianna Huffington without attribution. We know what he did wasn’t right. We know firing him was the right call. And we’d do it again.”
The Huffington Post was nearly five years old by the time Zucker was fired in 2010. Given that Huffington is a nationally known liberal commentator, Zucker’s decision to plagiarize her work speaks volumes of both his ethics and his intelligence.
Not surprisingly, Zucker’s work for the Ohio University newspaper was not mentioned when ODP moved him from the position of Deputy Communications Director to Press Secretary in March 2012. Prior to working for ODP, Zucker was employed by Obama for American and the AFL-CIO.
When contacted about Zucker’s documented history of dishonesty, Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Jerid Kurtz refused to comment on Zucker’s 2010 firing for plagiarism.
Instead, Kurtz accused Media Trackers staff of being paid by Governor John Kasich or the Ohio Republican Party. Whether or not he is familiar with critical Media Trackers coverage of Kasich’s severance tax proposal, JobsOhio, the Cleveland schools tax hike, or any number of other Republican failings, Kurtz went to great lengths to ignore the questions Media Trackers posed.
Judging by Zucker’s continued employment and Kurtz’s silence on the issue, Zucker’s firing for plagiarism from an Ohio college newspaper less than two years before ODP hired him is of little concern to the Party.