This is about as silly as it gets, but I am forced to break this down for everyone because we have become a nation of idiots.
The so called ‘controversy’ over Melania Trump plagiarizing Michelle Obama during her Republican National Convention speech on Monday reminds me of the South Park episode “The Simpsons Already Did It.”
The episode was a response to people complaining about South Park plot lines by saying ‘The Simpsons already did it.’ So South Park decided to poke fun at this concept by pointing out that The Simpsons had done, literally, everything. So there could be no plot ever conceived that The Simpsons hadn’t already done. Therefore, no one should make anything anymore because it wouldn’t be a unique idea.
This notion is, of course, silly … because …
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
— Ecclesiastes 1:9:
For you Battlestar Galactica fans:
“All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.”
Before I totally disprove this nonsense, let’s go over the specific complaints liberals online are harping on.
Melania – July 2016:
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.
Michelle – August 2008:
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.
I won’t do you the disservice of highlighting the supposed plagiarized words in an effort to steer you to my conclusion.
I’ve been covering political speeches for nearly 12 years professionally. Longer than many of these speechwriters have been writing them. Not only have the lines about one’s parents impressing values of hard work, keeping your word, and treating people with respect been used before, they are extraordinarily common.
Melania – July 2016:
“We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” she said. “Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Michelle – August 2008:
“Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”
Yeah, I’ve never heard about passing values on to the next generation, or that working hard will help you achieve your dreams before Michelle Obama told me about it in 2008 (sarcasm).
Here’s the thing, you can’t plagiarize common phrases routinely used in public speeches. Especially in politics, we see phrases recycled all the time. Did a part of Melania’s nearly 15 minute speech seem similar to Michelle Obama’s? Yes. Just as Michelle’s speech in 2008 seemed similar to countless other political speeches. Was Michelle Obama plagiarizing when she used common phrases others have used before her? No. But so long as we are making allegations …
[contentcards url=”http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/if-melania-trump-plagiarized-michelle-obama-2008-speech-then-michelle-obama-plagiarized-hers” target=”_blank”]
In performing a bit of research, I uncovered a quote from Will Steger’s 1989 book, Crossing Antarctica, which reads strikingly similar to Michelle Obama’s:
“As I learned anew in crossing Antarctica, the only limit to achievement is the limit you place on your own dreams.“
Let’s read that Steger quote again: “As I learned anew in crossing Antarctica, the only limit to achievement is the limit you place on your own dreams.”
As stand-alone phrases — “work hard”; “treat people with respect”; “keep your promises” — these are really very generic. But in researching them as a combined sentiment, I came across the following excerpt from a 2001 obituary published in the Pennsylvania-basedTribune Review, in which a man wrote about his late father and the lessons he taught him:
“He [my father] taught me …. how to work hard, how to be respectful of others, how to play a guitar, how your word is your bond…”
Working hard, treating people with dignity and respect, and keeping your promises — or knowing that “your word is your bond” — are not groundbreaking concepts conjured up by Michelle Obama in 2008. Nor were they on Monday evening when Melania Trump made these same statements.
The values of honesty, hard work, and treating others as you’d like to be treated ring a lot more like the age-old “Golden Rule” combined with a little bit of the “Cowboy Code of Ethics” — the latter of which was adopted by many in the days of the Wild West.
“Work hard and be nice to people” is another way of putting all this, and it was also a slogan coined on posters by graphic artist Anthony Burrill in at least June of 2008 if not earlier — that is before Michelle Obama’s late-August DNC speech
Did Michelle Obama plagiarize Will Steger’s book?
Will Steger – 1989:
“The only limit to achievement is the limit you place on your own dreams.”
Michelle Obama – 2008:
“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams.”
And Melania Trump – 2016:
“The only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams.”
If Melania plagiarized Michelle, then Michelle plagiarized Steger.
The fact is, unless you make up an entirely new set of words that’ve never been used before, you are plagiarizing someone else’s words … #SimpsonsDidIt.
Having a few sentences that are commonly used in political speeches isn’t plagiarism. Lifting entire speeches, or portions of speeches, verbatim is plagiarism. You know, like Vice President Joe Biden does. I’m not surprised in a Wikipedia world that people are confused about what plagiarism is these days.
Let us also not forget that Hillary Clinton has a habit of accusing her political opponents of plagiarism. Remember when she accused Sen. Barack Obama of plagiarizing Deval Patrick?
Here’s Hillary taking Obama to task over plagiarism during a Democrat debate:
Not the last time Obama would be accused of plagiarism. Remember when he plagiarized George W. Bush in 2014?
But wait! There’s more!
Hillary Clinton herself has been caught plagiarizing.
During her victory speech after winning Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Arkansas, and Georgia on Super Tuesday, Ms. Clinton told supporters in Miami that “this country belongs to all of us, not just those at the top.” Aside from making no sense whatsoever—given Ms. Clinton is technically “the top,” as the Clintons’ combined net worth is estimated at over $100 million—her statement is a blatant ripoff of a line Mr. Sanders has used often throughout his presidential campaign.
This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class. That’s what this campaign is all about.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 10, 2015
Um … awkward.
There’s a lot more examples of Hillary Clinton plagiarizing Bernie Sanders in just this election cycle. Just go on social media and look up #StealTheBern.
Hillary Clinton has also been accused of plagiarizing Carly Fiorina speeches during this campaign.
So people ‘outraged’ by Melania’s ‘plagiarism’ aren’t outraged by President Obama’s plagiarism, Vice President Biden’s plagiarism, or Hillary Clinton’s plagiarism? Save your sanctimonious faux outrage for more than just a few commonly used lines in a 15 minute speech you disingenuous, intellectually dishonest amoebas.
Accusations of plagiarism is nothing new in politics. Anything you can do to discredit your opponent by assassinating their character is acceptable in American politics. In fact, wives of nominees usually take on a similar tone in their convention speeches. They all sound similar.
So how much does Melania Trump’s speech have in common with Michelle Obama’s?
I downloaded a side-by-side speech plagiarism comparison tool (Plagiarism Checker) to find out.
As you can see, the plagiarism detector shows that Melania’s speech is 92% unique from Michelle’s, and there’s ‘low plagiarism detected.’
I ran several political speeches through the tool compared to Michelle Obama’s, and routinely found 95% or so uniqueness. In other words, when you compare convention political speeches, it is routine to find similarly used phrases, but the speeches are still highly unique to one another. I have yet to find a 100% unique speech. Which means, literally everyone has ‘plagiarized’ someone in their speeches.
The most egregious example of plagiarism I found, however, comes from Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech. She blatantly plagiarized Laura Bush’s 2000 convention speech, and it’s undeniable!
Laura Bush – 2000:
“Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless America.”
Michelle Obama – 2008:
“Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”
Talk about word-for-word plagiarism! I’m outraged!