Repeat Offender

Hot young political reporter Ruth Shalit’s writing has that familiar New Republic ring to it. In fact, it’s a little too familiar.

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The Washington, D.C., media recycles conventional political wisdom so regularly that sometimes it’s difficult to tell where it came from. But last year, The New Republic‘s 25-year-old political writer/enfant terrible Ruth Shalit proved an exception.

Shalit had a rough 1995. In addition to having a very public feud with the Washington Post, which claimed her New Republic cover-story attack on the newspaper’s affirmative action program was riddled with errors, Shalit also faced accusations that she lifted passages from other publications on three separate occasions. Oops! Make that four.

While fact-checking this issue’s profile of Sen. Bob Dole, Mother Jones researchers were struck with a sudden case of deja vu. In Shalit’s own story on Dole in the March 5, 1995 New York Times Magazine, she wrote:

“Like a British Tory rather than an American conservative, Dole distrusts visions and visionaries.”

Compare with this sentence, from an April 5, 1993 article in another national magazine:

“Like a British High Tory rather than an American conservative, Dole distrusts visions and visionaries.”

Shalit blames her own sloppy computer habits–accidentally splicing together published stories with her own notes–for the previous incidents.

Until now, The New Republic editors have gallantly supported their newest star reporter. But they might feel differently when they find out that the above passage first appeared in none other than The New Republic. The article was written by then-Senior Editor (and Shalit mentor) Fred Barnes, now the editor of the Weekly Standard.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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