July 18, 2016
The Republican National Convention is just barely off the ground, and already there are accusations being made that Melania Trump has committed the act of "plagiarism." This accusation, according to the New York Times tonight, seems to stem from a self-proclaimed Obama supporter who was watching the convention.
The individual citing that Melania Trump plagiarized (or in other words, stole the speech Michelle Obama gave in 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama was running for President), Mr. Hill, 31, found the clip of Mrs. Obama’s speech online and noticed that parts of the two speeches sounded the same. He then realized that a larger portion appeared to have been borrowed as he continued to examine both.
Mr. Hill is on record stating essentially that Melania took portions of Michelle Obama's speech in 2008 and merely plugged in her own information. This in fact is not unheard of in politics, however, in comparing the speeches, they are nothing alike.
Our review of both the Melania Trump Speech and the Michelle Obama Speech (viewable by clicking the hyperlinks) showed that the two speeches had some similar overtones, and only a few words or phrases actually matched up at all. Michelle Obama's speech was also about twice as long as the one Melania Trump delivered on the RNC opening night.
Of even greater noteworthiness, was the tweet made by Mr. Hill prior to the "plagiarism" claim whereby he made a rather distasteful comment about Melania Trump and Donald Trump, implying that Mr. Trump is against "immigration" yet is married to.... well... Melania. One could interpret that comment in many ways, however, it points to the common narration of many in the Democratic Party race that Donald Trump is somehow against all immigrants, a statement that is not based on fact in any shape or form.
"There are, of course, certain things that do not need documentation or credit, including:
- Writing your own lived experiences, your own observations and insights, your own thoughts, and your own conclusions about a subject
- When you are writing up your own results obtained through lab or field experiments
- When you use your own artwork, digital photographs, video, audio, etc.
- When you are using "common knowledge," things like folklore, common sense observations, myths, urban legends, and historical events (but not historical documents)
- When you are using generally-accepted facts, e.g., pollution is bad for the environment, including facts that are accepted within particular discourse communities, e.g., in the field of composition studies, "writing is a process" is a generally-accepted fact.