Boston Globe Under More Attack for Suspending Conservative Columnist

By David Thibault | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - The Boston Globe's suspension of conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby, which is effectively silencing Jacoby until after this year's presidential election, was thrust back into the news Friday when another columnist charged that one of Jacoby's replacements at the Globe is a plagiarist.

Jacoby was suspended in July for four months, without pay, for writing a column about the signers of the Declaration of Independence without attributing the source of some of the historical information he used in the column. At the time, the Globe stopped short of accusing Jacoby of plagiarism, but did blame him for what the newspaper called "serious journalistic misconduct."

Dozens of journalists immediately came to Jacoby's defense, charging the Globe with over-reacting to what the journalists considered a minor infraction, a failure to attribute information that had been in the public domain for more than a century.

Friday, Debbie Schlussel, a columnist for the Jewish World Review took the attack on the Globe one step further, using her column to accuse one of Jacoby's replacements, Cathy Young, of plagiarizing not once, but twice.

Schlussel wrote that Young's July 7th column in the Detroit News, entitled "Knowledge of the Past Matters in Free Society", "sounded eerily similar" to her own July 5th column, entitled "Dummies Across America," which focused on how little American college seniors know about American history.

Schlussel also accused Young of using a February 19th USA Today editorial entitled, "Public Loses as Lawyers Block Access to Cheap Legal Help" to write her own version for the Detroit News on March 1st entitled, "Case Shows How Bar Groups Defend Monopoly at All Costs."

According to Schlussel, Young's column "contained many similar statements and examples that were the result of [USA Today reporter Duane] Freese's own independent research compilation."

"Surprise, surprise," Schlussel wrote, "Young, once again, gives no credit or citations indicating where her information came from."

Schlussel also questioned the hiring of Jennifer Braceras, Jacoby's other replacement, whom Schlussel believes got her job because of her connections to Young and a "gushing, uncritical" review that Braceras wrote about Young's 1999 book, "Ceasefire."

Schlussel called the Globe's hiring of Braceras "one of the more brazen examples of opinion-writing incest I've seen."

Richard Gulla, spokesman for the Globe, told, "Certainly, we do not ascribe to her (Schlussel's) opinion, although she is entitled to it. We are very comfortable with Miss Young and Miss Braceras and look forward to their contributions throughout the election."

Gulla said Young and Braceras were not hired as full-time staffers to replace Jacoby, but instead were hired "to provide a diversity of voices" that had been missing at the Globe since Jacoby's suspension. Young and Braceras, who could not be reached for comment Friday, will each write a once-a-week column, beginning the week of September 3rd and continuing through Election Day.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Globe's Editorial Page Editor Renee Loth, called Young and Braceras "exciting new voices for the Globe's opinion page," and described them as "two women at the leading edge of American conservative thought" ... who would provide "fresh insights" to the Globe throughout the presidential campaign.

In her column Friday, Schlussel responded by writing, "If Young and Braceras are leading conservatives, so is Joe Lieberman. A more accurate description: They're at the center of moderation. In fact, Young usually expressly attacks conservatives ... so it's hard to see how she could be on the leading edge of it."

Schlussel added, "The Globe dislikes conservatives, especially Jacoby - and that's the real - and only reason he's gone."

As for the man in the middle, Jeff Jacoby told Friday he is "still waiting for signals from the Globe."

"My feeling is that the Globe should find a way to get me back sooner than later, in light of the fact that virtually everyone who has looked at this, at the whole situation, has concluded the Globe has committed a grave over-reaction," Jacoby said.

Jacoby said his punishment is the equivalent of "gjving twenty to life for not putting a quarter in the parking meter."

When asked whether Jacoby will be allowed to resume his conservative column when his suspension ends, the Globe's spokesman, Gulla, said, "that's up to Renee Loth. But right now, he's a columnist."