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Wikipedia: McCain’s Newest Foreign Policy Advisor?

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Via Democracy Arsenal. CQ Politics’ Political Insider reports some glaring similarities between parts of Sen. John McCain’s statement to reporters earlier today on the conflict in Georgia and that country’s Wikipedia entry. From Political Insider:

First instance:

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{"type":"text","text":"   one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion (Wikipedia)  "}

vs.

one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion (McCain)

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/w/192/wikipedia-mccains-newest-foreign-policy-advisor/ by - on 2020-07-31T00:00:00.000Z

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. (Wikipedia)

vs.

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze’s ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country’s military and economic capabilities. (Wikipedia)

vs.

Following fraudulent parliamentary elections in 2003, a peaceful, democratic revolution took place, led by the U.S.-educated lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution changed things dramatically and, following his election, President Saakashvili embarked on a series of wide-ranging and successful reforms. (McCain)

Granted the third instance isn’t as close as the first two, which seem quite obviously taken from Wikipedia.

It should be noted that Wikipedia material can be freely used but always requires attribution under its terms of use. Whether a presidential candidate should base policy speeches on material from Wikipedia is another question entirely.

Let me address that last question. Given that Wikipedia’s founder discourages college students from citing Wikipedia as a source for their inconsequential term papers, we should probably expect someone who wants to become the leader of the free world to at least adhere to the same standard in formulating his foreign policy. After all, one of McCain’s senior foreign-policy advisers, Randy Scheunemann, was a lobbyist on behalf of the Georgian government as recently as March. Presumably, he knows a fair amount about the former Soviet republic’s recent history. Was it too much to ask him to bang something out?

Failing that, if you simply must plagiarize something, The New York Times yesterday published a comprehensive 4,000-word piece designed to bring the public up to speed on the events in the Caucusus. McCain’s writers could have simply paraphrased that. Of course, the McCain camp may be reluctant to cite such a liberal rag, despite the fact that McCain received the paper’s endorsement during the primaries. But at least it would have been a source that a minimally-competent student would feel comfortable footnoting.

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