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Dissecting the Pitch: How the Gorsuch ‘Plagiarism’ Story Came to Light… Twice

Both BuzzFeed and Politico reported – minutes apart – that the Supreme Court nominee may have plagiarized a short passage in his book…

Neil Gorsuch Plagiarism Claims

At 9:54pm Tuesday, the night before Senate Republicans were expected to file for cloture on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, BuzzFeed News published a story accusing the candidate of what “appears to be” plagiarism.

About an hour later, at 11:19pm, Politico published a strikingly similar story replete with matching examples of “plagiarism.”

And while other outlets have noted that the passages in question are 200 words in a 137,000-word book, going so far as to call the story “weak,” it’s interesting to note how these stories came to be.

According to sources, Politico reporters – armed with opposition research – began questioning White House officials about Gorsuch’s written work on Monday. When Tuesday rolled around, sources say an inquiry came in from a BuzzFeed reporter.

Clearly growing impatient with the speed at which the Politico team was working with Monday’s pitch bleeding into Tuesday, the opposition research team that dug up these thin claims about the judge tried another outlet with a history of willingness to publish unsubstantiated claims.

That resulted in two outlets publishing largely the same story at roughly the same time – a move neither outlets’ editors likely appreciated.

The desperation is telling. The 11th hour attack on the character of a well respected and well qualified judge reveals the pickle in which Democrats find themselves. Last month, The Huffington Post released a poll showing that by a 17-point margin, Americans want Gorsuch confirmed to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court.