Monday, January 10, 2005

It's getting easier to spot these things

You know, it really doesn't bother me that the Democrats are making a concerted effort to take over the "Letters to the Editor" section of every newspaper in the country. I've seen plenty of letter-writing campaigns before, and every one of them warns participants to write their own letter and not to copy the sample. And many ignore that advice. What surprises me is that newspapers are falling for it.

I saw it in the Wall Street Journal, and at Boortz' Nealz Nuze. Considering the sources, I was prepared to believe the phenomenon wasn't as widespread as they made it sound. So I conducted an experiment, which I encourage you to duplicate. Do a Google search for the first few words of the letter: "President Bush is endangering my retirement and the retirements of millions..." (No need to go beyond that: Google limits its search queries to ten words.)

The WSJ reports five nearly-identically-worded letters. I get seventeen, although the further you read, the more they begin to paraphrase. Nobody bothers to change that first sentence, though. (But then, my sample is skewed: That's what I searched for.) And that's only the papers whose letter columns are web-searchable.

Here's someone who claims to have actually written the letter, and of course I've no reason to doubt it--other than those other sixteen results. (Scroll down to the fourth post, from "LNAB".)

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