Jack Kemp and Phyllis Schlafly–One Mind, or One Ghost Writer?

By Carl Zimmer | August 24, 2006 1:39 pm

Cut-and-paste creationism?

Yesterday I pointed readers to a column attacking evolution by Jack Kemp on the web site Town Hall. Today a sharp-eyed commenter pointed out that it is almost entirely identical to a column from Phyllis Schlafly from August 16 on the Eagle Forum. I don’t know if these pages are going to be pulled down or otherwise altered if word gets out, so here’s a screengrab of Kemp and of Schlafly. It looks pretty much word for word identical to me. You be the judge…

Update 2:50 pm: I wonder if Town Hall got its columnists jumbled. This page lists Kemp’s column and a piece by Schlafly right next to one another on Monday.

Update: 3:20 pm: What’s also funny is that several commenters on Town Hall have pointed out this eerie similarity as well, but apparently to no avail…

Update: 4:00 pm: Like a radioactive tracer flowing through the bloodstream, Kemp’s column spreads now to David Horowitz’s Frontpage. [Hat tip: Darwin Central blog.)

Update: 4:20 pm: MYSTERY SOLVED. “Chris,” who calls himself “Team Lead” at Town Hall informs us that:

FYI: This is not some conspiracy. Jack Kemp’s syndicators were substituting a column by Schafly because he is on vacation. Our system received the column by Schafly under Kemp’s name automatically, and the editor who marked the column live didn’t catch that it was a guest column.

Now the column appears under Schlafly’s name. Direct your critique of the column to her.

MORE ABOUT: Evolution

Comments (22)

  1. J-Dog

    More evidence about the Liars and The Lying Liars That Tell Them. Congrats to your reader that caught this!

  2. sharon

    pla gia rism 
    [pley-juh-riz-uhm, -jee-uh-riz-]

  3. J-Dog

    Further thoughts:

    If I were a news reporter, I would call both Kemp and Schlafly offices and ask how this occured? The options are that:

    1.) Schlafly plagerized Kemp.
    2.) Kemp plagarized Schlafly
    3.) They both lied when they put their name as authors on something that they did not write.
    4.) They are both idiots.
    5.) Points 3 & 4 are not mutually exclusive.

    Come on researchers! Come on reporters! Enquiring minds want to know! Personally, I am voting for 3 & 4.

  4. I’ve sent an email to Kemp’s Kemp Partners firm. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

  5. JuFuLu

    I believe that Carl Rove would call it “Staying on Message”?

    *snicker snicker*

  6. It looks to me that Town Hall mistakenly duplicated Kemp’s column on Schafly’s page. Schlafly’s archive list (http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/PhyllisSchlafly) does not include the evolution column.

  7. Schlafly’s column appeared earlier on the Eagle Forum, her own web site, under her own byline. She – or her ghost writer – appears to be the original author.

  8. Kemp and Schlafly “lying” together? Oooh, J-dog, I didn’t need that image in my brain, thank you! 😉

  9. What, you were expecting a high degree of moral rectitude from a woman who suggested we should start assassinating Supreme Court justices for being liberal?

  10. somnilista, FCD

    There is the innocent possibility that Schafly’s column was mistakenly attributed to Kemp; but if so, I would expect him to set the record straight loudly and soon.

  11. Oooh, ooh, I know what happened!

    You know the saying “Great minds think alike?” Well, Kemp and Schafly are so totally brilliant that their thoughts are in total accord.

    It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that their essays about evolution appear identical. Indeed, it should make us even more confident in their beliefs.

  12. Keanus

    How does this differ from the repetitiveness of the press releases from the DI? I’m amazed that Schlafly is still going. I can recall reading screeds from her back around 1960 when I was still in college. Interestingly, she hasn’t learned a thing in the ensuing 46 years.

  13. David

    I went to copy the text in both instances so I could use my Differences Examiner to see how they differed, but unfortunately both appear to be jpeg images?

  14. FYI: This is not some conspiracy. Jack Kemp’s syndicators were substituting a column by Schafly because he is on vacation. Our system received the column by Schafly under Kemp’s name automatically, and the editor who marked the column live didn’t catch that it was a guest column.

    Team Lead

  15. Better tip off David Horowitz, then! He’s still got it under Kemp’s byline.

    Of course, trash by any other name still smells as bad.

  16. J-Dog

    That was fun! Thanks to all that worked so hard to clear this up. As soon as I get that apology from Sclafly for writing such drivel, I’ll get right on to writing my apology to Jack Kemp.

    ps Kristine: Think happy thoughts!

  17. somnilista, FCD

    Keep us updated. When Kemp gets back from vacation, I want to know whether he disowns this piece of ****.

  18. SLC

    This is not supprising. The article sounding nothing like Jack Kemp who, for all his kooky ideas, does not go around bashing liberals, many of whom are friends of his.

  19. So, is there any chance — any chance at all — that Kemp is not in that camp? I would love to see him write his own column setting the record straight. Nothing wishy-washy. A solid statement for science education.

  20. Boyce Williams

    The bad news is this kind of magical thinking that evolution (a.k.a. Darwinism) is in decline, ego modern liberalism is a common tread in the thinking among the far-right.

  21. Sojourner of Truth

    So much for liberal tolerance, love, and peace. Hypocrites.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


See More

Collapse bottom bar