Responding to mounting plagiarism charges, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) shed his contrite tone on Tuesday and instead criticized a pair of media outlets that have reported on his mistakes.
Paul told National Review’s Robert Costa that he’s been treated unfairly, saying the press coverge of the plagiarism “annoys the hell out of me.”
“I’m being criticized for not having proper attribution, and yet they are able to write stuff that if I were their journalism teacher in college, I would fail them,” Paul said.
The Kentucky senator made it clear which outlets would receive the failing grades, singling out MSNBC and the Associated Press for their coverage of his speech last month at Liberty University, which included several passages lifted verbatim from Wikipedia.
“After a thoughtful speech, where I made six or eight references to 1984, Gattaca, My Left Foot, Einstein, Ray Bradbury, and Michelangelo, I’m then criticized for taking a couple lines from Wikipedia and nobody reports on what the speech was even about,” Paul said. “At least I saw the movie Gattaca, I read the book 1984. They didn’t even read my damn speech.”
The interview marks a return to the defiance that typified Paul’s initial response to the plagiarism charges. Paul joked on Sunday that he wished he could duel with the “hacks and haters” calling him out for plagiarism.
But in an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Paul acknowledged that he and his staff could be more careful.
The Washington Times announced that it will end Paul’s weekly column after it was revealed that a piece by the senator contained two paragraphs copied verbatim from an article in The Week.
For his part, the author whose work was plagiarized wrote Wednesday that he was “flattered” by Paul’s actions.