Headline RoundupJanuary 3rd, 2024

AP Criticized After Deeming Plagiarism Accusations a 'New Conservative Weapon'

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Associated Press (Lean Left bias) altered an article that originally deemed plagiarism accusations to be a “new conservative weapon” after receiving criticism.

For Context: On Tuesday, Claudine Gay resigned from her position as president of Harvard University following controversies regarding anti-semitism on Harvard’s campus and accusations that she committed plagiarism in her scholarly works. The plagiarism accusations dominated news coverage following her resignation, with some left-rated outlets downplaying the accusations as politically motivated attacks on American academia.

Details: The original AP article published Wednesday stated that Gay’s resignation “elevated the threat of unearthing plagiarism, a cardinal sin in academia, as a possible new weapon in conservative attacks on higher education.” The article goes on to state that criticism toward Gay “came not from her academic peers but her political foes, led by conservatives who put her career under intense scrutiny.” AP's post of the article on X received a “community note” reading, “Plagiarism is a breach of rules for Harvard University. Claudine Gay was ultimately forced to resign for a series of breaches of this policy. Plagiarism - or application of the rules around plagiarism - therefore cannot be considered a ‘weapon.’” AP later altered the article, removing the “new conservative weapon” sentence.

How the Media Covered It: Criticism of the AP’s article was covered moderately in right-rated outlets. Few center- or left-rated outlets covered the story; Mediaite (Lean Left bias) was also critical of AP's report. Updated 7:46 pm ET to fix misspelling of Gay's name.

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