It looks like the world wide web isn’t the only place where Oklahoma State Rep Josh Cockroft likes to showcase his plagiarism skills.
Last Thursday, we told you that arts-hating, Batman suit-wearing, Derplahoman State Representative Josh Cockroft blatantly plagiarized excerpts of a 2013 Heritage Foundation article for an anti-gay marriage blog post that he wrote for his website.
Thanks to the Ogle Mole Network, we’ve now learned the same piece was also published in the print edition of the Tecumseh Countywide News, which is apparently Pottawatomie County’s leading source of plagiarized news and opinion.
Here’s a clip of the article:
After seeing that, I played the role of legitimate journalist and called the Tecumseh Countywide News for comment. Here’s what a spokesperson said:
We are aware of it and we’re working with Representative Cockroft on the issue.
The person on the phone wouldn’t elaborate any further, so we don’t know what type of work they’re going to do with Cockroft. Maybe they’ll help him uncover more obscure abstracts and columns to plagiarize, or perhaps get a Tate Publishing ghostwriter from the Philippine’s to handle his future writing duties. Better yet, they could also go with one of those clickbait content farms that are all over the web. If Cockroft’s next blog post is about the “8 Most Dangerous Towns In HD27” or a round-up of “12 Cat GIFS That Will Make You Want To Eliminate Public Arts Funding,” you’ll know something is up.
The fact that a newspaper also published Cockroft’s column makes the State Rep look like an even bigger tool and liar. Not too long after we reported the plagiarism on his website, he replaced the post with a revised version and included this ridiculous, hard-to-buy excuse:
After being made aware I had posted an errant column, I have removed it and replaced it with the correct version. The previous version was never meant to be published, but was for my records alone, were personal notes for an upcoming speech, and were published through an honest mistake. That version had many direct quotes without proper credit given to the author. I have fixed the problem and promise to be more aware in the future.
Yes, even though the piece read like a column, looked like a column, and was formatted like a column, it was actually just a collection of “personal notes for an upcoming speech.” They were for his “records alone.” It was an “errant column” and “was never meant to be published.” I guess that’s good to know. Also, if you believe it, then I have some beachfront property in Tecumseh that I’d like to sell you.
After reading his excuse and apology, I think it’s pretty safe to say that State Rep Josh Cockroft is either:
A) a lying piece of shit and fraud who’s trying to lie his way out of a jam, or
B) a world-class idiot.
Call me a grown man who dresses up like Batman, but I’m going to give Josh some credit and go the fraud route on this one. I just can’t believe he’s stupid enough to mistake his plagiarized “personal notes” for a ready-for-publication column, and then copy and paste those “notes” directly into a blogging WYSIWYG text editor, give those “notes” a headline, upload, set and scale an appropriate picture to go with them, review the post one last time for the errors, hit the publish button, share it on social media, email it to the local newspaper, and then let it sit online for an entire day without realizing he published the wrong damn thing. As an absent-minded blogger who’s has published nearly 3,000 posts over the years, it’s virtually impossible to do. If you are dumb enough to do it, there’s no way you should be representing the people of Oklahoma.
Sadly, though, Cockroft will remain in the House of Representatives because he’s running unopposed in the upcoming election. That means we’ll either have a plagiarist or idiot helping create and craft our laws. At least he’ll fit in with the rest of our lawmakers. Comforting, huh?
Cockroft has issued a more specific, and equally-believable, explanation as to how his plagiarism gaffe happened. He’s going with the old “I had too many tabs open” excuse.
Errant Weekly Column
“As someone once said, modern technology is a great thing – until you try to use it. Human error has a way of undermining years of technological advances. That was certainly the case when I recently submitted my legislative column to area newspapers.
At the time, I was working at home on both my column and an upcoming speech focused on traditional marriage. While preparing for that speech, I pulled an article by Ryan T. Anderson from the Heritage Foundation and placed it in my notes for future reference. I planned to include some of that material in the speech (with attribution).
Unfortunately, I had two files open on my computer at the same time: the file for my weekly column and the file for my speech notes. At some point, I accidently copied the speech notes file and submitted it as my weekly column by mistake. Thus, Mr. Anderson’s work was wrongly presented as my own.
It was never my intention to take credit for another person’s work, but that is what I did, albeit accidently. I apologize to Mr. Anderson, the papers that received the column, and the people of House District 27. I failed to double-check my work, and my haste created a situation that embarrasses me deeply.
With sincerest regrets,”
Rep. Josh Cockroft
Here’s a screenshot of the plagiarized post. Once again, remember that this isn’t a column that was intended for publication. It’s just a personal collection of notes.