Advice to Rappler on Plagiarism Case: Bring Your Ethics


When the news of Tito Sotto’s plagiarism case (or cases) broke out, Rappler, together with the whole world, was very critical of the senator.

What they didn’t know at that time was that several months later, they would also be caught for the same mistake crime.


Rappler writer, Lean Santos blatantly plagiarized Ben Arnold de Vera’s Interakyon article, DEFINITELY MORE FUN IN PHILIPPINES | Foreign tourist arrivals breach 2-million mark at end-May.

To make matters worse, when De Vera brought his complaint in the “public space,” Santos, with Rappler editor Gemma Mendoza backing him up, persistently defended himself. He even pretended that he was present when De Vera and another reporter did the ambush interview.

When Santos thought he could get away with this, a simple Mathematical error lead us to the discovery of his crime. The rounded off 2.011 figure which was supposedly 2.012 was also copied by Santos in his plagiarized article.

See detailed story here.

This actually reminded me of my high school classmate who copied my Math homework number per number, symbol per symbol, that he actually ended up copying my pen erasures.

Really careless, Rappler. Really careless.

Footnote from the updated plagiarized article

Footnote from the updated plagiarized article

Seriously, does Rappler think that firing a single person would solve the problem? Why is it that Santos was the only one who got fired? Clearly, Mendoza has to share the blame – for failing to notice that the article  was plagiarized and for hastily defending Santos without doing any research first.

I don’t know if she’s being lazy or she just trusts her writer so much. Whatever the reason is, she failed as an editor.

And of course, Rappler, too, failed as a “social news network.” To think that this is not their first plagiarism case, perhaps Rappler writers and editors should go back to school.

Really, is it really that hard to give attribution to other people’s work? The last time I checked, it’s a lot easier than plagiarizing. But then again, if Rappler would continue attributing their stories to other sources, who would go to their site?

I guess it’s time for a more serious research and news hunting for Rappler. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your ethics. ;)

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