HarperCollins, the publisher of Monica Crowley's "What the (Bleep) Just Happened," announced that sales of her book would be suspended in light of recent plagiarism allegations.
Dr. Crowley is President-elect Donald Trump's pick for senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. The conservative television personality and author has faced accusations of plagiarism before, but the latest allegations come at a particularly bad time for Crowley as she prepares for her new role in the Trump administration.
So far, the Trump transition team seems to be willing to defend Crowley, but political careers have been ruined by plagiarism accusations before. HarperCollins has given the author an opportunity to revise and cite sources in her book before returning it to the shelves, but it remains to be seen whether she will be given a similar second chance on the political stage.
On Saturday, CNN's KFile, an investigative reporting team, published a story detailing a number of passages that appeared to be plagiarism in "What the (Bleep) Just Happened," Crowley's 2012 book criticizing President Barack Obama's first term in office. The team found more than 50 examples that included unsourced copying and paraphrasing from sources ranging from political think tanks to Wikipedia.
"The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material," HarperCollins said in a statement to CNN's KFile on Tuesday.
These plagiarism accusations would be bad enough for anyone attempting to get a position at the White House, but on Monday, another report, this one published by Politico Magazine, accused Crowley of plagiarizing portions of her doctoral dissertation, "Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy: The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China Under Truman and Nixon." If Crowley's dissertation was plagiarized, she could potentially lose her PhD from Columbia University.
But a spokesman for the Trump transition team indicated support for Crowley, characterizing the plagiarism accusations in "What the (Bleep) Just Happened?" as nothing more than a smear campaign.
"Monica's exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration," a statement from Trump transition spokesperson said. "HarperCollins – one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world – published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country."
Crowley previously faced plagiarism accusations for a 1998 Wall Street Journal article about the Clintons.
As Ben Rosen reported for The Christian Science Monitor, accusations of plagiarism have been known to kill political careers, but others have bounced back from similar scandals, including the current vice president:
While the Trump team said Crowley would remain a part of the administration, other plagiarism scandals have ended differently for different political figures. One of the most famous in recent history involved Vice President Joe Biden. In his 1987 bid for president, then-Sen. Biden was accused of lifting the "phrases, gestures, and Welsh syntax" from a commercial by British Labour Party member Neil Kinnock just four months prior. The allegations ended Biden’s campaign. He withdrew from the race after the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd showed the similarities between the commercial and Biden’s closing speech at the Iowa State Fair.
With Crowley under increased scrutiny, it is still possible she could be removed from the Trump team, though the statement from the Trump team would seem to indicate otherwise. Another point in favor of Crowley's keeping her White House position is the Trump response to the most famous plagiarism scandal associated with the campaign, when Melania Trump gave a speech to the Republican National Convention in July of last year which contained portions lifted from an address given by Michelle Obama. Ms. Trump's speechwriter, Meredith McIver, apologized for what she called a "mistake" and offered to resign.
According to Ms. McIver, the Trump family chose to reject her resignation.