The media won’t talk about the real issues, so they have to throw dirt any chance they get.

Last night at the opening night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Melania Trump, wife of Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump was slated to speak. A much-anticipated moment, many viewers would be gleaning their first glimpse of the potential future First Lady.

Detracting from the event before it even started, some expected Donald Trump to walk out and “steal the stage” in his unconventional move to appear before the acceptance of the nomination. But instead, he just walked out there, briefly introduced his wife, and left. So there goes that narrative.

Then Melania delivered a speech which excited all kinds of people, and showed that it’s pretty difficult to maintain an inhuman characterization of Donald Trump when his family speaks about him. She shared her immigration story, talked about her values, and spoke highly of her husband from a personal perspective. I saw several of my online friends make comments of how impressed they were, and almost all were saying “they need to have her speak more for the campaign.”

The Narrative must continue!

Well, we should know by now this is unacceptable sentiment. What’s a good way to counter that? Oh, I know, let’s get a plagiarism narrative going! She plagiarized her speech!!

So instead of talking about her speech, and what an amazing lineup there was last night, we’re all talking about a sentence or two in a fifteen minute speech. But, of course, the question you have to ask (because the media controls the narrative), is was the speech plagiarized?

It turns out, of the fifteen minute speech, about one paragraph is pretty similar to a Michelle Obama speech from 2008, and it is word-for-word in a few spots. So like clockwork, outlet after outlet has run with the story. I used Google to search for “Melania Trump speech” this morning, and on Page One these media sources all had the plagiarism headline: CNN, Politico, NBCNews, NYTimes, FOX News, USA Today, LA Times, Chicago Tribune.

But what is this paragraph about? Many have commented this is the sort of thing every parent tells their kids. I guess we were all plagiarizing Michelle Obama! The Washington Post listed the text of both speeches, but didn’t put them right up against each other. I recommend reading the article so you can evaluate it for yourself, but to emphasize my point I’m posting the paragraphs in question, and all the exact words that match, side-by-side.

side-by-side wording of melania trump's

Melania’s speech is on the left, Michelle Obama’s on the right. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look like it was stolen to me. It looks like something I’ve said plenty of times in my life, you work hard for what you want, you live by your word and treat people with respect. They’re our values, something we all share.

But beside that, there are some identical portions. However, this does not make it plagiarism, and I submit it’s dishonest to perpetuate that narrative. You can read up on plagiarism, and what it actually is and isn’t here.

In brief, here’s some general rules about what constitutes plagiarism. And since I’m quoting the source, The University of Wisconsin, this isn’t plagiarism, either:

Rule 1: If some particular wording is the best way to phrase an idea, or there are few other practical ways to phrase an idea, unattributed usage is not plagiarism.

Rule 2: If an author is openly credited and a passage clearly implies paraphrasing or restatement of the original author’s ideas, it is not plagiarism.

Rule 3: If writing uses wording or ideas that an author could reasonably have composed on her own, a charge of plagiarism is not justified.

Rule 2 clearly doesn’t apply here, but rules 1 and 3 sure do. What you saw last night by academic standards, or any reasonable standards not tainted by the media narrative, is not plagiarism. So stop spreading the lies.

What this drowns out, for better or worse, is everything else going on at the convention. It also drowns out the polls. Did you know Rule 40 that enraged so many grassroots Republicans in 2012 was reversed? Did you know another poll was released this morning showing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at even numbers?

Probably not, but that’s why I write.

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