EDITOR’S NOTE: Though I have yet to form an opinion about Dr. Ben Carson as a presidential contender, I have formed opinions — not positive ones, I might add — about members of the national news media trying to paint the potential presidential candidate as a plagiarist. That in mind, I share the guest piece below that I received this afternoon from the man whose work was allegedly plagiarized by the surgeon who burst onto the political scene almost two years ago as the keynote speaker at a prayer breakfast (see video below) attended by President Barack Obama.
By William J. “Bill” Federer, Guest Writer
I was dismayed when I read a BuzzFeed article Jan. 6 and saw how it attempted to use my words in a subtly-crafted attack on Dr. Ben Carson’s character by accusing him of plagiarism.
Since the article specifically mentioned me, I feel that it is incumbent that I respond.
I had the privilege of serving on the board of a university with Dr. Carson for several years. In the course of our visits, he mentioned that he was in the process of writing a book on America.
I told him about my books and suggested them to him.
I later was able to hand him copies as we shared a shuttle ride on campus to one of the committee meetings. I told him that I hoped he would find them interesting and that he had full permission to use any of the material in the books as he liked.
Dr. Carson, with the help of his wife and co-author Candy, corresponded with me numerous times via email and telephone, even forwarding me his manuscript to read, which I gladly did and gave my approval.
One of the books I gave him was specifically designed to be quoted was America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, with a subtitle, “Highlighting America’s Noble Heritage, Profound Quotes From Founding Fathers, Presidents, Statesmen, Scientists, Constitutions, Court Decisions…For Use In Speeches, Papers, Debates, Essays…”
Back cover wording encourages readers to quote the book:
“Easy To Use…Excellent Reference…For Use In: Journalism Articles, Civic and Campaign Addresses, High School and College Papers, Letters to Editors, Elected Officials…”
The book has, thankfully, been well-recieved, being quoted by thousands of authors, speakers, politicians, professors, radio and television hosts, judges in court decisions, speeches on the floor of Congress, etc. Through over a dozen reprints, the book gone through editorial improvements, such as the correction of typographical errata and improving source references.
To further facilitate users to quote from the book, on inside front page is: “Conditions of Use – Permission is granted to duplicate 10,000 words or less…provided acknowledgment is given…”
Dr. Carson has gone far beyond others in giving acknowledgment to my book in his America the Beautiful, such as:
CHAPTER 3: ARE WE A CHRISTIAN NATION OR NOT?, p. 50
“I am so grateful for people such as former congressional candidate William Federer, who has done extraordinary research to uncover documents revealing the true sentiments and beliefs of our founders.”
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, p. 197
I wish heartily to thank: Josh Sloan, Sealy Yates, Bob Hudson, Bill Federer, Scott Macdonald, Don Gates, and the entire team who worked tirelessly to get this book published.
NOTES, p. 200
Chapter 2: “Who Are We The People”?
8. William J. Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations (St. Louis, Amerisearch, 2000), 458.
9. Federer, America’s God and Country, 453
Chapter 3: Are We a Judeo-Christian Nation or Not?
2. Federer, America’s God and Country, 635
3. Federer, America’s God and Country, 654, National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamations, October 3, 1789.
8. Federer, America’s God and Country, 248-49.
9. Federer, America’s God and Country, George Washington, 634; John Adams, 4; Alexander Hamilton, 273; Daniel Webster, 668; Thomas Paine, 489; John Locke, 397; John Madison, 409.
Chapter 4: A Different School of Thought
6. Federer, America’s God and Country, 206 (source quote p. 746).
7. Federer, America’s God and Country, 680.
Chapter 7: What Is A Moral Nation?
4. Federer, America’s God and Country, 240.
With 16 acknowledgments and citations, it is obvious that Dr. Ben Carson made demonstrable effort to make proper attribution. Indeed, his overt acknowledgments have resulted in numerous individuals contacting me to purchase my book.
I feel misrepresented in the BuzzFeed article. Publishing errors, called errata, are not plagiarism. Any missing attributions were simply editor’s oversight. It is disingenuous for BuzzFeed to level the accusation of plagiarism against Dr. Carson.
To further illustrate the editor had simply overlooked errors, in one of the endnotes, instead of James Madison, the editor had left “John Madison.”
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is honored by a U.S. Federal holiday every third Monday in January, was accused of having plagiarized in his doctoral dissertation and speeches, in that he neglected to give proper attribution to his sources.
In my opinion, Dr. Carson has demonstrated sincere and honest attempts to give proper attribution to the source of my quote book.
Federer certainly knows a thing or two about publishing. To read a review of a book he wrote in the not-too-distant past, visit this link and scroll down to the paragraph just below his photo shown above.
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