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ICYMI

We pissed off the Tecumseh newspaper…

10:19 AM EDT on October 21, 2014

cockroft plagiarism

The Josh Cockroft plagiarism scandal – sure, we'll be all legitimate and call it a scandal – is the gift that keeps on giving.

If you remember correctly, we told you a few weeks ago that State Rep Josh Cockroft plagiarized portions of a Heritage Foundation abstract for a blog post on his website. The following week, we learned that Cock's local newspaper – The Tecumseh Times – republished the same blog post as a newspaper op-ed.

Here's our write-up about fiasco. It included a few lazy zingers aimed towards the newspaper:

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...

After seeing [the column], 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.

Okay, that's not too bad. I made a few digs at the newspaper and then closed it with an absurdist idea where we have Josh Cockroft hire Ryan Tate to ghostwrite his future plagiarized blog posts and newspaper columns. It could have been meaner, right? Just ask Ryan Tate, who is currently writing a new book about blowing goats at the Lake Hefner Canal.

In response to our blog post, the Tecumseh Times editor / publisher Wayne Trotter (this sweet little old man) published an editorial in this week's paper praising us for our investigative journalism skills.

Via the Tecumseh Times:

Before we get too far into this editorial, we want to thank the website which calls itself The Lost Ogle for finding and revealing the remarkable similarities between a column written by Rep. Josh Cockroft and an article previously authored by Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. We published the Cockroft version of that opinion piece and we probably wouldn’t have known about this situation if The Lost Ogle hadn’t gotten on the case. We needed to know and we appreciate the website’s good work in uncovering and reporting on just how much alike those two columns are.

Why thank you, man who calls himself Wayne Trotter! We appreciate the kind, extremely gentle words. Hopefully our little shots at your paper didn't ruffle any feathers. There's no possible way you could have known Cockroft was that big of a weasel.

As a result of what The Lost Ogle reported, Gloria Trotter, co-publisher of The Countywide & Sun, contacted Rep. Cockroft and was given an explanation that appears elsewhere on this page. It is up to each individual reader to decide whether his explanation is acceptable. Our position is simply that we want work that appears under any writer’s name in our columns to be original. Period. That’s the way it always has been and as long as we’re running this newspaper, that’s the way it always will be. We’re confident people around here know that.

Yes, it's "up to each individual reader to decide" if Cockroft's inconceivable excuse is legitimate or not. Translation: The Tecumseh Times knows Cockroft is a liar, too! That's hysterical, but I understand why they can't just come out and say it.

Anyway, take a look at what other nice things Mr. Trotter and the Tecumseh Times has to say about us...

But, alas, The Lost Ogle doesn’t. After a curiously brief and unprofessional phone interview, someone from that organization called Gloria Trotter for comment. That person would later write only under the name “Patrick” that he “played the role of legitimate journalist.” He must have been playing because he failed to identify himself and we can assure you “legitimate journalists” always do that.

Nevertheless, he got his comment!!! Gloria Trotter identified herself and told him this newspaper was aware of the situation and was working with Cockroft! The caller didn’t ask any more questions, He thanked her and hung up, yet would write that “the person on the phone wouldn’t elaborate further” which is an outright misrepresentation!!! If he wanted elaboration or didn’t understand, he should have asked! Legitimate journalists do that too, you know!

Uhm, what the Hell? Mr. Trotter went from giving me a Werther's Original by the fireplace to yelling at me like Mr. Bumble in a soup kitchen. I thought we were being nice!

Before I explain my side of this infamous phone "interview," I should go over two things:

1. My real name is "Patrick."

2. I added the excessive exclamation points in the paragraph above for effect. I'm not a legitimate journalist so I can get away with that.

Now about that phone call. The thing happened so quickly that it was a blur, but it basically went like this...

"Tecumseh Times... How may I help you."

"Yes, I need to speak with the Editor or Publisher."

"One moment..."

Literally three seconds later, I was patched through to Mr. Trotter... but I had no clue who he was because I couldn't understand a damn word he was saying. I asked something along the lines of "Do you have a comment about the plagiarized Josh Cockroft column." He then put more marbles in his mouth, mumbled something about how I needed to speak to someone else, and placed me on hold.

A few moments later, some lady answered the line. She blurted out her name like she was trying to win a race. It kind of took me off guard. I was expecting a slow, cordial, Tecumseh "Hello" or a "Hi, how can I help you?" I totally forgot the Tecumseh Times was a bustling, fast-paced newspaper staffed with hurried, legitimate journalists.

Anyway, I said something like "Hi, I'm Patrick with The Lost Ogle and I'm calling about the plagiarized Josh Cockroft article in the newspaper and just wanted to see if you knew about it or had any comment on it."

She then responded with a very canned "We are aware of it and we’re working with Representative Cockroft on the issue." After a brief awkward silence, I was like "Okay, thanks for the time! Good bye."

In hindsight, I guess I could have asked some more follow-up questions, but the whole thing was awkward. I asked for her thoughts, she gave them to me, and I moved on. I wasn't going to be beg for more info. As Charles Barkley likes to say, "I'm not a role model or legitimate journalist.... and the Thunder take too many jump shots."

Okay, back to the entertaining editorial:

The upshot was that “Patrick” would later write that “thanks to the Ogle Mole Network, we’ve now learned that 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.” That’s a cheap shot no matter how you cut it.

Hmmmm. Maybe a “legitimate journalist” might also have learned that the name of this newspaper was changed to The Countywide & Sun back in 2008 and maybe a “legitimate journalist” would have asked a few more questions.

Holy shit, it's not the Tecumseh Times?! My bad. I'm sorry. I'll try to remember the new name the next time I write about plagiarized columns that appear in the paper. Also, if it makes them feel any better, my Dad still thinks the name of this website is The Last Ogle.

Or maybe The Lost Ogle is exactly what it says when it describes its content as “satirical in nature and may be considered crude, indifferent, irreverent, tacky, offensive, etc.”

We’ll take all of those and throw in “dead wrong” for good measure. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s the end of that. Get lost, Lost Ogle.

Imagine that. Maybe, just maybe, the site is exactly how it's described in the header that appears on every damn page of this website. Crazy, huh. That type of honesty is probably a new thing to some people in the journalism field. Unlike The Oklahoman which goes by the tagline "The State's Most Trusted News" or the Tecumseh Times Tecumseh Countywide News which describes itself as "Pottawatomie County’s leading source of non-plagiarized news and opinion," we like a little truth in our advertising.

Sorry, I was only joking around. That was another cheap shot. It was too easy. Hugs.

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