AP Faces Backlash for Blaming Conservatives in Harvard President’s Plagiarism Scandal
This week, Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned amidst a growing plagiarism scandal. Instead of reporting on the situation objectively, the Associated Press (AP) published an article that attempted to place the blame on conservatives, sparking outrage and mockery across social media platforms.
Claudine Gay announced her resignation following mounting allegations of plagiarism and criticism of her Congressional testimony regarding the handling of antisemitism. While many celebrated her resignation as a victory for academic integrity, the AP chose to portray it as proof that conservatives are using plagiarism as a weapon against higher education.
In their article, AP reporters Collin Binkley and Moriah Balingit claimed that “the downfall of Harvard’s president has elevated the threat of unearthing plagiarism, a cardinal sin in academia, as a possible new weapon in conservative attacks on higher education.” This assertion immediately drew criticism and backlash.
The plagiarism allegations against Gay did not come from her academic peers but rather from her political opponents, many of whom are conservatives. The AP article suggested that these conservatives sought to oust Gay by subjecting her career to intense scrutiny in the hopes of finding a fatal flaw.
However, this framing of the situation was met with skepticism and derision. Critics argued that plagiarism is a breach of rules for Harvard University, and Claudine Gay ultimately resigned due to multiple breaches of this policy. Labeling plagiarism or its exposure as a “weapon” was seen as a mischaracterization of the situation.
Some left-leaning individuals defended the AP’s article, suggesting that it was an attempt to uncover the truth. However, the majority of responses on social media were highly critical of the AP’s coverage.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro sarcastically commented on Twitter, “Harvard president’s resignation highlights new conservative weapon against the Left: [insert any objective standard here].” His remark highlighted the absurdity of blaming conservatives for exposing plagiarism.
Statistician and political writer Nate Silver added a touch of humor, saying, “Pretty worried about this new chronoweapon that can force you to go back as many as 27 years in time and commit plagiarism.” Silver’s comment emphasized the ludicrousness of the AP’s argument.
The allegations of plagiarism against Claudine Gay first came to light thanks to Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo. Rufo identified what he believed to be three instances of Gay plagiarizing in her dissertation, according to Harvard’s standards. Subsequently, nearly 50 allegations of plagiarism have surfaced, affecting eight of her 17 published works.
In the end, the Associated Press’s attempt to spin the plagiarism scandal as a conservative plot against higher education backfired. Instead of gaining sympathy or support, the AP faced widespread backlash and accusations of bias. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of fair and balanced reporting — and of why conservatives have such a deep distrust of the liberal media.