Once Thomas Chatterton Williams, a writer named after the tragic poet, sensed some plagiarism in this Daily Beast essay, he pressed on, and discovered gobs of it.

The author, Lizzie Crocker, lifted much of this Weekly Standard essay about outing people. She has resigned/been fired from the Daily Beast.

All that’s left is why. As you, dear reader, know, this blog has been attempting to answer that question for a long time.

Chatterton says it’s because, given the vast ideological divide between the rightwing Standard and leftwing Beast, Crocker figured no one would read both her piece and the one by the Standard writer, Alice B. Lloyd. But he then goes on to note the irony that the content of the piece (an analysis of the ethics of revealing anonymous sources) fits both places perfectly well… And indeed UD and Chatterton can’t be the only people in America who read both of those magazines…

No, UD proposes that this instance of plagiarism falls under her Ambition category (see her categories here). A little searching reveals Crocker to be a young and very ambitious writer; my guess is that she leads her life at breakneck speed, and that she speedily gobbled Lloyd’s writing, and that there’s a reason they call it breakneck.

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3 Responses to “The Quest of Chatterton”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    I think it is very likely that she cut & pasted a bunch of text with the intention of covering her tracks with the usual tricks of doing a bit of re-ordering, word substitution, etc., but–as you suggest–got way too busy and forgot. Scrutiny of her previous work will doubtless reveal more, although better camouflaged.

  2. dmf Says:


  3. theprofessor Says:


    Geez. Talk about a lazy plagiarist!

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