Prominent Left-wing Orthodox blogger DovBear has recently come under attack by an anonymous Right-wing Orthodox blogger calling himself DovWeasel, who has accused DovBear of “serial plagiarism” and denounced him as both a liar and a thief.
Last week, DovWeasel sent an e-mail to roughly 50 Orthodox bloggers pointing to his own blog, which cites 14 instances in which DovBear allegedly lifted text directly from online news sources and presented them as his own writing.
“It may be that DovBear is smart, witty and articulate,” wrote DovWeasel in a follow-up post Saturday, “but to the extent he gets this reputation from his blog it is a result of lying and stealing. It’s that simple.”
DovBear responded to the allegations by outright admitting he had made a mistake, but that his errors were not intentional:
I made a mistake, and I am sorry.
Bottom line: I blog all day long, and sometimes I get lazy in ways large and small. On occasion, thas included omitting to properly attribute sources. Now, DovWeasel has made my sins abundantly clear.
My plan is to carefully review my blog, and to provide proper attribution in every instance. I hope to do this in the coming days and weeks, but I am making my intentions known now, so I won’t be accused of destroying evidence.
Again, I apologize and make no excuses.
He goes on to point out that two out of the 14 instances had been mischaracterized by DovWeasel and could not justly be deemed plagiarism.
Since he first began publishing in October 2004, DovBear has written 3,626 posts (by Blogger.com’s count). Out of those 3,626, DovBear neglected (unintentionally, by his account, which I believe) to provide proper attribution on a grand total of 12 posts. That is .33% (ie., one-third of 1%) of his total entries over the course of two years. Of course, this is hardly anything to squawk about and says nothing whatsoever about DovBear’s credibility.
DovBear makes light of the situation, saying, “In the past, we’ve had a fine time pillorying all sorts of villians [sic] — some large, some small — in the comments of this blog. Now, I suppose it’s my turn. Fair is fair, after all.”
However, I find it rather telling that such self-appointed “guardians” of the Orthodox community are stooping this low to discredit those who present challenges to their world views. Rather than substantially countering the positions which DovBear presents, DovWeasel has sought (and failed rather miserably) to destroy DovBear’s reputation.
It is none too dissimilar — though certainly less threatening and damaging — from the attempts of other Orthodox bloggers and community leaders to destroy the credibility of Un-Orthodox Jew who, earlier this year, outed Rabbi Joel Kolko of Yeshiva Torah Temimah as a serial sexual abuser. Kolko was indicted for his insidious crimes only days after Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon of Agudas Yisroel decried UOJ as a liar who was motivated only by his hatred of G-d and Torah.
Rather than acknowledge that something is desperately wrong in the Orthodox world that needs both attention and fixing, individuals like DovWeasel and Matisyahu Salomon prefer to shoot the messenger.
B”H, DovBear dodged the bullet on this one.
From DovBear “One clarification: I can’t say that the passage lifting was unintentional. Some of those examples are over a year old, and I can’t say with any certainty what I was thinking when I wrote those posts. It could be that I stole intentionally; I can’t rule it out.”