I had a nice telephone conversation with Sean-Paul Kelley on Saturday morning, as I was trying to figure out how to kill a copperhead in my backyard. I wanted to get a feel for where he was after the plagiarism issue hit the street. I left the conversation convinced that he realizes he did something stupid, but not criminally so. Frankly, I would have to agree. While a lot of us, Sean-Paul included, would love to be taken seriously as "real journalists", the reality is that these are weblogs we're talking about here. I'm not making money (yet), nor is Sean-Paul; it's a labor of love. While we all need to be certain that we properly credit sources, it does seem as if Sean-Paul's mistake has been blown out of proportion. He did something stupid, he admitted it; the man deserves a second chance. End of story; let's all move on, shall we?
I suppose it should be taken as a measure of Sean-Paul's success that someone with too much time on their hands has set up a weblog called Agonist Watch. It just goes to show that the farther up the food chain you go, the more people will be looking to pick you off.
Is this much ado about nothing? Or is it worth "Watching the effect of the plagiarism scandal on the blogosphere"? Frankly, I have better things to do with my time. I would never condone nor excuse plagiarism of the sort that Sean-Paul has admitted to, but neither do I believe that he should be condemned and cast aside. I keep trying to put myself in his shoes, and I know that if I'd made that mistake, I'd be hoping for a second chance. Sean-Paul deserves no less. He's got a lot to offer, and yes, he does deserve a second chance. Why don't we allow him to demonstrate that he has learned from his mistakes?
Perhaps now we can get back to worrying about things that really matter- like whether Donald Rumsfeld will get his wish to invade Syria.