Plagiarism? Let us hope not.
To be the victim of conscious plagiarism -- someone dishonestly endeavoring to obtain credit for another's writing -- is in some sense flattering. However, having long studied the Internet, I doubt that such an effort was deliberate.
Many people don't know basic HTML. They won't take the time to learn how to embed a link or properly configure a blockquote. They don't understand "fair use," or the importance of attribution and so they engage in what might be called accidental plagiarism.
This is not the first time I've been victimized in this way. When I was at The Washington Times, I'd write some article that some anonymous person would want to share it with their friends via e-mail. So, failing to copy the byline, include the URL or name the source, they'd e-mail the text of the article to their personal spam list.
The recipients of these e-mails might then post the article to an online forum, and it would be copied -- sometimes with minor revisions or additions -- from one discussion board to another, and these bowdlerized versions would in turn be e-mailed around to others, etc.
In most cases, these "plagiarisms" are unintentional, the result of people who don't understand "the rules of the road" in terms of proper sourcing, attribution, etc. One learns to shrug at such things, except when they result -- as they sometimes do -- in the spreading of misinformation, caused by people making their own (false or distorting) additions to the original (factually accurate) work.
Nevertheless, I appreciate "Geisha Girl" taking the time to investigate this, and properly attribute whatever it was that happened at the WRAL.com site.
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