Don’t Let Your Students Do This!

Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation.

This is “one of the best experts” [1] President elect Trump has picked. ’nuff said. Here’s one of many examples in the article.


Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that’s how you write a Ph.D. thesis…

(I must say, the first time I saw that you could cut-and-paste from a non-scanned PDF, I was appalled and alarmed…It’s why I ask for problem sets hand-written out.)

I await with bated breath announcement of the CEA Chair…

46 thoughts on “Don’t Let Your Students Do This!

  1. 2slugbaits

    Plagiarism aside, did her PhD thesis even have any original research? Or did she just follow Tricky Dick around like a lovestruck little puppy (named “Checkers”???) making note of every utterance made by the Great Man?

    This reminds me of the mini-scandal surrounding Sen. Phil Gramm’s PhD thesis, which was short (about a Master’s thesis in length) and devoid of any original research.

  2. Bruce Hall

    You bring up an interesting point, but leave it a little short. With today’s technology, it should be possible to scan ALL dissertations for possible plagiarism. This should be the final review before acceptance. In fact, this could be a major study that reviews all Ph.Ds for the past, say, quarter century.

  3. Steven Kopits

    We are seeing a number of weak candidates for the Trump administration in several different areas.

    I can’t say I was impressed with Sessions at the hearing. If you’re going to be a conservative, be a conservative and argue you’re corner. I didn’t think he stood up for his values particularly well, beyond creating the impression that he would say whatever it took to be approved.

  4. Tom

    As a Trump supporter with a Ph.D., that’s bad. Trump has to remove her from his administration. A quick google search shows she’s been accused of plagiarism multiple times. Despicable.

  5. rabin-karp-hash

    it should be possible to scan

    Doing a language search within the confines of consumer expectations (I want it now!) on something the size of a PhD thesis is difficult for many reasons. You can’t compete with the quick-and-dirty methods out there now.

    This blatant plagiarism scandal shall pass. If you take action on one, there are probably hundreds of others at the same institution. As many phony diplomas have been issued to pre-professional athletes, blatant PhD plagiarism is acceptable. You just have to know the right people.

  6. 2slugbaits

    And it’s just as bad that Crowley’s thesis adviser has declined to comment. What’s his story? Inattention to detail? This plagiarism thing is something that Comrade Trump must like in his women.

  7. baffling

    considering the plagiarism in the melania convention speech, i don’t think trump cares one bit about such issues. if the kremlin is not concerned with such plagiarism, then trump is not concerned as well. the siberian candidate only has one master to please, putin.

  8. Rick Stryker


    And your point is…what? Democrats have lowered the standard on plagiarism so much that it is hardly disqualifying. And plagiarism is irrelevant to Crowley’s job anyway.

    So Monica Crowley seems to have plagiarized some sections of her thesis? Democrats happily voted for a man who committed plagiarism in law school. No one took his degree away and Democrats voted for him for Vice President twice, putting this admitted plagiarist a heartbeat away from the Presidency. This same politician plagiarized a speech from Neil Kinnock, but Democrats did not think that disqualifying.

    So Monica Crowley lifted some passages for her book? Elizabeth Warren, also known as Fauxcohantas for her false claims of Cherokee ancestry contributed recipes to the book Pow Wow Chow: A Collection of Recipes from Families of the Five Civilized Tribes : Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole that she claimed were passed down to her by her Native American ancestors.

    Well, not exactly. For example, Warren’s recipe Crab With Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing is not Cherokee as she claimed, but actually French and lifted word for word from NY Times chef-columnist Pierre Franey. Do any Democrats say that Warren should not be allowed to serve in the US Senate because of her plagiarism or false claims about her ancestry? Of course not.

    And did Democrats say that Mary Burke was not qualified to run against Scott Walker and serve as governor of Wisconsin because she plagiarized her jobs plan? Of course not.

    Why then should conservatives hold themselves to a standard Democrats don’t? Besides, Monica Crowley is not being considered for Vice President, Senator, or Governor. She is taking a communications job for which her experience at Fox News amply qualifies her. Trump wants to bring the Fox News formula to the Whitehouse because it’s a winning formula: people like to listen to brainy, good looking, articulate spokespeople.

    The Democrats would do it too if they could. Unfortunately for them, as recent research shows, conservatives are better looking than liberals. If for some reason Crowley doesn’t work out, Trump has so many other brainy, articulate, good looking conservative spokespeople to choose from to help make America great again. But I bet he’ll stick with Crowley.

    1. baffling

      “And plagiarism is irrelevant to Crowley’s job anyway.”
      “She is taking a communications job for which her experience at Fox News amply qualifies her.”

      rick, i understand you are unable to get it. but for the record, i want a communications person, who must convey a message, to have integrity. a communications director whose academic credentials appear to be fraudulent does not really have much integrity. your other examples are irrelevant to the crowley situation, only a desperate attempt to distract from the issue at hand.

      but i digress. trump is not interested in the integrity of the academic achievements of those around him. melania’s faux college degree is such an example. we continue to lower the bar for the republican party.

      1. Rick Stryker

        So, you want Trump’s communication strategy hire, who just works for him at his discretion, and does not have to be confirmed by the Senate, to meet your standards of integrity, but you do not need your Vice President, Senator, or Governor to meet those standards?

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Rick Stryker: Mr. Trump said “the best experts”. I’m just taking him at his word…strange I should be pilloried for that. And for VP, Senator, Governor, well those are elected positions. (And do you have proof that Senator Warren is not somehow of Native American descent — an issue which seems unrelated to academic plagiarism –? While you’re at that, shouldn’t you be out there demanding verification that Mr. Trump was born in the US?)

          1. Rick Stryker

            “And do you have proof that Senator Warren is not somehow of Native American descent — an issue which seems unrelated to academic plagiarism –?”

            Yes, it has been established that Warren is not of Native American descent. Validating Cherokee heritage is relatively straightforward as there are good records and the rules are clear. Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes (who is registered with the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma), by examining 104 genealogical documents and 48 Cherokee documents, has done a full trace of Warren’s ancestors and none of them are Cherokee or American Indian. If you are interested, you can review the evidence here, here, here, here, and here.

            How is this issue related to academic plagiarism? It goes to dishonesty and violation of the rules. Warren knew full well that law schools were looking to diversify their faculties. Warren as well as Harvard and Penn have never properly answered the question whether Warren benefited from her faux Native American status and whether some other truly diverse candidate was passed over because of Warren. Moreover, both Universities touted her as a minority professor and reported her Native American status to the Federal government. However, a false federal filing is a crime under 18 U.S.C. Code 1001 punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to 5 years. Warren and these Universities have not addressed that issue either.

            Warren’s plagiarism may seem trivial, but it shows how little she knows and cares about the Cherokee. She copied the allegedly Cherokee recipe I linked to, a favorite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter, word for word from a recipe that was a specialty at the French restaurant Le Pavillon. Here’s what I find so telling. Warren’s alleged Cherokee ancestors would have lived in 19th century Oklahoma. Is Warren’s knowledge of Cherokee culture so shallow that she honestly thinks it’s plausible that these 19th century Native Americans are preparing dishes whose ingredients include “crab meat,” “imported mustard,” and “Worcestershire sauce?” Can’t she be troubled to fake it a little better? Perhaps this guilty knowledge of her own ignorance explains her unwillingness to be interviewed by the Native American press.

            Of course progressives don’t care about any of this. We are supposed to forget all about it, embrace the double standard of the Left, and reproach Monica Crowley. I don’t think so. If you want to talk about standards and ethics, your side can go first.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Rick Stryker: Give me a break. It has not been shown. What we have is an inability so far to document, see here. Kinda depends on where your null hypothesis is. For instance, I think there is much more evidence of collusion between the Trump election campaign/transition teams and Russian authorities than there is that she isn’t of native american descent.

            All I can say is that you have clearly verified by your sanguine view of academic plagiarism that you are not in academia (I’m not talking columns for newspaper, or platforms, or recipes, for goodness sake!), and I would be surprised if you ever received a Ph.D. from a Tier 1 research university.

        2. baffling

          rick, considering you already have taken the position that you do not care if trump lies or not, it is not surprising you would take the position that somebody who plagiarizes and holds a position related to national security is not a problem. you display an amazing amount of ethical gymnastics in your world view!

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            baffling: Personally, I think he’s able to do this because he’s in the employ of the Russian security services, and will say anything. But it’s just a guess, given he’s *very* careful about anonymizing his IP address.

          2. Rick Stryker

            You and other progressives took the position that you don’t care whether Hillary Clinton lies or not.

          3. baffling

            when confronted with his hypocrisy, rick stryker provides the equivalent of a seven year old saying “i know you are but what am i”.
            rick, since you are such a big trump fan, i will leave you with some words i learned from your almighty pres elect: loser

    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: Let me merely state that I am completely unsurprised by your views on this subject, given your previous statements regarding standards and ethics.

      1. Rick Stryker

        Given that you don’t post when Biden, Warren, or Burke does it, this isn’t about standards or ethics. This is just politics, plain and simple.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Rick Stryker: I don’t think I was blogging when the issue of VP Biden’s plagiarism came up (in fact I don’t think blogging was a word at that time). But as I previously noted, VP is an elected office; national security spokesperson is not.

          If it came out that any of the CEA Chairs under President Obama has plagiarized, and the news came out, I would mention it if it were germane to the issue of whether that CEA Chair was capable of providing reasonable advice. Do you have any evidence that any CEA members had plagiarized their papers?

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Rick Stryker: We are talking about academic plagiarism. Or at least I was; you tried to hijack the train, as per your usual M.O. I think as far as transgressions go, copying a recipe and a jobs platform are far less significant than lying about whether you discriminated against minorities in renting out apartments.

    3. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker There are venial sins and mortal sins. Warren’s claim of Cherokee ancestry may be true or not (personally I think she has Cherokee features), but there is no evidence she consciously lied. When your parents tell you that you are part Cherokee, then you are likely to believe it. And recipes get handed down verbatim across the generations. Who knows where the NY Times recipe came from? Biden’s plagiarism is more serious, but probably earns him no more than a second level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Crowley appears to be a repeat offender many times over. At some point quantity matters. But the worst offender is probably the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, who did something much worse than plagiarize while in law school; he changed the wording and misrepresented minority opinions as majority opinions in his moot court case. And he did that at least once while sitting on the Court. No one is perfect, but some are more imperfect than others.

  9. genauer

    There are plagiarism checkers out there in the market. Just google them.

    We had a defense minister and potential chancellor candidate, von und zu Guttenberg, tripping over that in Germany. He did not fall over the plagiat itself, but denying it, and the PhD was only stripped later. And a science minister, and a couple of congress men …. : – )

    Others were accused, like the present German Defense minister, von der Leyen, but found innocent.
    She had a couple of misquotations in the part, which described the state of the prior art, where it was clear that she did not attempt to pass that as her own work. But then a big part of her own, original work, high above the level of a typical medical PhD.

    It might be worthwhile to use such a checker on one of your own writings, to get an idea, to what degree parallels can happen by chance.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      genauer: Since I aim for incredibly boring but clear exposition in my academic papers (I am particularly proud of this paper), I doubt you’d find any parallels (except for other papers I have authored – I don’t claim every article I write I have rewritten the prose regarding whether to use dynamic OLS vs. Johansen maximum likelihood methods to identify a single cointegrating vector).

      1. Bruce Hall

        Well, I’ve taken several Apple patents and used them… but I did acknowledge the source, just not paid any royalties… so it is not illegal. 😉

  10. jack

    seriously, two or three examples can be interpreted as mistakes on quoting, her dissertation must have more than 100 pages, this is imaterial.
    some other examples are just plain ridiculous, they are not plagiarism at all. like you can’t use ‘were’ because somebody used it too.

  11. Rick Stryker


    In response to your comment: “Give me a break. It has not been shown. What we have is an inability so far to document, see here.”

    The Wapo article you cited did not mention any of the evidence I linked to nor did it rebut any of it. Thus, you can’t cite that article to assert that it has not been shown. The Wapo article merely claimed that there is no evidence to support Warren’s claim. That’s true–there isn’t any evidence. But there is also conclusive evidence against her claim that the WaPo article didn’t mention: the genealogical research shows that she does not have Cherokee ancestors.

    As is typical of these “fact-checking” articles put out by liberal media, the WaPo “article attempts to defend Warren by narrowing the claims so that they can pronounce the conservative–Scott Brown in this case–to be wrong. For example, on Scott Brown’s charges, the WaPo said:

    “We found no proof that she ever marked a form to tell the schools about her heritage, nor any public evidence that the universities knew about her lineage before hiring her.”

    Yes, there is no evidence of a form since Warren, Harvard, and Penn have consistently refused to release her employment records. But the WaPo article failed to mention that we do know that Warren listed herself as a minority law teacher in the Association of American Law Schools Directory, which was used at the time by schools to identify minority faculty. We also know that both Penn and Harvard both touted her as a Professor of color and reported her status to the Federal government. How could they have done that if she didn’t tell them of it?

    The WaPo article also omitted to tell its readers that:

    1) Warren has never shown any interest in anything Cherokee, other than her plagiarized recipes
    2) Warren has refused interviews with the Native American Press
    3) Warren has declined to identify herself as a Native American senator (very telling of her guilty knowledge)
    4) Warren’s basis for believing she is Cherokee has been shown to be false
    5) Warren could have taken a DNA test but didn’t

    On 5), in typical liberal-media “fact checking” obfuscation, the WaPo article implies that taking a DNA test is pointless, no doubt to absolve her for not taking one. But the fact is that a DNA test is necessary to confirm some Cherokee ancestry but not sufficient, since Cherokee rules require that there be enough ancestry to qualify. A DNA test could confirm whether Warren has any basis at all to claim any Cherokee ancestry. But she hasn’t taken one. Wonder why?

  12. Rick Stryker


    I have to comment on your statement that:

    “All I can say is that you have clearly verified by your sanguine view of academic plagiarism that you are not in academia (I’m not talking columns for newspaper, or platforms, or recipes, for goodness sake!), and I would be surprised if you ever received a Ph.D. from a Tier 1 research university.”

    I see: According to your view, since I have a an allegedly “sanguine” view of academic plagiarism, I likely don’t have a PhD from a Tier 1 research university. If I have a PhD at all, it’s probably from a Tier 2 or Tier 3 university, which are well-known for having a more relaxed attitude about academic plagiarism. I realize that insult was aimed at me but I’m afraid many of your readers are collateral damage, since many of them have PhDs from or teach at Universities that you don’t think are Tier 1. They are probably very interested in how you define Tier 1.

    One such ranking of PhD economics programs is contained in Ranking U.S. Economics Programs by Faculty and Graduate Publications: An Update Using 1994-2009 Data. According to the list, UCSD is ranked 18 and Wisconsin is 19. So, I’d assume that at least the first 20 on this list are “Tier 1” in your mind. The problem with that though is those rankings are over 2002-09. What if someone got his PhD from UCSD in 1993? It was ranked 29 then and the implication is that he might have a “sanguine” attitude towards academic plagiarism.

    So help me out. Where do you draw the line on Tier 1 schools? I need to know who I can trust.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: You are right, I shouldn’t have made a distinction. I don’t think you have a Ph.D. from either a tier 1, tier 2 or tier 3 research university, given your sanguine views on academic (as opposed to other) plagiarism.

      1. Rick Stryker


        You show your ignorance every time you attempt to say something substantive. We are talking about PhD economics programs, not universities that grant some PhDs. The University of Central Florida is listed as an R1 research university in the Carnegie rankings, but it doesn’t offer a PhD in economics.

        When you are judging the quality of PhD programs in specific disciplines, it’s generally best to look at objective research on the topic. That’s what I did in my comment. But there are other options. US News ranks PhD programs in economics. In their ranking, Wisconsin is 13 and UC San Diego is 15.

        1. baffling

          rick, there is no requirement that a tier 1 university offer a phd in economics. menzie was being pretty specific regarding tier 1. you failed to understand the implication. you showed your ignorance. period.

  13. Rick Stryker


    In response to your comment that

    “We are talking about academic plagiarism. Or at least I was; you tried to hijack the train, as per your usual M.O.”

    No I didn’t hijack the train. I merely pointed out the double standard that progressives expect conservatives to accept. I don’t accept the double standard. I’ll listen to your criticism of Crowley after you show that it’s principled (rather than politically-motivated) by criticizing your own side when they do the same or worse.

    Your “academic plagiarism” distinction is ludicrous. You say the Hatfields are murdering the McCoys. I point out that the McCoys also murder the Hatfields. You say that’s irrelevant since you are talking about murder by shotgun whereas I’m talking about murder by pistol.

    Ridiculous. Plagiarism is plagiarism. It’s you that have the “sanguine” attitude. You don’t seem to think plagiarism is bad unless it’s academic.

    1. baffling

      rick, your unwillingness to acknowledge conservatives faults unless it is accompanied by an equal statement towards liberals it laughable and unfortunate. it is absolutely not necessary to find an equivalent liberal flaw in order to discuss the faults of crowley. this is the thinking of a political hack.

  14. PQuincy

    The other problem with this PhD thesis — based on this short, admittedly selective snippet — is that it appears to have no actual content. One long rambling string of abstractions is all I see. But then, we historians tend to be rather old fashioned about wanting dissertations to be _about_ something. Probably explains our awkward neither-here-nor-there position where the literature and cultural studies people look down on us for lacking ‘theory’, and the social scientists look down on us for not testing hypotheses, and we scratch our heads and say, but the world’s not like that, either of you!

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