sorry fawn doesn't figure into this one

Ollie North Is A Plagiarist In Addition To The Other Kinds Of Scumbag He Is

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I don't recall who wrote thatBeloved I Love The ’80s star Oliver North benefits from America’s notorious generosity towards convicted felons, having found himself a profitable niche giving lectures and appearing on Fox News and writing weepy syndicated columns about military heroism, despite that one time when he sort of kinda sold weapons to America’s enemies and funneled the profits to guerrilla thugs. But has finally gone too far this time and committed the ultimate sin in polite society — plagiarism? Is this the end of Oliver North? Ha ha, no, don’t worry, he’s found a convenient Medal of Honor winner to blame this one on.

Let’s count the layers of ways that Ollie North almost certainly does not write his own column! First of all, being one of these high-profile columnists is a pretty cushy gig, and, while we can’t say this is true for sure, let’s just say that it is true for pretty sure that, like everyone else in his position, North has “researchers” mostly put his column together for him, every week. Then, for this last Memorial Day, Ollie gave his researchers some “time off” by having them use a large and inspiring chunk of text about the bonds between soldiers that one of his veteran friends, Medal of Honor winner Sammy L. Davis emailed to him (with proper attribution to said friend).

Except, whoops! It turns out that the friend was himself blockquoting something else, a book called These Good Men: Friendships Forged in War, and Michael Norman, the author of the book, is a little bit tetchy about it. Norman is himself a Vietnam vet, though he somehow emerged from that experience as an NYU journalism professor (sounds liberal!) rather than a felon who profits from the conservative media/think tank reacharound circuit.

Despite the sensationalist headline on this post, North is probably not actually responsible for all this, though maybe he (or his paid staff) should have asked some questions before just cut-and-pasting longish passages from emails from someone who isn’t a professional journalist. The cool way to respond would be append a note to the original column taking responsibility for the miscommunication with Davis and crediting Norman properly. The not-cool way to respond would be to scrub the article of the quote (though you can still see the cached version!) and append a snotty note that Ollie had originally included plagiarized material “through no fault of his own,” which is what he did, because even if he’s not a plagiarist he’s still a dick. [WP via Romenesko]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger


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  • nounverb911

    Didn't he play the lead waif in "Oliver Twist"?

    • TribecaMike

      He was also Falstaff's fuckbuddy Doll Tearsheet in a production of "Henry IV, Part 2." Falstaff was played by Chuck Colson.

  • Chill_Bill

    Wasn't this guy a pornstar?

    • actor212

      I think you're confusing him with Oliver Pantiesov

    • OneYieldRegular

      Possibly not, but he still projects about the same level of dignity as John Wayne Bobbitt.

      • actor212

        With less of the p-ness.

    • Chichikovovich

      That was his brother Peter.

    • Estproph

      No, he's just the dick.

    • OneDollarJuana

      In the sense of being an asshole-licking, mother-fucking cocksucker, yes.

  • timbo71351

    Fuck Ollie North. He's one of those dudes you would ask for an autograph, just to rip up the piece of paper right in front of him.

    • iburl

      I got his autograph on a sticker that was meant to go in his book, but I put it in my Drug War trading cards set box.

      • Generation[redacted]

        A piece of rocket casing signed by both Ollie North and the Ayatollah would be a real collectors item, what with all the Reagan nostalgia going on.

  • smashedinhat

    Jesus Christ, where did this fucktard come back from? This is as bad as finding that years old shopping bag full of undone laundry under the couch.

    • James Michael Curley

      I thought Ollie hid the undone laundry in Fawn Hall's bra?

    • CthuNHu

      That reminds me…

  • didgen

    The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits. Thank you anonymous .

    • rickmaci

      Would it be plagiarism to use somewhat different words but say the same thing? "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

      North needs to hire a good editor. That's what editors do, catch this kind of thing so the author doesn't look venal or stupid or both. Of course in the case of the Lietenant Colonel that may be a tad hard to do.

      • Fairtackle

        Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
        Frank Zappa

  • actor212

    I swear, baby, it wasn't me! The column meant nothing to me, and besides, the bitch came on to me!

  • mavenmaven

    So this is what Sarah Palin will look like in 20 years?

    • elgin_pelican

      Henry Rollins minus 30 pounds and 50 IQ points.

  • scvirginia

    I lived in my namesake state long enough to vote against Ollie when he ran for the Senate in '94. I knew some people there who re-thought their association with VA's GOP during his campaign.

    • sewollef

      A more vile, cocksucking, lowlife than Oliver North would be hard to find in this country. How he's stayed out of jail is beyond me.

      If ALL he'd done was plagiarize someone's work, he'd get sued, forced to retract or something and it'd be forgotten in a matter of weeks. But no, not this fucker…. he turns up like the shit scum on the bottom of your shoes and manages to get work.

      Justice has not been served for this excuse for a man.

  • memzilla

    "ExtremismPlagiarism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

  • MissTaken

    This makes me think of what my grand-pappy once wrote, that, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

    Wait, what? My grandpa didn't write that?? I must now delete this comment since it was posted through no fault of my own.

    • actor212

      Oh, he may have written it. Lincoln was a notorious plagiarist, being a lie-brul and all that.

      • MosesInvests

        Fox "News: Abraham Lincoln (D)

  • Fairtackle

    The kind of American hero Sarah Palin could be if she really applied herself.

  • RedneckMuslin

    Was Sammy Davis, Jr his son, man?

    • Oblios_Cap

      Didn't Jr. lose his eye in Vietnam? I heard he poked it out with a straw drinking in the EM Club.

      • actor212

        No, you're thinking of Max Cleland who lost both legs and half of an arm protecting the beer cooler from Cong attack.

        • Oblios_Cap

          No wonder Saxby Chambliss dissed him in that election!

          With a name like Saxby, you know it's got to be an asshole.

  • Andrew Drinker

    So this means he's going to try to run for political office again? Maybe he'll fare better than David Duke this time.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Oliver North? That's no Marine.

    "Why don't I bend you over the table there and nail ya in the keister… send you home with that "I just pumped the neighbor's cat" look on your face."

    Gunny Highway? That's a Marine!

    • vodkamuppet

      OT: my avatar is showing up as your avatar on my mobil, am I the only one seeing this?

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Let me have a look at your mobile…

        • vodkamuppet

          Dick. I……..should have expected snark from a fellow wonkette. Wait! Are you Tyler Durden?

          • BaldarTFlagass

            You have to expect these little weird things on Wonkette, sometimes other people's email addresses show up at the bottom of the page, sometimes the comments show up in some old-fashioned format and everyone has weird looking line-drawing monsters for avatars. It's just a glitch in the Matrix, nothing to get worried about. Unless Hugo Weaving shows up in your office.

  • SorosBot

    The conservatives do love people who commit treason, don't they?

    • MissTaken

      Ollie's was the good kind of treason, unlike Jane Fonda's.

      • SorosBot

        And the war of treason in defense of slavery was justified, because they hate black people.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      and who do so by negotiating with Muslim terrorists.

      • MosesInvests

        "Negotiating"?! SELLING ARMS to Muslim terrorists!

        • Wile E. Quixote

          Hey, negotiations were involved. Ollie negotiated a nice dinner and a bottle of wine before letting the Iranians have their way with him, he didn't just put out right away you know.

    • Wonkette, Refudiated

      Treason in the defense of liberty is no vice!

  • freakishlywrong

    They just keep recycling. It's a wingnut event horizon.

    • MissTaken

      For fuck's sake, how long until they finally fall into the black hole and leave us alone?

      • actor212

        Time stops at the event horizon…

      • SayItWithWookies

        They keep coming back because no respectable black hole will take them.

      • SorosBot

        Now you've given me the mental image of Rush Limbaugh undergoing spaghettification, and that makes me smile.

      • Opportunisticly_Joe

        They won't, because with the black hole means that they'll stand their ground.

  • littlebigdaddy

    Another fine mess you've gotten us into!

    • Tundra Grifter

      WIN !1!

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Your move, Chuck Norris.

    • tihond

      Chuck Norris doesn't plagiarize. He punches computers until they plagiarize for him.

      • sewollef

        I thought that was Steven Seagall's job…. but looking fat while doing it?

  • Callyson

    Unsurprisingly, Oliver North has the gall to go after Obama for not being sufficiently hawkish on Iran. I never go to FOX News' website, but I made an exception for this crap:

    Still shocked and surprised by Iran?

    For those who just can't, North has the audacity to give a quick historical tour of post – 1979 Iran, while (curiously enough) completely omitting that unpleasant Iran – Contra misunderstanding.


  • memzilla

    Actually, Ollie can terminate the accusations with extreme prejudice, thanks to Stand Your (Virtual) Ground.

  • Joey_Blau

    bah! next you'll tell me that Elliot Abrams is a pedophile!!

    ho-hum what else is new?

    • Angry_Marmot

      No one can prove that he isn't.

      • Joey_Blau

        duh! everyone already knows he is!

  • Fox n Fiends

    he's a brullah from anullah mullah

  • JustPixelz

    This reminds me of how Mitt Romney — through no fault of his own — plagiarized Obama's health care reform while governor of Massachusetts (sounds liberal) back in the aughts.

    Or of how — through no fault of his own — he has copied all of George Dubya Bush's policies into his platform.

    Also how — through no fault of his own — all those people got laid off while he was at Bain.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Oliver North thought plagiarizing Michael Norman was a neat idea then, and he still thinks it's a neat idea now.

  • randcoolcatdaddy

    Oh … he just deleted the plagiarized material and left a snitty note?

    Shredding evidence is so much easier on the Internet than in pesky government offices with actual paper…

    • Tundra Grifter

      Unless you have a hot sexratery in thigh-high boots to smuggle the papers out of the office for you.

  • boobookitteh

    Still trying to shred the evidence after all these years.

    Can't shred the interwebs, moron!

  • anniegetyerfun

    Convicted WHITE felons, duh.

  • Goonemeritus

    No problem I have been outsourcing my snark to a South Korean snark mill for years. It’s a global economy people, wakeup and smell the coffee!

    • Wile E. Quixote

      South Korean snark mills are people too, you know.

    • deanbooth

      Wake up and smell the 커피!!

  • Oblios_Cap

    even if he’s not a plagiarist he’s still a dick.

    Truer words were never spoken.

  • TootsStansbury

    When the above picture appeared in the Post; Mr. Stansbury cut it out, decorated it with a cute little square mustache and hung it up on the bulletin board in the break-room at work. Work being a Beltway Bandit type of place. Hilarity did not ensue.

    • Blueb4sunrise

      Let it now ensue!!!

    • Tundra Grifter

      Looking again at that photo – was Ollie still a Marine when he wore that uniform with every ribbon he could dig out?

    • Wile E. Quixote

      That Mr. Stansbury sounds like a cool dude. Too bad he was stuck in a job working with a passel of dicks.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Well, I steal people's funny comments here all the time, so I guess I can't really cast the first stone at Oliver.

    • sewollef

      But did you supply guns to drug dealers and killers also, too?

      Then. Then, you wouldn't, or couldn't cast the first stone's throw.

    • Pop_Socket

      Well, I steal people's funny comments here all the time, so I guess I can't really cast the first stone at Oliver.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      You know who else stole people's funny comments all the time?

    • Dashboard Buddha


  • Baconzgood

    It was the best of snarks, it was the worst of snarks.


    • BaldarTFlagass

      I only regret that I have but one snark to lose for my country.

      —BT Flagass

      • Baconzgood

        Call me Baconz. Some months ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on the interwebz, I thought I would surf about a little and see the wonkettey part of the net.

        • MosesInvests

          In a hole in the Internet lived a Wonket.

          • James Michael Curley

            Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms, an oozy smell and a Republican.

        • MoeDeLawn

          A whale of a tale.

  • MissTaken

    Methinks Ollie is auditioning for Secy of Defense in the Romney administration.

  • Tundra Grifter

    Sheer InSannity ran those "Freedom Concerts" for Ollie North's foundation. No audited financials, of course. Personally, I've looked at the editorial material on that website and I'm astonished it has been able to keep its tax-exempt status.

    I've looked at their financials, and they waste a lot of money (in my opinion) and spend remarkably little on their stated goals. Skip the annual dinner and give scholarships, is my advice.

    Here are two excellent articles on Col. North:

    Finally – listen to Bob Schieffer's "Face the Nation" interview with Ollie. It ran before the Super Bowl when poor Ollie was a political candidate. Schieffer had done his homework and knew every canned answer North had ready. He listened and then followed up.


    • Wile E. Quixote

      Those "Freedom Concerts" are so corrupt that even Debbie Schlussel took issue with them. Debbie Fucking Schlussel for Christ's sake.

  • Chichikovovich

    despite that one time when he sort of kinda sold weapons to America’s enemies and funneled the profits to guerrilla thugs.

    Ah, but there was so much more to this spectacular fraud. For example, when it was pointed out during the Iran-Contra hearings that he improperly used government money to install an expensive, elaborate home security system in Casa Norte, he slimed out a response that stands as the single most significant test of my gag response to date: [Bluff, hearty Ollie voice]: I'm perfectly happy to go mano – a – mano with Abu Nidal anytime, but [softens voice] I couldn't ask that of [catch in throat, hint of manly tearing up] my wife and little ones.

    [Not exact quote, except for the "mano-a-mano with Abu Nidal" part.]

    • sewollef

      But there's more.

      While North was supplying weapons to Iran, he let it be known that legitimate US sources were supplying Iraq with weapons [and chemicals to make bombs – thanks to Mr Rumsfeld], in order to push up the Iranian demand for more and more weapons in his sick — and illegal — trade with the Contras.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      When he said mano y mano he really meant "sell weapons to". If Ollie had been given a chance to go mano y mano with Abu Nidal it probably would have turned into a pissy little slapfight like the one between Xander and Harmony in the The Initiative episode on Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  • Blueb4sunrise

    Heard a little bit of Diaaaaaaaane Reeeehm. The CEO of NPR was on and some good woman called in and pretty much said that NPR had become FOX in a mellower voice.
    He assured her that they are committed to research, being fair etc.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    Not a Plagiarist, a Plagtriot.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      Plagtriot, what a perfectly cromulent word.

  • ifthethunderdontgetya

    Beloved I Love The ’80s star Oliver North benefits from America’s notorious generosity towards convicted felons

    Offer valid for white Republicans only.

    (e.g., see Donald Siegelman, railroaded by Karl Rove and Leura Canary.)

  • hagajim

    Why is it that all of these scumbags from the Reagan era just keep popping up (I mean you Cheney) to continue making our lives miserable. They all need to follow their damn hero into the grave so we can move on already.

    • Ducksworthy

      These scum are like some sort of hereditary condition. A new generation can be seen rising from the ooze of the GOP and taking shape (just to take Wisconsin as an example) as Ryan, Walker and my favorite Reince Priebus (which I believe is also the latin term for a prolapsed retcum.)

  • Ducksworthy

    I propose a contest. Who can name the most ways Oliver North is a scumbag? I'd start with traitor for selling weapons to the Iranians in return from them keeping the hostages until Raygun took office.

    • PubOption

      If I remember correctly, he got into his secretary's panties. Sorry, got secret documents into his secretary's panties.

      • Angry_Marmot

        Fawn Hall libel! He was 'running papers through her shredder' as the kids call it nowadays.

    • Tommy1733

      I'll go with stubbornly maintaining his self-image as an Amercian hero after doing all that stuff.

  • Tundra Grifter

    Don't forget the $20,000 security system installed at Ollie's home. He claimed the funds came from "tag sales." Spy Magazine (R.I.P.!) figured out it would take a footlocker to hold all the loose change that would amount to twenty grand.

  • Tundra Grifter

    "Despite the sensationalist headline on this post, North is probably not actually responsible for all this, though maybe he (or his paid staff) should have asked some questions before just cut-and-pasting longish passages from emails from someone who isn’t a professional journalist."

    Next thing ya know, the FoxPAC will run heavily edited amateur videos from self-proclaimed activist journalists without vetting them first.

    Then where will we be?

  • owhatever

    The man is a disgrace and a traitor to his nation and his uniform. As punishment, he rakes in the big bucks on the righwing fringe.

  • Pop_Socket

    That's what he gets for hiring Doris Kearns Goodwin as a ghost writer.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      I'm really looking forward to her book about the Reagan administration. I've heard it's going to be called Team of Wankers.

  • not that Radio

    Wonkette's "reporting" is "biased". Just because this guy lied to Congress and wasted taxpayer money and subverted democracy and presided over the raping of nuns does not make him a bad person. Geez.

    • Angry_Marmot

      Taxpayer money? Son of a bitch.

      • not that Radio

        I know, right? What gall.

        • Chichikovovich

          Well, I hope it at least wasn't hard working taxpayer money. That is, it only came from taxes paid by teachers, union mechanics, professors, …

  • Wile E. Quixote

    I'm kind of surprised that Ollie North is still alive and that he hasn't been whacked by a pissed off Marine. This is a man who got down on his knees and sucked off the same Iranian mullahs who were behind the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines. But even though the mullahs helped kill 241 American Marines Ollie still got down on his hands and knees to be the meat in a mullah manwich. This is a man who loves the way his own shit tastes after he sucks it off of an Iranian mullah's dick, which is what he did, he was Ruhollah Khomeini's bumboy, and he liked it.

  • Wile E. Quixote

    "Despite the sensationalist headline on this post, North is probably not actually responsible for all this, though maybe he (or his paid staff) should have asked some questions before just cut-and-pasting longish passages from emails from someone who isn’t a professional journalist."

    Nope, that's not how it works, As a commander in the military you are responsible if the men and women serving under you fuck something up, especially if it goes out with your name on it. This is one of the reasons I like Robert Gates, he understands this principle and showed that he was willing to enforce it when he fired the secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff in 2008. Maybe they hadn't personally caused the nuclear weapons fuckups, but they were in charge of the people who did which ultimately made it their responsbility.

    Ollie's an amoral scumbag and fucking wanker with no leadership skills. With that kind of example to follow it's no wonder his staff pulled something like this.

  • Nostrildamus

    It's not plagiarism, it's freedom writing!

  • Antispandex

    Ollie North is still a dick? Well it IS comforting to know that there are SOME things that you can count on. Like Rush making an insanely stupid remark and being taken out of context. Ann Coulter will have a deep voice, an adams apple, that grill of hers, and still be able to talk some guy into being her beard. Sean Hannity will find a rich Teapublican ass to kiss…and yes, Ollie will still be a dick.

    • Tundra Grifter

      Don't forget Ann Falter's phony accent. Fake as Sheer InSannity's laugh.

  • HempDogbane

    Fawn: Sideboob.
    Ollie: Full-on boob.

  • Dashboard Buddha

    Sammy L. Davis? Medal of Honor? Is that where he lost the eye?

  • Wile E. Quixote

    Ollie North fucked America in the ass and didn't even have the goddamned common courtesy to give us a reacharound

  • Tundra Grifter

    Wasn't Fawn the young lady killed in the woman's school kiln explosion in "Animal House?" And "The National Lampoon High School Yearbook?" Also.

  • Wile E. Quixote

    Back when he was still funny and relevant and long before he descended into full-tilt teabaggotry P.J. O'Rourke wrote a savagely brilliant take-down of Ollie North in Rolling Stone. I think the article came out in the summer of 1989 but I'm having sweet fuck-all luck in finding it on Google. In fact I'm having no fucking luck in using Google to find a fucking list of articles that O'Rourke has written or a list of the articles by issue in Rolling Stones in the 1980s. Anyways if you have better google-fu than I do and can find this article check it out, O'Rourke really went off on all of Ollie's super-patriotic bullshit.

  • Wile E. Quixote

    Sorta, kinda on-topic. This story by Charles Stross about what Iran-Contra would have been like if the elder gods of the Cthulhu mythos had been involved.

    • George Skullfry

      We can agree that Charlie Stross is cool. I love that story.

      • Wile E. Quixote

        Have you ever read his story Missile Gap? It's online at Subterranean Press.

  • Tommy1733

    Thank you for writing the phrase "conservative media/think tank reacharound circuit".

  • ttommyunger

    As a former Marine, I'm sort of glad I never attained anything higher than E-5. Seems one of Lt. Col. North's duties was delivering pastries (cake) to Arab/Persian Potentates. 5 wonder what color ribbon that earned him? Pink, I'm guessing.

  • Dr_pangloss

    He was (his crack research team was) "just following orders".

  • Lazy Media

    My favorite thing Ollie North ever did? In 2006, he decided to do some military tourism to Anbar Province in Iraq, and the unnecessary convoy got hit by an IED, and the Marine Corps public affairs officer (who had organized the Baghdad Marathon and was a kewl redheaded chick) got killed. Thanks, Ollie!