Monday, October 19, 2009

Plagiarism: Alive and well at

image via Flickr

More than a few South Florida blogs took note of the Orlando Sentinel's report Sunday on Cuban pot rings.

I posted an item yesterday and noted that it'll be a long, long time before the Herald tackies this subject.

And Frank Alvarado at Miami New Times reminds us that he did this story two years ago!

And then there's

Remember that guy who used to look over your shoulder in school and copy your homework?

He got a job at!

Staffer Brian Hamacher saw the Sentinel's report and liked what he saw!

He was in full cut-and-paste mode bright and early this morning over at

Hamacher basically rewrote the entire Orlando Sentinel report for's web site.

Hamacher says early on that his story is "according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel." He cites paragraphs from the Sentinel story and uses quotations.

But he also copies entire chunks of the Sentinel story without attribution or quotations. He moves phrases around and changes a word here and there, apparently in an attempt to make it look like he actually did some of his own reporting.

Sentinel: "Cubans who arrived in the U.S. within the past five years represent 85 percent to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house-related charges." Cuban refugees have risen up to take the lead in growing marijuana in the Sunshine State, accounting for 85 to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house related charges in the past five years.

Sentinel: "Until the early 1980s, Florida's marijuana trade thrived on pot smuggled from Jamaica, Mexico and South America." Until the early 1980s, Florida's pot sources were generally Jamaica, Mexico and South America.

Sentinel: "The yield is potent, five to 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago, say drug agents who have had the pot tested." Authorities say the pot is five to 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago.

Sentinel: "...348 grow-house-related arrests last year in Miami-Dade County..." In Miami-Dade, 348 grow-house-related arrests were made last year of Cubans.

Sentinel: "Miami became the center of a cottage industry raising the highest-quality, most-expensive pot in Florida." Miami became the epicenter of the new homemade industry and the source for the highest quality and most expensive pot in Florida.

Sentinel: "Statewide, records aren't kept that specify the nationalities of those who run grow houses. However, Cuban influence has risen rapidly." Though Florida doesn't keep records that specify the nationalities of the grow house operators, individual Sheriff's Office statistics show that the number of Cuban growers seems out of proportion. is the worst local TV station web site in South Florida.

But come on guys! Enough is enough already!

How much longer are you going to perpetrate this fraud upon your readers?

How about doing a little of your own reporting for a change?

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