Last week, I wrote about The Marshall Project and a piece they did on the racist history of gun control. I was actually happy to see the report for two reasons. One is that it’s saying the same stuff we’ve said before and another was it had some newer information.
Yet that newer information has caused some to claim plagiarism.
You see, what looks like great work by the writer may be a case of copying someone’s homework and passing it off as your own. That’s what Mom-at-Arms is saying, at least.
Upon opening the Marshall Project link, it looked very similar. Like….it has been written before…..by US! In 2021, we published some never before seen research that detailed the history of the FOID card dating back to the 1960’s (which is more in-depth than the Marshall Project’s article). Click below to read it.
Now fast forward to two weeks ago as of this article’s publish date (3/24/23). An Illinois firearms instructor did a video on our article and sourced us/gave us credit for the info. Here’s that link/video.
“I tried to find that info for years, but never knew where to look. You guys saved me countless hours”, Alpha Koncepts said. Now fast forward to today and the Marshall Projects article.
When the article touches on the FOID card, it is clear that our article was viewed, right down to the way we including the long forgotten (before our article) newspaper clippings. I mean, take a look.
Mom-At-Arms makes the case, and there’s plenty of evidence to at least raise questions. I invite you to go over there and look for yourself.
Either way, all they wanted is credit for their investigative efforts.
Now, plagiarism is a serious charge in journalism. It’s the kind of thing that can end careers, so one must be careful when making that claim. I’m not going to say that writer in question, Lakeidra Chavis, did any such thing. I’m not confident enough to level that claim.
But I do understand why Mom-At-Arms is willing to do so.
It’s possible that Chavis simply delved into the same waters that Mom-At-Arms already had. I just think it’s kind of unlikely. Why? Because this stuff wasn’t even known to exist until they dug it up in the first place. That alone lends some credence to the claims that the Marshall Project report was based at least in part on the Mom-at-Arms story from 2021.
Again, I can’t say definitively what happened. However, if Chavis simply did the same work as Mom-At-Arms, she should be able to show the receipts. Since that information was paywalled, I mean “receipts” in a very literal sense as well as the figurative ones.
If those don’t exist, then something needs to be done about it. If it turns out that Chavis independently arrived at the same source material as Mom-at-Arms and didn’t borrow from their own research, so be it, but it’s up to the Marshall Project to bring some transparency to its reporting.
[Editor’s Note: Typically, the use of the same source material by different writers doesn’t constitute plagiarism. Lakeidra Chavis posted a lengthy threat on Twitter on Sunday afternoon detailing some of her sourcing for her report, but did not reference the Mom-at-Arms piece as part of her research or acknowledge MaM’s accusation of plagiarism directly. – Cam]
Hi hello! 👋🏽Want to know what informed my reporting for our story on gun enforcement in the U.S.? Well, it took A LOT of d*mn reading. Books. Research. News Articles. Newspaper Archives. You name it. Phew. Shall we jump in? 🧵 https://t.co/UckTgjMWG5
— Lakeidra Chavis (@lakeidrachavis) March 26, 2023