July 20, 2016
When the news broke that whole phrases in Melania Trump’s speech before the Republican National Convention were identical or nearly so to Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, it was big TV news.
Liberal leaning MSNBC talked about it the most, though not by much. This search of the TV News Archive indicates 15 of the network’s shows used word variants of plagiarism in the 24-hours following Ms. Trump’s speech.
Fox News combined with Fox Business News? A combined 14 shows.
Overall? The search of the TV News Archive shows 116 mentions of plagiarism on that date among the channels tracked. All the major networks covered the story. The morning shows — Today, CBS This Morning,Good Morning America reported on it. So did CNN, Bloomberg, and CNBC. Some of these mentions were on local Fox channels, such as WTTG in Washington, DC.
Like a menu showing the starkly different news diets favored by liberals and conservatives in this country, the MSNBC v. Fox mentions reveal their different world views. For example, MSNBC aired this interview with Joy Reid, who was sharply critical of the Trumps. She said: “Michelle Obama would not only not have gotten a pass on this…she would have been taken apart and dismantled by the right had she done this in 2008. They would have said she’s a liar, she’s a phony, she’s a fraud, and it reflects directly back on her husband.”
Meanwhile, Fox News gave air time to Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, who defended Melania Trump, and David Avella, who directs the conservative group GOPAC. Avella said: “The comment about the plagiarism, you know, the Democrats realizes she is a major asset for him and they are going to do whatever they can to discredit her. The funny thing about it is she actually talked about traditional American values — respecting one another, working hard to get to where you want to go — as if Michelle Obama from a few years ago is the only person who believes those things. and because Melania also believes those things, she can’t say that –it’s an absurd charge.”
Here is a link to the speech by Melania Trump on January 18, 2016.
On Wednesday, after the Trump forces had put forth widely varying responses to the criticism, the New York Times reported that a longtime Trump Organization employee, Meredith McIver, had stepped forward to take the blame for the similarities to Michelle Obama’s speech. The news frenzy is likely going to die down.