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Land responds to charges of plagiarism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Richard Land, recently in the news for comments about the Trayvon Martin killing, has responded to charges that he failed to attribute the comments on air to a Washington Times columnist.

In a statement to Baptist Press April 16, Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, expressed regret for the way he handled remarks on his March 31 radio broadcast.

“On occasion I have failed to provide appropriate verbal attributions on my radio broadcast, Richard Land Live!, and for that I sincerely apologize,” Land said in the statement, which also was posted on the show’s website. “I regret if anyone feels they were deceived or misled. That was not my intent nor has it ever been.”

For each archived episode of Richard Land Live!, the website offers a link titled “Get the full show notes,” which leads to Land’s sources.

“Clearly there has been no attempt to deceive the public or we would not have posted the articles that are used on the air,” Land said. “Richard Land Live! is a live radio show. While I do not use a script, listeners familiar with the program know that both the audio of the program and material I reference during the program are posted on the program’s website during or immediately following the broadcast.

“During the program I encourage listeners to share these links and content among their circle of influence. This has been standard operating practice for the program since its launch in 2002. I am grateful this oversight was brought to my attention. One can always do better and I certainly pledge to do so,” Land said.

Charges of plagiarism were raised by Aaron Weaver, a blogger and doctoral candidate at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

“Many of the words that he uttered during his radio show were taken VERBATIM — yes, WORD-FOR-WORD — from a Washington Times column penned by conservative commentator Jeffrey Kuhner,” Weaver wrote April 14. “Kuhner’s column titled ‘Obama foments racial division’ was published on March 29.”

Weaver’s criticism was reported by The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville and other media April 16.

Weaver told The Tennessean he is particularly troubled by Land’s lack of on-air attribution because of his position as the chief ethicist for the Southern Baptist Convention.

The radio show’s notes from the March 31 episode include a link to Kuhner’s March 29 column, but Land did not attribute the column on air.

Land caught media attention over the remarks made on the March 31 broadcast, particularly for saying President Obama and black leaders such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should not have been so quick to jump into the Trayvon Martin case. Land’s comments were reported nationally by Religion News Service, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times and other media.

Weaver, in updates on his blog, said Land also plagiarized in his March 31 broadcast an Investor’s Business Daily editorial. Like the Washington Times column, a link to the editorial was posted to the website.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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