Error Of The Year: Cook’s Source Plagiarism Dust-Up

Regret The Error has published its top errors and corrections of the year. The number one error: the rampant plagiarism from now-dead magazine Cook’s Source, which was found to have stolen more than 150 articles, photos, and recipes from around the Web, because “honestly … the web is considered ‘public domain’ and you should be happy we just didn’t ‘lift’ your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!,” the editor told one aggrieved blogger.

The Internet quickly swooped into justice mode and the blogger’s post went viral; those with copies of the magazine tracked down more plagiarism instances (resulting in the spreadsheet linked to above), and everyone contacted Cook’s Source’s advertisers, who promptly pulled their ads when they learned what kind of publication this really was.

In fact, this crowdsourced serious work was what elevated the error to Error of the Year, writes RTE’s Craig Silverman.

“Aside from the extremely poor judgment of the editor and the virality of the mistake, there’s another big reason why this incident is elevated to 2010’s Error of the Year: Amid all the mockery and insults directed at Griggs and Cooks Source, people engaged in the serious work of seeing if the magazine had stolen other work…this year’s Error of the Year demonstrates how effective crowdsourced fact checking can be in today’s media world.”

The runner-up error? A UK newspaper captioned a photo of a modern-day actor playing a Nazi as if the actor was, himself, the Nazi he was playing. So far the newspaper has not copped to the error.