partisan shoutfests

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This morning, I read a couple of articles about a White House aide being caught plagiarizing.

Then I read a piece by Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, eulogizing William F. Buckley. It contains this sentence:

Buckley disdained the kind of partisan shoutfests that too often pass for political debate on our TVs today.

And then I turned to a New York Times article by Eric Konigsberg about Buckley's TV show Firing Line. It starts with this question:

The relationship of William F. Buckley Jr.’s “Firing Line” to the partisan shoutfests that pass for evening political exchange on television nowadays?

I certainly wouldn't go so far as to call plagiarism here. I can imagine two different people coming up with those sentences independently, and anyway it's only one sentence of similarity; the articles are otherwise entirely different.

But it still strikes me as odd. I thought for a moment that perhaps "partisan shoutfests" was a common/standard description of political TV shows, but a Google search for the phrase (in quotation marks) turns up only eight occurrences of it on the web, of which four are copies or quotes of the Konigsberg piece, and one is the vanden Heuvel piece. The remaining three don't have any other phrasing in common with the sentences in question.

Anyway. I probably wouldn't have even noticed this, much less commented on it, if plagiarism and copying hadn't already been on my mind. But given that it was on my mind, I thought this was an interesting enough item to post about.