MAY 27, 2010 6:10PM

Rachel Maddow Plagiarized My Blog!

Rate: 25 Flag


Rachel Maddow. News thief.


Don’t get me wrong, I love Rachel Maddow. Truth be told, I’m a huge fan. So, if she wanted something from my blog, all she had to do was ask. I would have given willingly because that’s the kind of guy I am.

Instead, she stole my scoop of a lifetime and now it’s plastered all over MSNBC with Rachel getting all the credit. Granted, the segment she did Wednesday night covered more ground and was more professional than my little feature, but then she has more resources at her disposal than I do.

Funny thing is, I almost sent her an e-mail that could have suggested where to search for a really good story, but I didn’t think anyone would read my e-mail up there in the big city, so I didn’t send it. I could have saved her a weeks worth of time.

Had Rachel read the e-mail that I didn’t send and then decided to do the story she couldn't have known about, it could have changed my life. Maybe she would have hired me as a researcher or let me be a guest on her TV show so I could get the fifteen minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised me back in the Sixties.

You can bet I’ll try to learn something from that  little mistake.

Anyway, last week I wrote a blog entry for Open Salon about a huge, yet seemingly forgotten, 1979 oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was named the Ixtoc I  and in comparison, the Ixtoc and the Deepwater Horizon tragedies are eerily similar, like twins separated at birth, then reunited some thirty years later.

In the article, I mentioned that the Ixtoc caught fire and sank off the Mexican Coast with shortcuts in safety measures as the likely cause. I told about how the blowout preventer also failed and how the oil filled the gulf until a relief well was finally completed, thus allowing the well to be capped over nine months later.

To stem the flow prior to that, they first tried a containment dome to no avail (think of an upside-down Dixie cup with a sippy-straw glued in the bottom). Next they tried the junk-shot (a term that sounds vaguely pornographic) where they tried to jam the blowout preventer with tons of items you can find at your local landfill.

Things like old tires, long dead washing machines and seagulls. You know, the usual stuff that comes to mind when trying to stop a major oil spill.

Surprisingly, all of these highly technical, advanced engineering attempts failed to stop the leak, though they did manage to somewhat reduce the flow.

One of the points I was trying to make in my story is that thirty years later, the oil industry hasn’t advanced their methods of plugging holes in the ocean floor or cleaning up their messes. Nothing has really changed over the last three decades in this area. Same methods, different spills.

Einstein's theory of stupidity comes to mind. Or maybe it was his theory of insanity. No matter, both theories work here.

By the way, Big Oil still uses the same method of hiding the oil below the surface by spraying poisonous dispersants and they still have the same disregard for anything environmental. Another thing that hasn’t changed is their desire for profits above all else.Some things never change.

So anyway, I'm sitting there Wednesday evening watching MSNBC and there is Rachel Maddow......


But, enough of that. I’m sure she had her reasons for stealing my thunder. I was actually surprised that all these "professional" news agencies hadn’t looked for the connection between the two historic spills earlier. I mean, what do they do up there all day?

Anyway, I suppose it’s possible that I wasn’t plagiarized and that someone on Rachel’s research team cracked the code and may have done a Google for “oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico” just like I did and found the same information. It could have happened that way.

But, in the long run I think I would rather believe that Rachel secretly reads my blog. Maybe I’ll skip the fifteen minutes of fame and just hold on to that thought for a while.


Here is Rachel's story; It's a good one.


 And this is mine.





Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I coulda been somebody....I coulda been a contender!
Make her an offer she can't refuse.
hahhhahah ;D (((Michael)))
You need to send that letter now and let her know you are not happy with her stealing your spotlight.
Dang life is rough. Do you need some See's Candy? I can go and get some, you know.
Michael, you're always a contender in my book!
It is a lot better than having Jay Leno steal one of your jokes.
Interesting. I didn't know about this (the oil spill in the 1970s). But, it doesn't surprise me. Apparently, there have been similar smaller incidents (to the BP incident) in other countries long before this happened and apparently other countries actually did something about it.

Anyway, I thank you for your reporting. Even if it wasn't stolen, is shows that those 'celebrities' don't have anything on you.
She totally ripped you off! For shame!
Love your line, "Einstein's theory of stupidity comes to mind."
Best laugh of my day!
You make great points. This whole thing just sucks, spits, spews... and the experts are hemming and hawing about how to fix it. Good god, this is more horrifying by the hour! Great post!
Great minds think alike, Michael. Just think, you are just as up-to-snuff as a Rhodes Scholar.
Yep, you have been played. Sad, you should have been live and all over cable news. Of course, then you would have gotten a big contract and made a load of cash which you wouldn't have been able to handle. You would have then ran off to Vegas where you would have blown it all on hookers, tropical drinks and Oxycontin, ended up with a sexually transmitted disease, become diabetic and ended up in rehab. So, perhaps it all turned out as it should have. You may have dodged a bullet or two, actually.
Blackflon, She is not answering my calls.

Hi Julie! Big Hugs, Girl!

Ocular, I tried. No luck so far. I must be doing something wrong.

Xe, I like Candy!

Thank you, Owl. You are always such a sweethear!

Fawkes, Me and Leno no longer talk.

Denese, yeah. BP is like the record setter for bad news short-cut oil companies. Of course, we don't hold their feet to the fire, either. A couple token heads will roll (right into a cushy oil company position) and then things will be back to normal. Except for the condition of the Gulf.

Hi, Cathy! It totally sucks big time. The damage will likely outlast most of us.

Ardee, I've probably used more snuff than a Rhodes Scholar.

Spudman, You know me too well. Money has always gotten me into trouble. I thank God each day that I'm broke. It helps to keep me humble.
i've always said: you're just light years ahead of your time.

(i bet if she reads your blog, she laughs at your jokes, too, just like we do.) xo
You're right, it should be called 'Einstein's theory of stupidity'. When it comes to glory, you have it all in many books, Michael, not only mine. Although, there should be a way for her to pay your due credit.

Rated for loneliness at the top.
Dang, Michael. I know she reads your blog, because anybody who IS anybody should be reading your blog;P Interesting stuff indeed. I didn't know about the earlier spill, but it doesn't surprise me that things haven't progressed much in the disaster cleanup department.
Michael, I saw that segment on RM and thought it was spectacular. But all's I could think of was, "Rachel Maddow plagiarized Nick Carraway's OS Blog! (I had read his and didn't know about yours :) The two of you need to duke it out as to who owns the right to sue. ;)
It's entirely possible your piece on Open Salon (linked on Salon) might have been one of the pieces the Rachel Maddow Show used in their research. I wouldn't discount it. One of the bigger stories I had here last summer almost made it onto the Rachel Maddow Show.
Unfortunately, as long as we need oil to get around, this kind of thing is going to happen. And I don't really blame the oil industry for not really spending too much time planning for how to fix these problems. The two incidents you mentioned took place forty years apart.

If I were an engineer at an oil company, I wouldn't spend much time planning on something that happens once every 40 years. Let's say I was a petroleum engineer fresh out of college at BP right now. If the industry's track record holds, I'd be retired and sipping margaritas on the beach before another one of these happens.

Hopefully the oil from that accident wouldn't ruin the beach I'm on. =)

As easy as it is to blame the oil companies and portray them as evil, ask yourself this. If you were running a business, how much time would you spend on plans for a once per 40 year emergency?

If you're honest with yourself, you'll say not much.
I told Rachel about this serious allegation and she quickly owned up to it. She promised to never do it again without attribution. Hang in there.
Consider it a compliment, Mike. After all, nobody plagiarizes someone who has nothing to say. Steal the good stuff, you know? Never steal the crap.

Cute post. I have missed your keen sense of humor.

(Don't let that go to your head!)

I didn't know about the 1979 spill. The oil industry "owns" the Democratic and Republican parties. Obama flip flopped again and recently announced a six month moratorium on deepwater drilling - this is after Obama said he was against offshore drilling during the presidential campaign, but changed his mind after he was elected. I wouldn't mess with Rachel. She has a neck like a middle linebacker.
Even if Rachel didn't read it, I did three times. That counts for something doesn't it Mikey?
Sue!!!! Sue Big!!! Sue BP like the New Orleans hotels are doing now! Lost business due to oil spill killing seafood that guests come to New Orleans to eat. Like the hotel owners give a damn about the fishermen and their families!!!
You am somebody! And this story is yet another sorry example of how foolish is the notion that the commonweal is best served by letting the greediest bastards on the planet go unregulated. Free-marketeering indeed. Letting BP solve this mess is the functional equivalent of setting a thief to catch a thief.
The real issue (besides you and a Rhodes scholar being on the same page) is that so many news outlets missed this alarming lack of technical improvements in cleaning up the mess.
I spent an hour this morning answering comments and when I tried to post, the overworked comments bandits stole them all and rode away. They also kicked me off my own blog when I tried to click back. WTF? Then when I tried to log back on, the server was totally overloaded for at least an hour.
I think someone around here needs to up the power in the server department before the gremlins take over. Very frustrating losing those comments. Sorry folks.
Sad that the importance of this story for you is that you lost the scoop of a lifetime!

She got the message out "big time" - no one owns the story, the history, the event. Live with it and care more about the "story" than yourself, please.
You are her dream man. She told me. She's just, well, shy. heh
I remember the Ixtoc spill, and yes, it's astonishing how little progress we have made since 1979. I attribute it to the usual human error -- hubris. We're soooo smart, afterall, that surely a tragedy like Ixtoc was an anomaly and could never happen again. Surely.
I hate that. Thirteen story lines, twelve ideas and maybe six decent stories at any given time and who gets the attention? People with more resources (or more popularity or more Y0uTube hits or more body parts mentioned in the title or anything that says "Lindsay Lohan" or anything you can dance to). It's not fair, dammit.

Still *sigh* I expected more from Rachel. Unless...wait...unless...I know...great minds think alike!

There, now doesn't that make you feel a whole lot better?
You're still a contender in my book. M.R.
Crap! Big thanks for all the great comments. I tried earlier to answer comments, but OS had a booger in the salad and kicked me off the site. WhadIdoo? Anyway, I forgot to say thanks, so...Thanks!!
I saw Rachel's story (not ashamed to be her fanboy), but missed yours, you and she made a real good point there about the lack of progress in safeguards against drilling accidents over the last three decades

hey man, at least maybe she reads your blog
See, Michael, in truth shows like Rachel's have very few resources--that's why they have to rip off blogs like yours 'cause they ain't got no budget for reporters. If you sued her, you might win but all you'd get is the name of the stylist who does her cute little 'do....
Trig Palin is actually Rachel in disguise.

You should be on MSNBC. :) You are talented.
You're somebody with us, Michael. Dammit, I stole Owl's sentiment.

Seriously though, I saw that story on Maddow's show. That case is quite edifying. I am quite pleased that you got it out there before anyone else did, even if no one knew about it.
Michael thanks for raising this.
Now you've done it! You're probably on Maddow's radar now! And with this grabbing headline and your previous article, you sound like a journalist to me.

I just wish you had tossed them a link to your article earlier. The Maddow crew tends to be receptive to anyone with good information. They also appear to read their email and blog, follow up on leads, consider story suggestions, and share kudos or treats depending on how hungry you are.

Ya gotta love the social media, even when it seems like a feeding frenzy of ideas. The consolation to this is the participation in satisfying another's appetite, as well as making some nauseous.

Good job MR!
You know what they say:

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.