Back in high school, busy students logged onto www. free-essays dot com to download five or ten pages analyzing theme, conflict and imagery in The Scarlet Letter or "A Rose for Emily." When they got to college, those same busy, busy students hooked up with www. college-papers dot com. For eight or ten dollars a page, they could put their own names on “nonplagiarized essays,” complete with footnotes and bibliographies on such topics as “Comparative Motifs in The Pearl Poet and Sir Gawain,” or “Microeconomic Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of NAFTA,” and “The Psycho-Social Impacts of Gay Adoption.” Now, thrust into the real world of work, what’s a busy, busy high-school-valedictorian-college-grad-cum-laude now a very busy, busy CPA to do when he needs a nicely written newspaper column?
An Oak Harbor, Wash., firm, Mostad and Christensen Inc., comes to the rescue! For a tad less than $500 a year, the nice folks there e-mail a monthly assortment of tax and financial articles, edited to about 300 words and suitable for “publishing in local newspapers or community publications under your firm’s name,” according to the company’s Web-sales site.
And, my goodness! How well this system serves all involved – as long as you don’t count the reader – is evident right here in today's Gondolier, business page, front and center. D. Grady Hough Jr., who earns his living as a CPA in Venice gets “business columnist” status to publish the 300 words he bought last month from Mostad and Christensen. His purchase price includes the privilege of saying the essay is his own work, even though it isn’t.
Apart from the bleak ethics of lying about whether you wrote something – called plagiarism except when semi-winked at by contractual arrangements between consenting adults – this article requires the newspaper’s entire staff of writers, editors, and publishers turn a blind eye to the deception it works on their community of readers. Most newspapers, when running this sort of drek, put a box around it and display the words “paid advertisement” in a place easily discerned by readers who like their business news gathered and presented by trained journalists who make at least a pretense of objectivity.
As for the CPA: He’s in a field that requires a high level of trust. Old Word Wolf can’t trust him to admit where he got his “news” or acknowledge that he didn’t research it, write it, or check its accuracy. And we're supposed to trust him with our taxes?
On a jollier note ...
Cutline: Trees bring season joy
So that's why the holiday is happy!