Recycling Quotes in the Washington Post

Don’t know how it could have possibly taken them so long, but the Washington Post’s Alan Cooperman and Time blogger Andrew Sullivan have finally found Mikey Weinstein, the bombastic Air Force Academy graduate who is suing his alma mater for aggressive Christian proselytizing to cadets.

On Sunday, the Washington Post profiled the ever-colorful Weinstein, who once worked as Ross Perot’s general counsel and as an attorney in the Reagan White House during the Iran/Contra years. The long profile details the saga of Weinstein and includes the following quote:

We’re going to lay down a withering field of fire and leave sucking chest wounds…

The next day Andrew Sullivan highlighted that little gem on his Daily Dish blog.

Cooperman’s profile was nicely done, and included some interesting new information about Weinstein’s battle with the U.S. military. But gee, that quote sounds awful familiar. Maybe it’s because this is what Weinstein told the Colorado Springs Independent, back in an extensive March 2 profile: “I’m now going to lay down in a withering field of fire, kick ass, take names and leave sucking chest wounds.”

There’s more, much more. Sullivan’s July 16 piece also included this quote from Weinstein, describing how he initially learned there was a problem going on at the Air Force Academy. His son Curtis, a cadet at the Academy, finally came clean during a visit when father and son went off base to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant:

Here’s the Sullivan quote: “It’s not what I’ve done, Dad. It’s what I’m going to do,” Curtis answered, according to his father. “I’m going to beat the [. . .] out of the next person that calls me a [. . .] Jew or accuses me or our people of killing Jesus Christ.”

Now, here’s the quote that appeared four months earlier in the Colorado Springs Independent: “He said, “Dad, it’s not what I’ve done, it’s what I’m gonna do, and I’m probably going to get into a lot of trouble. I’m going to beat the shit out of the next person who calls me a “fucking Jew” or accuses me or our people of killing Jesus.'”

Here’s Weinstein’s reaction, in the Washington Post: “I could hear my heart in my ears.”

Here’s Weinstein’s reaction, in the Colorado Springs Independent: “I could hear my heart in my ears.”

Now, it’s not plagiarism when reporters quote someone saying the same thing they’ve already said to another publication. And, Weinstein, for his part, likes to recycle his own colorful quotes. But enough already. You’d think a publication like the Washington Post would know to at least freshen things up. Or maybe they just don’t know how to do a basic Google search to see what’s already been written, quoted, done already.

You can read more about the organization that Weinstein has put together, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, to battle religious intolerance throughout the military. The story is the second part of the Colorado Springs Independent’s two-part March profile. The second part details the number of high-profile men and women, including retired generals, who have signed onto MRFF as board members (Joe Wilson, the former diplomat and husband of Valerie Plame, has since joined the board as well).

Make sure you let everyone know you read it there first.

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