Shafer says the real victims are not the creators from whom words are lifted, but the audience that must be denied original work. He wrote in the context of the firing by Politico of a reporter whose work appeared to plagiarize on seven counts.
He writes aggressively about the lack of mitigating circumstances available to the plagiarist seeking a second chance.
"It doesn’t matter if you pinched copy because you were tired, you were harried, your spouse or child was sick or dying, you were under deadline pressure, you jumbled up your notes, you took boilerplate or wire copy that nobody should really claim “authorship” over, you have a substance problem, you committed a cut-and-paste error, you were blinded by the warp speed of the Internet, you were a victim of the win the morning culture, you are young and inexperienced, you had two windows open at the same time and confused them," he writes.
"These aren’t excuses. These are confessions. And they mitigate nothing."