NEW YORK (AP) — Dr. Ben Carson’s publisher will review allegations that the conservative activist and possible presidential candidate failed to properly credit sources in his 2012 book “America the Beautiful.”
“Alongside the author and literary agent, we take these matters very seriously,” a spokesperson for Zondervan, a Christian publisher owned by HarperCollins, said in a statement Wednesday. “We will work with Dr. Carson and his agent to review the information and will respond appropriately.”
Carson’s agent, Sealy Yayes, told The Associated Press that Carson had provided Zondervan with all of his source material and had thought the publisher would make sure the book included adequate attribution. “America the Beautiful” was co-written by Carson’s wife, Candy Carson.
“Certainly, the Carsons were relying on their publisher, as all authors do,” Yates said. “It doesn’t mean that the author is not responsible, but the Carsons felt they had fully complied will all their responsibility.”
The allegations were raised by a BuzzFeed article that listed numerous examples of passages in Carson’s book that closely resemble material which first appeared elsewhere, from the works of the late conservative historian Cleon Skousen to a CBS News article.
Often cited as a possible Republican contender for the 2016 election, the 63-year-old Carson has written several books and has a new one, “You Have A Brain: A Teen’s Guide To Think Big,” scheduled from Zondervan next month. His business manager, Armstrong Williams, told the AP that before “America the Beautiful,” Carson had worked with outside writers and that the 2012 book represented “new territory” for him.
“This is something that caught us by surprise,” Williams said, adding that he assumed the publisher would catch any errors and that when “you write the book and no one says anything you assume everything is fine.”
Books traditionally are reviewed for possible legal issues, but publishers rarely use fact-checkers, citing time and expense.
Ironically, “America the Beautiful” includes a passage in which Carson acknowledges lifting material as a college student for an advanced psychology assignment.
“When the professor asked me to make an appointment to discuss my paper, I was befuddled,” Carson writes. “When I stepped into his office, he pointed out that I had plagiarized and told me that the consequence for doing so normally included expulsion. I could see all of my dreams of becoming a doctor dashed by my stupidity. Even though I did not know the implications of plagiarism, I certainly should have known inherently that what I was doing was wrong. I had done it before without consequences and probably would have continued doing it if I had not been caught.
“Fortunately for me, the professor was very compassionate, realized that I was naive, and gave me a chance to rewrite the paper.”
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