August 2, 2021

In Germany, the Green candidate Annalena Baerbock accused of plagiarism

This is a new blow for Annalena Baerbock, three months before the German legislative elections, scheduled for September 26. A week after the publication of his book Now (“Now”, Ullstein, not translated), the candidate of the Greens for the chancellery – in decline in the polls – was accused, Tuesday, June 29, of having plagiarized certain passages without mentioning her sources.

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On his blog specializing in “plagiarism tracking”, the Austrian communication specialist Stefan Weber identified half a dozen extracts resembling copy and paste of articles published in particular in a foreign policy review, on institutional sites and in the weekly Der Spiegel. “A book published by a politician is not an academic thesis, and [dans celui-ci] sources are not cited. But that does not justify plagiarism, which constitutes an ethically reprehensible practice ”, writes Mr. Weber, for whom the incriminated passages constitute a “Copyright infringement”.

The response of the Greens was not long in coming. Tuesday afternoon, one of their spokespersons denounced a “Attempted defamation” aiming to “Maliciously tarnish the reputation” of Mme Baerbock. Mandated by the environmental party, lawyer Christian Schertz, specialist in media law, also defended the candidate: “I do not identify any copyright infringement in the referenced passages, as these are only repetitions of known information or political opinions. “

An image tarnished by two cases

Within the other parties, there were few reactions, which is no doubt due to the fact that several of their officials have already been in Mr Weber’s sights and that they themselves have been targeted by far more important plagiarism cases than the one involving Mme Baerbock. Like the Social Democratic Party (SPD), whose candidate for mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, resigned from her post as Federal Minister for Families on May 19 after the collaborative platform VroniPlag Wiki , specializing in plagiarism tracking in academic work, identified cut-and-paste unreferenced work and disguised quotes in 49 of the 265 pages of his political science thesis.

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On Tuesday, the main attack came from the general secretary of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), Markus Blume. “Deliberate deception, sloppy work (…), this seems to be a system at Mme Baerbock, whose credibility is once again called into question “, accused, on Twitter, the number two of the CSU, party itself shaken by a case of plagiarism which led to the resignation of the Minister of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, in 2011.

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