Wednesday, April 22, 2015

a Teddy Roosevelt quote about critics and 1910 speech, the red-letter quote about "the critic" and "the man in the arena", would that man have done his own research?

We've been working through the historical and conceptual context Theodore Roosevelt was establishing in his 1910 speech prior to the too-quotable bit about the critic vs. the man in the arena.
We established it was a speech given in France to those with wealth and education and the speech was about the importance of the wealthy and educated to have some understanding of using their natural and acquired gifts for the public good, as Americans and French in potential future collaboration, more or less. 

It's with that background in mind we can see that Roosevelt was laying the groundwork for an active and engaged upperclass in contrast to the sorts of self-absorbed cynics who did not take action. 

Now, finally, the red-letter part, without having omitted the earlier practical definition of what kind of person Roosevelt was talking about.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world.

Roosevelt's axiom can certainly hold true for the man in the arena who actually fights his own fights, works his own work, and is not necessarily someone with a history of having relied on research help.
One can generally hazard a guess that Roosevelt's "man in the arena" was someone who would do his own work.  His name's kinda not so prominent in their promotion these days but at one point Mark Driscoll had glowing things to say on behalf of The Docent Group's research assistance.
Docent has been invaluable to me. I think I have had them do nearly everything but cut my grass. They have saved me hundreds of hours of work and multiplied my effectiveness. I have recommended them to lots of friends because any ministry that serves leaders who serve God’s people is a great gift. 

Mark Driscoll, Founding and Preaching Pastor
Mars Hill Church, Seattle

up through September 14, 2013 Driscoll's voice was at the top of the page.

Just beneath him for a good stretch was ...

Mark Driscoll first contacted me about Docent Research. After his glowing recommendations of how Docent had improved his sermon preparation, I decided to give them a try.

Mark was right. Docent proved to be exceptional at scholarly research. I was especially impressed at the speed at which they could gather information. I've found their work most useful when I give them specific requests to help in my preparation for sermons.

Craig Groeschel, Lead Pastor, Edmond, OK

But a year later in September 2014 and a plagiarism controversy away, Groeschel's pitch looked more like this:

Docent proved to be exceptional at scholarly research. I was especially impressed at the speed at which they could gather information. I've found their work most useful when I give them specific requests to help in my preparation for sermons.

Craig Groeschel, Lead Pastor, Edmond, OK

Groeschel's advocacy for Docent had been stripped of any publicly acknowledged debt to Mark Driscoll.  And now?

No sign of Groeschel, either. For whatever reason Docent Group has no current use for endorsements by Mark Driscoll and Craig Groeschel.

Now it's not insignificant to ask whether or not "the man in the arena" in Roosevelt's speech should be expected to do his own work.  Was "the man in the arena" Mark Driscoll or the research help?  Because if it was the research help, well, when Mefferd's on-air confrontation with Driscoll about plagiarism happened within a week or so what was the Mars Hill response?  This will take some time.

The initial response seemed to be this:

In 2009, Pastor Mark preached through 1 & 2 Peter in a sermon series called Trial. To help our small groups, a team of people including a research assistant, put together a free study guide that was produced in-house and was never sold. About 5 years later it was brought to our attention that it contained some citation errors. We have discovered that during the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes. These sentences were adapted instead of quoted directly. We are grateful this was brought to our attention, and we have removed that document from our website to correct the mistake. Additionally, we are examining all of our similar content as a precautionary measure.

The doc was removed and Mars Hill removed the statement that it was never sold.  What wasn't removed for a while was the comment that a team that included a research assistant helped put together the study guide.  Let the record show that before the December 19, 2013 Tyndale press release, the public reaction Mars Hill took to Janet Mefferd publicly presenting evidence that the Trial study guide infringed copyright was to initially state the book was never sold.  Then it turned out that because it was Mars Hill retracted that statement. 

Because the Trial study guide was copyrighted to Mars Hill Church the corporation had three problems. 

First, the way the material was appropriated was not something Intervarsity Press considered to fall within Fair Use:

InterVarsity Press tells CT:

Several paragraphs from the New Bible Commentary edited by G. J. Wenham, J. A. Motyer, D. A. Carson and R. T. France published by InterVarsity Press appear in Mark Driscoll's now out of print book Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter. These improperly appeared without quotation or attribution. With proper citation the material would have been a case of fair use.

InterVarsity Press believes all writers should use great care as they do research and prepare texts for any use to make sure that proper acknowledgement is given to source material.

IVP tells CT this will be its final statement on the matter. CT has reached out to Driscoll for a response.

Secondly, the book was sold, after all:

The statement appears to contain at least one incorrect statement. Though Mars Hill claims the book was “never sold,” it is currently on sale by at least one vendor (Logos Bible Software) for $9.95. A screen shot of the sales page is attached. - See more at:

Thirdly, the mention of the research assistance prompted Docent Group to public refute even the possibility that whatever failings there were in handling copyright, the research help they provided was not to blame.

[Driscoll] forthrightly credited two researchers: Justin Holcomb, who worked for an outside research firm called the Docent Group, and Crystal Griffin, a deacon at Mars Hill. (Glenn Lucke, founder of the Docent Group, told me his firm's records show that Holcomb provided Mars Hill all the documentation needed to properly cite the IVP commentary.) With their help, he told his congregation, "I am now sending out literally thousands of pages of content a year, as well as preaching and teaching hundreds of hours of content a year."

So why were their names not on the final work?

So Docent Group founder Glenn Lucke stated for the record Holcomb could not possibly have been responsible for the citation errors. 

Blogger James Duncan appears to have found something else, a problem of fabrication.  Whoever did complete the finished product of the Trial study guide altered the footnotes in a way that presented the consultation of primary sources in secondary literature as though it were the author having done primary source consultation.

... The three paragraphs documented by Janet Mefferd are clearly plagiarism. The footnotes in Driscoll’s work also make it fabrication. At my school, we define fabrication as follows (emphasis added):
Fabrication is the intentional use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings with the intent to deceive. Examples:
1. Citation of information not taken from the source indicated.
2. Listing sources in a bibliography not used in the academic exercise, unless directed by the instructor to list references consulted even if not cited.
3. Inventing data or source information for research or other academic exercise.
The in-text citations in the work Driscoll copied from
The in-text citations in the work Driscoll copied from

Not only did Driscoll copy the words, he manipulated the citations in the source material to make it appear as though he had done the research himself. By so doing, it shows that he understands the value of citations and research, but decided to deceive the reader into believing that he had done that work himself. Think about the effort it took to reformat those in-text citations and add them to his book as footnotes. Why not also footnote the original book? He did know how to use them.
The relocated and reformatted citations in Driscoll's book
The relocated and reformatted citations in Driscoll’s book

In soccer, a player can get a yellow card from a referee to warn for rough play or a bad tackle. Two yellows and the player is ejected from the game. A particularly egregious foul can be awarded a straight red. No warning. No doubts. Expelled.

With the manipulation of the footnotes, Driscoll has compounded his deception, and worked even harder to mask it. No yellow here. No warning. This is an easy call: Straight Red.

So James Duncan's understanding of the evidence at hand at the time was that since the notes were changed so that it looked like Driscoll consulted Eusebius and Tertullian rather than having seen mention of their work in the secondary literature.

The Trial study guide turned out to be an example in which Intervarsity Press said the finished work infringed copyright and was not Fair Use.  It also transpired that between the initial on-air interview between Mefferd and Driscoll Mars Hill's public response was to include mention of the research help in a way that prompted the Docent Group founder Glenn Lucke to deny even the possibility that Mark's research assistant was responsible for the mistake.  This is worth bearing in mind for when we finally got to the Tyndale press release.

It was striking that even within the confines of The City Mark Driscoll was unwilling to explain to members what the controversy was if they didn't know about it already.  The press release got reference in a missive from Driscoll, around December 18 or 19, 2013
From Pastor Mark Driscoll:
Dear Mars Hill Church,
In light of some recent controversy that you may or may not be aware of, I wanted to communicate with you, our church family. Earning and keeping the trust of people in our church that I love and have given my adult life to matters very much to me. It has taken us some time to provide a statement, and it was because we wanted to do the right thing, in the right way, with the right heart, and that required time.
For those who have been patient and prayerful, thank you. I am genuinely grateful for the grace I receive from the people I am honored to teach the Bible to week in and week out.
I am sorry for any concern this may have caused some of you. Because this matters greatly, it has also weighed on me heavily.
Lastly, I would encourage you to not feel any need to defend me. Our job is not to win arguments but to win people to Jesus Christ.
A full statement on the matter from my publisher and me is posted online.
A nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody,
–Pastor Mark

For some reason Driscoll declined to mention WHAT the nature of the controversy swirling around him was, even within the confines of The City.  Now there's no doubt Mars Hill leadership was aware that material from The City had managed to get to bloggers, but Driscoll's reticence to simply explain that the controversy surrounding him involved allegations of plagiarism was whatever it was.

But there's something about the missive in its opacity, "we wanted to do the right thing, in the right way, with the right heart ... "

What was it about deciding to mention that research assistants helped assemble the Trial study guide in a way that seemed to redirect blame for copyright infringement on to them as well as Mark Driscoll was doing the right thing, in the right way, with the right heart?  Driscoll publicly took sole responsibility for the citation errors and copyright infringement ... but this seemed to happen only after it became impossible for the blame to have been shared with any of the research help.

Let's revisit what was said in the Tyndale press release. 

From the press release
2.   In a separate issue unrelated to any Tyndale title, the radio host also made an allegation with regard to a study guide that was published in-house at Mars Hill. In this instance, Pastor Driscoll agrees that errors were made. He says:  
 In recent weeks, it was brought to my attention that our 2009 Trial study guide on 1&2 Peter contained passages from an existing work for which no proper citation to the original work was provided. The error was unintentional, but serious nonetheless.  I take responsibility for all of this. In order to make things right, we’ve contacted the publisher of the works used in the study guide, offered an apology, and agreed to work with them to resolve any issues they had. Also, I personally contacted one of the editors of the work that was not rightly attributed. Thankfully, he and I have a longstanding relationship, which includes him teaching at Mars Hill and publishing a book with us through Resurgence. He’s a godly man who has been very gracious through all of this. I am deeply thankful for his acceptance of my apology, as I deeply grieve this mistake with a brother in Christ whom I appreciate very much.

So if Driscoll took responsibility for all of what happened why was the public response of Mars Hill prior to the above-quoted press release to mention that a research team assembled the work that turned out to have infringed on a copyright?  If Driscoll was taking responsibility for all of it why couldn't he have done that from jump?  After all, it was only his name on the published product in question, anyway.  Would Roosevelt's "man in the arena" have taken this kind of path, letting a public relations response veiled in anonymity share the blame for copyright infringement in the Trial study guide with people whom none other than Driscoll himself had publicly mentioned by name before the guide was released? 

It would appear that since one of those editors at IVP was D. A. Carson Driscoll's account was he called Carson and talked with him.  What's worth considering in all of this was that two years earlier Mars Hill let a cease-and-desist go out over trademark and logo infringement concerns.  Publicly Mars Hill expressed regret about that and yet it seems striking that when the shoe was on the other foot Mars Hill was okay with letting lawyers send cease-and-desist letters to small church plants on the issue of intellectual property when it would turn out that thanks to the Trial study guide Mars Hill itself had already been guilty of copyright infringement. 

If someone were to even hope that Mark Driscoll could be Teddy Roosevelt's "man in the arena" Driscoll would have to have been demonstrated to have done his own research.  As it stood, in the month following the confrontation with Mefferd the public relations response of Mars Hill was to mention the research help and Driscoll and Mars Hill conceded error but do not seem to have ever apologized to the people who were passively given blame for copyright infringement that only had Mark Driscoll's name on it.  It would seem that the man in the arena Teddy Roosevelt had in mind would not accept full credit for something until a copyright infringement issue came up, let the corporation he was president of cast some blame on the hired help, and only take full responsibility after the news cycle and verified sources established no one else was to blame.

Somewhat incredibly, that wasn't the end of the trouble.  It wasn't just the citation errors in a couple of books.  More research and coverage would begin to reveal there were systemic problems of attribution failure in Driscoll's published work covering at least six books.  One of the more striking offenders was Real Marriage, a book that turned out to have been given a spot on the NYT bestseller list with help from Result Source.  In the rest of Roosevelt's speech he addressed the wrongness of admiring a "false standard of success".  To that concern in Roosevelt's 1910 speech we shall turn.

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