Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin Is Taking Some Lumps

And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.

The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who has now acknowledged that even more of her work was lifted from that of other authors than she had previously acknowledged, is taking some lumps. The University of Delaware has revoked its invitation for her to speak at its graduation this year. And PBS has put her on indefinite leave from her role as a contributor to the network's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. PBS described the decision as "mutual."

The New York Times, meanwhile, stands accused of going soft in its reporting of Goodwin's latest acknowledgment. Its Saturday report never once uses the word "plagiarism" to describe Goodwin's copying of the work of others. Instead it refers to "passages copied," "unacknowledged repetitions," "derivative passages," "repeated sentences" and "inappropriate borrowing." That last phrase prompted B.C. Milligan of Cockeysville, Md., to suggest sardonically in a letter to the editor that the U.S. penal code be revised so that speeding, for example, would become "inappropriate acceleration," and burglary would be "inappropriate possession of the property of others."

The Secret Service has now acknowledged that agents assigned to guard Vice President Cheney left a document outlining their security plans in a gift shop during Cheney's visit to the Winter Olympics on Sunday night. The shop proprietor found the papers, which described the assignments of 17 Secret Service agents, and returned it to the agency office in Salt Lake City. A Secret Service spokesman insisted that while the plans were meant for law enforcement eyes only, their loss would not have compromised overall security. The matter is under investigation.

And Aaron Sorkin, creator and writer of the NBC hit The West Wing has reportedly apologized to Tom Brokaw for dismissing Brokaw's hour long White House tour and interview with President Bush as a "valentine to the president." Sorkin also said the White House had "pumped up the president's schedule to show him being much busier and engaged than he is." NBC Entertainment Chief Jeff Zucker said Sorkin was "just wrong" about that and that Sorkin had apologized to Brokaw for getting it wrong.