Sky News presenter and Courier Mail columnist Peter Gleeson has left News Corp after multiple cases of plagiarism were uncovered.
The Courier-Mail announced its fate on Thursday and it left nothing to be desired: “In a personal note to The Courier-Mail editor Chris Jones today, Mr Gleeson said: ‘I apologize for breaching the Code of Conduct from News Corp and instances where I failed to meet required standards.”
“This follows recent examples of material first written by others and appearing in articles published under Mr. Gleeson’s byline.
“In his note, Mr. Gleeson said he has had exceptional career opportunities during his 34-year career with News Corp, adding that ‘it’s a fantastic company that I have the utmost respect for.'”
It’s a humiliating end for Gleeson, a former editor of several Murdoch newspapers and a right-wing mouthpiece for Sky News, where he is close to CEO Paul Whittaker.
Earlier this week, the Guardian reported it had filled nearly half a column with unattributed reporting from a regional ABC journalist.
The plagiarism was identified by Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission, which has been combing Gleeson’s work since he was caught for similar offenses – including the Guardian Australia, which revealed that it filled 62% of an article with copies from a Queensland Parliament factsheet would have.
In his Gleeso Confidential column, the former Sunday Mail editor used hundreds of words from the official document without quotation marks.
“The Queensland legislature is unique among Australian state legislatures in that it is unicameral, meaning it has only one chamber,” he wrote without attribution.
“Unicameral parliaments are unusual in the parliamentary democracies of Westminster.
“The standard parliamentary model in Westminster democracies is bicameral, consisting of a lower house and an upper house.”
The article then copies 21 more paragraphs from the fact sheet.
Gleeson’s plagiarism first drew attention when he was caught stealing four paragraphs of political analysis from then-ABC Brisbane reporter Josh Bavas.
Gleeson’s article was part of a 12-page “Special Inquiry by Peter Gleeson” in the Saturday paper headlined “Might and Palaszczuk.” It was a hit with Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk.
After Bavas posted his article alongside Gleeson’s on Twitter, Courier-Mail staff wanted to know what Jones would do about the plagiarism.
Jones told them he took it seriously and posted an unusually candid note for a News Corp editor on the offending online article: “Editor’s note: A previous version of this story contained four paragraphs that were not the author’s work. News Corporation’s code of conduct states that “plagiarism is theft.” The Courier-Mail apologizes for this error.”
The Courier-Mail published an apology from Gleeson on page four, claiming the plagiarism was “unintentional.”
“I deeply regret that material written by another journalist appeared in The Courier-Mail last Saturday under my authorship,” he said. “This was not a conscious act on my part to use someone else’s work and present it as my own.”
But after further revelations of plagiarism, including from ABC’s Media Watch, which found that Gleeson had taken large chunks of a 2015 story by former Courier-Mail journalist Jason Tin, he was fired.