Every Writer a Thief
'Every writer is a thief, though some of us are more clever than others at disguising our robberies. The reason writers are such slow readers is that we are ceaselessly searching for things we can steal and then pass off as our own: a natty bit of syntax, a seamless transition, a metaphor that jumps to its target like an arrow shot from an aluminum crossbow.'
--from master essayist Joseph Epstein, the former editor of American Scholar, writing in The Weekly Standard.
UPDATE: Here's a nice overview, from the New York Observer's Media Mob column/blog, of the details of the real journalistic fabricators and plagiarists.