Sky News presenter and Courier-Mail columnist Peter Gleeson has left News Corp after several cases of plagiarism were revealed.
The courier post announced his fate on Thursday and it came to nothing: “In a personal note to The Courier-Mail editor Chris Jones today, Mr Gleeson said: ‘I apologize for breaches of News Corp’s code of conduct and instances where I have failed to meet the required standards ‘ .
“This follows recent examples of material first written by others appearing in articles published under Mr Gleeson’s byline.
“In his memo, Mr Gleeson said he had had extraordinary career opportunities during a 34-year career at News Corp, adding that ‘it is a great company for which I have the utmost respect’.”
It is 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 chief executive Paul Whittaker.
Earlier this week, the Guardian reported that he had almost half full a column of uncredited reporting by a regional ABC journalist.
The plagiarism was identified by Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission, which has been trawling through Gleeson’s work since he was caught for similar offenses – including by Guardian Australiawhich revealed he filled 62% of an article with copy from a Queensland Parliament fact sheet.
In his Gleeso Confidential column, the former editor of the Sunday Mail used hundreds of words from the official document without quotation marks.
“The Queensland Parliament is unique among Australian state parliaments in that it is unicameral, that is, it has only one chamber,” he wrote without attribution.
“Unicameral legislatures are uncommon in Westminster parliamentary democracies.
“The standard parliamentary model in Westminster democracies includes two chambers, consisting of a House of Commons and a House of Audit.”
The article then goes on to copy another 21 paragraphs from the fact sheet.
Gleeson’s plagiarism first came to attention when he was caught lifting four paragraphs of political analysis from then-ABC Brisbane reporter Josh Bavas.
Gleeson’s feature formed part of a 12-page “Special Investigation by Peter Gleeson” in the Saturday paper headlined “Power and Palaszczuk”. It was a hit job at the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.
After Bavas posted his article side-by-side on Twitter with Gleeson’s, Courier-Mail staff demanded to know what Jones would do about the plagiarism.
Jones told them he took it seriously, posting an uncharacteristically candid note to a News Corp editor on the offending online article: “Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained four paragraphs that were not the work of the author. News Corporation’s Code of conduct states that ‘plagiarism is theft’. The Courier-Mail apologizes for this error.”
The Courier-Mail published a page four apology from Gleeson, in which he claimed the plagiarism was “unintentional”.
“I deeply regret that material written by another journalist appeared under my byline in The Courier-Mail on Saturday,” he said. “This was not a deliberate act of mine to use another person’s work and present it as my own.”
But after further revelations of plagiarism, including by the ABCs Media monitoring which found Gleeson took large chunks of a 2015 story by former Courier-Mail journalist Jason Tin, he was let go.