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Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Or at least that's what we hope was thinking.

4:18 PM, Feb 21, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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It's not exactly a secret that The Weekly Standard has many friends at Fox News. So we were a bit surprised to see the following story on, 'Dishing Woes Don't Wash Away' by Mary Quinn O'Connor:

Since July, people have been wondering why their dishes are not as clean.

“I thought I needed a new dishwasher,” said Florida resident Gloria Share. “My dishes were very very filmy. I couldn’t even use them. I had to do it over by hand.”

Share wasn’t the only one. Frank Switalski of Perla’s Appliance Plus said they were getting a lot of complaints.“We were getting a lot of service calls because people were seeing film on their dishes,” said Switalski.

Now, over 7 months later, people are becoming more aware of what the problem is, and it isn’t because of their dishwashers. After studies showed that one of the key ingredients in dishwasher detergent, phosphate, was leaking into rivers and reservoirs, decreasing oxygen for fish and plants, environmentalists took a strong stand to ban the compound from detergent.

Now Weekly Standard subscribers (and if you're not already a subsciber, please rectify that omission) were treated to the following cover story by Jonathan V. Last in the January 31 issue:

Another Triumph for the Greens

To go with toilets that don’t flush and light bulbs that don’t light, we now have dishwashers that don’t wash.

Last's story covers eerily similar ground as the story and happens to predate it by a few weeks. Now normally that's fine -- it's safe to say that nobody owns the environmentalists-take-on-dishwasher-soap beat. Except for one small detail. Here's Last's story:

Grace Segrist, of Mumma’s Appliances in central Pennsylvania, explains that for the last five years, dishwasher technology has been walking a tightrope between efficiency and performance and the switch to phosphate-free detergents finally pushed many consumers over the edge. “The old dishwashers used 16 to 18 gallons of water during a wash cycle,” Segrist explains, “and used hotter water, too.”

Now here's O'Connor's story:

“People have come out and bought more energy efficient dishwashers, thinking that will solve it. People have been adding more soap thinking that will solve it. But when you add too much soap, it gets pumped into the motor,” said Mumma’s Appliance owner Seagrist Grace. “People are kind of clueless about detergent.”

It seems awfully unlikely that O'Connor and Last randomly decided to call the same obscure appliance shop in central Pennsylvania and talk to the same person. If O'Connor was inspired by Last's story to re-report the same issue and add some new details, great. But a tip of the cap is in order here, no?

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