By now, you should be familiar with the names of these two journalists who got into trouble, and have received some punishment, for plagiarism (FZ), manufactured quotes (JL) and a bit of self-plagiarism (JL). If not, start with this post at the Atlantic Wire by Alexander Abad-Santos [I thank my friend and colleague Atul Chokshi for the e-mail alert].
There has been quite a bit of commentary on the Lehrer affair which unravelled several weeks ago. Let me point you first to Mark Liberman's posts which shine a spotlight on the practice of "unquotations" which he says is so common in mainstream journalism; after laying out his case with tons of examples in two posts (Jonah Lehrer, Bob Dylan and Journalistic Unquotations, and More Unquotations from the New Yorker), Liberman provides a recap/summary in which he distinguishes between "journalistic carelessness and journalistic deceit" -- in Approximate Quotations.
Andrew Gelman, on the other hand, highlights the most important difference between the case of Jonah Lehrer and so many other cases involving academics: Lehrer got punished. The title of Gelman's post says it all: Double standard? Plagiarizing journos get slammed, plagiarizing profs just shrug it off.