Time magazine and CNN both suspended journalist Fareed Zakaria on Friday after he was caught plagiarising from the New Yorker in the latest scandal to hit the world of American journalism. (via Fareed Zakaria suspended from Time and CNN for plagiarising content | Media | guardian.co.uk)
- Zakaria, who writes columns for Time and hosts a CNN television show, had written an article for the magazine on the issue of gun control following the recent mass shootings in Colorado. A short version also appeared as a blog post on CNN’s website.
- However, several blogs, such as conservative media watchdog Newsbusters and the National Review online, spotted similarities between parts of Zakaria’s column and a piece on the same topic in an April issue of the The New Yorker.
- The paragraphs in question largely involved descriptions of historical events and context about gun control in America and do not seem anywhere near as serious as other famed plagiarists – such as Jayson Blair at the New York Times and Stephen Glass at the New Republic who made up entire quotes, people and incidents.
- “Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my Time column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 23rd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at Time, and to my readers,” Zakaria said.
The incident is merely the latest in a long line of acts of plagiarism that have been spotted at all levels of American journalism.
- The New Yorker itself was recently involved in a scandal after one of its newest hires, popular science writer Jonah Lehrer, “self-plagiarised” from some of his own earlier columns.
- Lehrer survived that moment and kept his job but it was later revealed he had also made up some Bob Dylan quotes for his latest book. That title – Imagine – was then withdrawn from sale by his publisher and he was sacked from the New Yorker.
- Lehrer joins a list of journalists who have fallen short of accepted good practice of late. Earlier this week Nevada Appeal columnist Bob Thomas was exposed for having apparently copied large parts of a widely circulated and 13-year-old internet essay on America’s Founding Fathers and passed it off as his own column.
- Last month the New Canaan News in Connecticut sacked reporter Paresh Jha for fabricating quotes and making up interviews in at least 25 different stories. In June the Wall Street Journal fired intern Liane Membis after it was discovered that she had also made up names and quotes for an article about the re-opening of a bridge in New York.