Our Bad Media, a site staffed with two anonymous writers who have dug up countless instances of what they (and journalism ethics experts) say are outright acts of plagiarism committed by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, have found yet another. According to @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, this one occurred in a 1998 Slate column.
Apparently it was SlateGroup editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg who begged for this scrutiny after taking to Twitter to mock AND DISMISS Our Bad Media’s Zakaria reporting. After pointing out the long-term friendship between Zakaria and Weisberg, @blippoblappo and @crushingbort dig into column Zakaria wrote for Slate in 1998 titled “Toward The Wet Martini.” The similarities to a 1997 American Heritage column on the same subject are pretty striking:
1. Zakaria lifts Rudin’s passage that in the 19th century, cocktails were known as morning “eye-openers.”
2. While Rudin says the martini “acquired…a glamorous mystique” in the post-war era, Zakaria thinks it “acquired an air of mystery and glamour.”
3. Rudin states that FDR, Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nick Charles–a fictional character from the novel and movie The Thin Man–enjoyed a martini.
4. Fareed Zakaria not only mentions all the same people, but appears to have gotten the impression from Rudin’s article that Nick Charles, among “the most debonair men of the time,” was a real person who appeared in a movie.
5. Zakaria also uses Rudin’s note on FDR’s preference for a teaspoon of olive brine.
And then there’s this….
Zakaria’s rumination on the martini is only a little over 1000 words long. Although he refers to Rudin’s column in his second-to-last-paragraph, it does look as though he’s lifted numerous thoughts and factoids and rewritten much of Rudin’s work in a small space.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC