CNN's Fareed Zakaria Faces Accusations of Plagiarism

CNN's Fareed Zakaria Faces Accusations of Plagiarism

***3rd Update:  CNN has suspended Zakaria indefinitely, and say he plagiarized the same article in a CNN blog post:

We have reviewed Fareed Zakaria’s TIME column, for which he has apologized. He wrote a shorter blog post on on the same issue which included similar unattributed excerpts. That blog post has been removed and CNN has suspended Fareed Zakaria while this matter is under review.

Judging from the reaction on Twitter, Zakaria was not a man with many friends in media. No one’s saying, “Nice guy who made a mistake.” If anything, media figures are taking some pleasure from Zakaria’s fall — which is a very big deal.

This second act of plagiarism might plunge the tarnished star to Dan Rather/KeithOlbermann-ville.

***2nd Update:  Time Magazine suspends Zakaria ‘”pending further review“:

TIME accepts Fareed’s apology, but what he did violates our own standards for our columnists, which is that their work must not only be factual but original; their views must not only be their own but their words as well. As a result, we are suspending Fareed’s column for a month, pending further review.

I suspect we will hear from CNN shortly.

***UPDATE: Zakaria has issued the following statement:

“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 22nd 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.”

This isn’t even close to acceptable. He’s pretty much admitting to what he’s been accused of. How in the world is, “Yeah, sorry, my bad!” appropriate.

Our friend Tim Graham at Newsbusters lays it out:

When CNN host and Time editor-at-large Fareed Zakaria wrote a new piece called “The Case for Gun Control,” it ended with a bang: “So when people throw up their hands and say we can’t do anything about guns, tell them they’re being un-American–and unintelligent.”

Here’s something that suggests a lack of intelligence: plagiarism. Cam Edwards at suggested to me that Zakaria seemed to plagiarize a paragraph from an April article in The New Yorker magazine — with a modicum word-usage changes and interjections (Texas!) in an attempt to paper it over.

Graham then puts both paragraphs side by side.

I’m no journalist — and therefore have no idea what rises to the level of plagiarism, but there’s no question that the similarity in the paragraphs is striking.

Graham also points out that this is not the first time Zakaria has faced these accusations.

Picking up where Newsbusters left off, The Atlantic found two more, although less egregious examples of similarities between Zarakria’s Time piece and the one in question in The New Yorker:

Zakaria’s column also includes two more instances of similarities to Lepore’s piece, the next two paragraphs after the one cited above, in fact. As the National Review’s Robert VerBruggen points out (because he took issue with its accuracy) they both describe a Supreme Court decision the same way.

According to the Atlantic, neither Zakaria or The New Yorker has yet commented. Time Magazine, the publication where Zakaria’s piece appeared, has said its looking into it.

Like I said, I can’t comment on what reaches the definition of plagiarism, but it sure seems like the dumbest, laziest crime in the world to me. How hard is it to rewrite a paragraph and then link to the original source? How hard is it to copy and paste the paragraph like I did above so no one confuses it with your work?

Zakaria might have a legitimate explanation for this, but he will have to explain it.

UPDATE: The headline of this piece has been changed as the story updated.


Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC


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