August 10, 2012

Fareed Zakaria plagiarism screwup.

How is it possible for someone in his position to make a mistake of that kind?

The risk far outweighs any convenience in copying material like this. It can't be deliberate. It's easy these days to copy something for your notes and later simply mistake it for something you've written. It's also possible that someone else, someone untrustworthy, ghostwrites for him. Or perhaps there are talking points floating around in email and both LePore and Zakaria cut and pasted the same thing.

42 comments:

Revenant said...

I don't see what the scandal is. Gun control proponents have been recycling the same talking points for eighty years. It isn't as though the person he plagiarized had any original contributions.

This is kind of like hearing that a porn film ripped off another porn film's plot. "Oh, we TOTALLY used that same cheerleader routine in Big Bottom Girls 17!"

Chip S. said...

@revenant, it's the tragedy of the commons.

Consider how much less bullshit you'd have to wade through on any given day of reading if everybody had to come up with something original.

Steven said...

It's not just following talking points, though, it's copying substantial amounts of direct text. He isn't being paid to have original ideas, but he is being paid to write.

(Unless, of course, the NYTimes doesn't fire him, in which case it will be clear he wasn't actually being paid to write, either.)

Revenant said...

Hard to say, Chip. Most original ideas are pretty dumb. Clones of a familiar dumb argument are easier to filter out.

Like "oh look, they're bringing up the Columbine shootings again. Skip!".

Revenant said...

I guess what I'm saying, Steven, is that Zakaria is paid to lie. He knows it, Time knows it, and CNN knows it. They know their arguments are a load of crap; they just don't care. Fear sells. It brings in viewers and readers, and that sells advertising.

It is sort of like hearing a con artist got mugged. Yeah, that's illegal. Yeah, in theory I'm against it -- morally unacceptable, everyone has rights, etc etc. I guess I'll pencil in "give a rat's ass" on my day planner, but if other appointments come up it'll have to get bumped.

Chip Ahoy said...

That article has two updates at the bottom, my spidey sense tingled, ewwww that's nice, this is where it is checked to see who follows the link. And you know what? Gore Vidal is alive and well in me, he sure is. I cheer inside. I do. I know I'm bad because of that and the little cherubs and seraphim flying around are all going, oh, that's not nice at all," but I just can't help it.

Too bad he didn't use his own thinky thoughts. If he has them. We all would recognize the unique whinge.

YoungHegelian said...

Every time I read Zakaria lately he comes across as a pompous dick. A journalist who feels the need & thinks he has the capability to mouth off on every issue domestic & foreign.

This is how he was doing it. He probably had a gaggle of "producers" who were feeding him stories. This time, one of them didn't do his/her sourcing too well, and ole Zacky has to take the fall.

My guess is that both reporters cribbed from a third set of talking points. But we'll probably never know, because, what, you think the press is going to look into it?

Matthew Sablan said...

The question is: How many times has he plagiarized and not got caught? It may be a perfectly rational risk to take if the answer is: Lots. Considering he got called out once and skated by, he probably thought he was invincible.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wow, producers in your ear. And I thought this tinnitus was bad.

mesquito said...

It was a pretty safe bet. 99.74% of its subcribers get The New Yorker as a vanity knicknack for their coffee tables. In fact, he was busted by a gun nut researching his fatuous claims.

America's Politico said...

Fareed is a friend of the POTUS. SO, we feel sorry. This HuffPost writer is jealous of us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-sleeper/fareed-zakaria-plagiarism_b_1765903.html

The book you all should be reading is by Samuel Popkin, The Candidate. This describes clearly how Obama defeated Clinton and how he will defeat Romney.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Candidate-Takes-White-House/dp/0199922071/

Donald said...

I don't buy that business about how it's easy to copy something like this and then later get confused and think you'd written it yourself. How can one be so addled as to not remember whether or not one has researched 150-to-200 year old statutes of ten different states and dug up a quote from from Texas' 1893 governor?

America's Politico said...

The trouble is that both Zakaria and Lehrer are in dual worlds - academia and journalism. So, instead of living in standards of both worlds, they live in neither. Who will examine their books/papers (Columbia/Oxford for Lehrer and Yale/Harvard for Fareed)? What does it tell about these institutions? What does it tell about their mentors/advisors? What does it tell about the employers? So many questions, but no real answers.

There is only one question: Who is the next POTUS? The answer is obvious: POTUS Obama.

edutcher said...

It does sound like just plain lazy, but, since they're all journo-listed, I'm sure he figured it was all in the family.

John Lynch said...

Why can't it be deliberate?

John Lynch said...

My favorite pro-gun control media is Al Jazeera.

rhhardin said...

Progress implies plagiarism, according to Lautreamont.

Incognito said...

The whole underlying scenario is so preposterous -- I know, I'll plagiarize from the New Yorker and no one will notice -- the most likely explanation is that a sloppy researcher ghost wrote the column. Zakaria owes his readers a more detailed explanation for what happened.

Bender said...

It's easy these days to copy something for your notes and later simply mistake it for something you've written.

No, it's easy to cut-and-paste something, and then the source gets lost and forgotten, and then after a passage of time, one forgets whether it was copied or an original writing.

But making various alterations to the material, sentence-by-sentence, combined with a fairly short time-frame, demonstrates an intentional appropriation and attempt to make it one's own.

Bender said...

But, let's be honest here -- the mainstream media is overwhelmingly filled with plagarized material.

The MSM is a veritable echo chamber, with people hearing something from one source and simply repeating it, often verbatim, while giving the impression of being original thought.

Rush Limbaugh often demonstrates this with media soundbites, with a dozen or more MSM reporters and commenters all sounding like they are reading from the same script, word-for-word.

Paul Kirchner said...

Time and CNN fire Fareed to demonstrate that they maintain high journalistic standards. Meanwhile, they sweep Fast & Furious under the rug and ignore other major national issues that conflict with pc ideology. Like Revenant, I don't see why it's such a big deal when one liberal journalist parrots the anti-gun boilerplate of another.

Bender said...

Journo-list anyone?

The MSM appropriates other people's material so often they don't even recognize it as dishonest.

traditionalguy said...

The Indians believe in whatever the current buzz may be. They are tolerant.

In the censorship days the sexy and breasty dancing women could not be shown, unless the were from a foreign culture like Hispanic or middle eastern, then they could fervently dance like emotional idiots.

Zakaira performs using a similar other culture exemption when he analyzes issue for CNN at a deep level that an American could never say on TV and newspapers because it goes beyond the narrative we are allowed to hear on those subjects. Crazy foreigners, you know.

He is a good discussion starter. But this time someone used his exemption to express deep thoughts and raise a deep analysis, but they did not know one without copying one.

AJ Lynch said...

Please tell me the last time any of these librul, national polipundits had a great idea or a great column.

A. Shmendrik said...

Zakaria: "You cannot fire me, I hereby resign! I'm away from this refuse concentration pit!"

bagoh20 said...

Although it's technically plagiarism, I'm not bothered by it. The paragraph is basically a list of facts. There isn't anything original in the original either. He could have rewrote it with more changes to avoid the charge, but is that really that important if you are going to state the exact same list of historic facts.

I guess this stuff is important to academics, but I mostly just care what the argument says, not where it came from. I'm not grading his exam or something.

Original music or even written fiction is one thing, but opinion, thick with facts, is another animal all together. We just see them as similar works, because they share a similar media and method.

Steve Austin said...

In the liberal world you can survive plagiarism.

See Joe Biden and his Neil Kinnock speeches that in an earlier era of accountability and standards derailed his POTUS run.

Or better yet, I still see Doris Kearns Goodwin's obnoxious mug still on Meet the Press.

Bill Clinton broke the door down with Monica as it related to bad personal or ethical behavior having any consequences in the liberal world.

technologist said...

How can any Leftist screeds be original? They've been recycling failed ideology for over a century.

Jason said...

Here's his entry in a list of the 100 most over-rated thinkers.

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/96141/over-rated-thinkers?page=0,1

Fareed Zakaria is enormously important to an understanding of many things, because he provides a one-stop example of conventional thinking about them all...


"there's something suspicious about a thinker always so perfectly in tune with the moment.


Funny stuff!

wef said...

I won't believe this smear until Ms. Althouse reads and reports it in the New York Times.

garage mahal said...

Let's invade Iraq!

Me plagiarizing Zakaria around 2002.

Badger PUndit said...

His apology uses very precise, mostly passive, wording which perfectly matches: (1) a ghostwriter did this without his knowledge; and (2) he's taking full responsibility. Other media outlets ought to press him on the mechanics of how this happened, and especially on whether a ghostwriter was involved.

Robin said...

Not mere copying, but copying of bungled, incompetent, fact-free recycled Brady Campaign propaganda.

David said...

Fahreed has issued a 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 23 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.

Even his confession is dishonest. What was the "mistake?" Did he carelessly use the language. Or did he try to deceive? That's left unclear.

All his ideas have been borrowed for years. It's just a short step to appropriating actual language.

This guy was (supposedly) a media intellectual superstar. Mr. authority. We are drowning in bullshit.

Craig said...

He got it from the New Yorker. His crime was translating it into American English. Most people just look at the cartoons.

Gary Rosen said...

"someone in his position"

What position is that? Resident pontificating leftist douchebag for one of the more pathetic remnants of the dying and discredited MSM?

Kirk Parker said...

"99.74% of its subscribers get The New Yorker as a vanity knicknack for their coffee tables."

I only read it for the cartoons.

Jim Norris said...

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Why so defensive about academic misconduct?

PaulV said...

Amusing how little the jouralisters know about the history of the Bill of Rights getting applied to the states.

Joe said...

Zakaria has always been a phony with no intellectual depth. He simply postures. That he plagiarized is no surprise. That he didn't do it more often is.

harkin said...

The New Yorker still has some good writing, it's just a smaller percentage of the overall content than before. Plus you now have to wade through much more DNC talking points. It's not as far gone from what-it-once-was as Vanity Fair or Time.

Amanda Rawlings, Esq. said...

I am sorry to see such lightheartedness about a man who has been committing purposeful, knowing plagiarism for more than a decade. See below:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2009/05/the-new-newsweek-now-with-less-reporting/18260/#

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-sleeper/fareed-zakaria-plagiarism_b_1765903.html