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Fareed Zakaria suspended from CNN and Time for plagiarism “mistake”

Fareed Zakaria suspended from CNN and Time for plagiarism “mistake”

CNN host and Time magazine contributor Fareed Zakaria has been suspended by both outlets after Newsbusters reported Friday he had plagiarized a column. It was Cam Edwards of NRA News who first noticed the irregularity; he then tipped off Tim Graham at Newsbusters.

Tim Graham of Newsbusters reports:

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.

In response, Zakaria wrote the following apology on the CNN blog:

Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my Time column on gun control, which was also a topic of conversation on this blog, 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 CNN, and to my readers and viewers everywhere.

CNN’s Howard Kurtz addressed the scandal on his Sunday morning show, “Reliable Sources,” calling it an “insidious journalistic disease” and putting the plagiarized material up on the screen to contrast the words with original source. Kurtz ended the segment by saying:

Now, I have seen a number of plagiarism cases, far more extensive than this one, but that misses the point. Borrowing someone else’s words without credit is a cardinal journalistic sin, which is why Fareed Zakaria did one smart thing here, and that is quickly owning up to his mistake.

A one-month suspension (Time) seems pretty light for such a blatant breach of ethics.

In my experience, plagiarism is never a mistake.


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In journalism plagiarism was generally a capital offense when it came to your career. I guess it is different is you are working for the right left side.

I think Time’s ban was one month. CNN I think has not committed yet.

Still, Zakaria’s credibility is significantly damaged by this. And I do not think his ratings are all that great anyway.

All Joe Biden had to do was pull out of the 1988 election…and wait for the Dem friendly media to change its mind….with Obama’s blessing Im sure.

    Cassandra Lite in reply to jimzinsocal. | August 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Biden didn’t just plagiarize Neil Kinnock’s words. He appropriated Kinnock’s biography. That is, he made up an entirely new Joe Biden—which isn’t a bad instinct. Still…

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Cassandra Lite. | August 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      For a Democrat, doing that isn’t lying. Instead, it is creating a composite ____________. In this case, ‘self’ goes in the blank.

      It only makes sense when you consider that Progressocrats are usually unqualified, despicable, unengaged, fraudulent, inexperienced. Whereas you and I might ‘pad our resume’, progs must create a self from scratch. Hence, the term, composite. Elsewhere, the term is bald faced lie.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to jimzinsocal. | August 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    It’s one thing to get past such an act in the career of a pol. Many have done as bad or worse and survived it, which says more about we the people than it does the pol. But when plagiarism is committed by a supposed journalist? GMAB. This guy needs to be canned, just like Jason What’s-his-name was.

So, Pres. Composite’s favorite author and wannabe adviser is caught with his hand in the honey-pot?

And what did he chose to lift? Pure crap.

So, BOTH plagiarism and stupid. That is an aggravated offense!

i’m sure he thinks his only mistake was getting caught.

All those layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors and … NewsBusters is the one to find the plagiarism.

How much are they paying those layers and layers of editors and fact checkers??

Are they paying NewsBusters for doing their job for them?

As I was sayin’:

Now, I have seen a number of plagiarism cases, far more extensive than this one, but that misses the point. Borrowing someone else’s words without credit is a cardinal journalistic sin, which is why Fareed Zakaria did one smart thing here, and that is quickly owning up to his mistake.

OOPS! <"quickly owning up to it.." Carrion.

There are some cases where inadvertent plagiarism is possible: a writer who reads a lot and writes a catchy phrase or sentence, not realizing until after the fact (if at all) that it was subconsciously “lifted” from someone else.

But a whole paragraph? Sorry. Not buying it.

Seriously, who cares about plagiarism among liberals is hardly a crime. THey should be punishing the reporters for blatantly schilling for Obama in violation of their broadcast licenses. For forming a conspiracy to form an illegal cartel in the news industry so conservative points of view are blocked out. Those are serious crimes in violations of their duties as caretakers of our nations broadcast licenses.

Henry Hawkins | August 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Yeah, well, I heard George W. Bush say “all men are created equal”, heard it with MY OWN EARS, and also something about “inalienable rights”, and ever’body KNOW them words come from the Declaration of Independence, not from BUSH. I also heard him say that “through the Son” he could “find God’s grace”, something he STOLE from the danged BIBLE.

So, what the HELL, you stinkin’ conservatives??? You gonna hold some CNN talking head to a higher standard than a PRESIDENT of the United States???

Stupid rightie bastages.

Donald Douglas | August 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

It’s not a mistake: ‘Fire Fareed Zakaria!’

Richard Aubrey | August 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I don’t see the point in FZ’s plagiarism. Finding the appropriate and well-phrased piece is just as good, imo, as writing it yourself. So why not attribute it? Among other things, it implies you’ve done your homework and are familiar with work in the field.
Not that this was appropriate or particularly well-phrased, or anything like that, at all. But still, what’s to be lost by attributing it?
The downside of attributing it is…what, compared to the downside of being caught not attributing it?
Hard to think a rational person would go with non-attribution. So if it’s a rational choice, it’s because he knows everybody does it and the chance of being caught is one in a bazillion.

“The Case for Gun Control”…

Where does it end?
-we already have liberals making The Case for Sugary Drinks Control.

But wait, there’s more. This from caroline Glick’s home page beneath a full color picture of the positively glowing “journalist” decked out in full academic garb:

“Interestingly silent in this scandal is Zakaria’s other major professional home: Yale University. You see, in addition to his well known media and political associations, Zakaria also serves as the chairman of Yale University’s Educational Policy Committee. He also serves on the Yale Corporation’s Investments Committee.The Yale Corporation has had no response whatsoever to Zakaria’s transgression.

“While plagiarism is a horrible thing in the media, it is about the biggest academic crime known to man. And yet, again, Yale has taken no action against the plagiarist who heads its education policy committee.

“Nice university they’ve got there.”

The gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s the URL: go only if you have an hour to spend getting some real insight into the “Arab Spring,” the MB in Egypt, Romney’s visit to Isreal, and a tremendous speech and introduction out in LA for the for the Children of Holocaust Survivors.

Talk about a liberal echo chamber. When the press uses Democrat talking points, is that plagiarism too?

Deliberately stealing other people’s ‘stuff’ does not serve a higher purpose no matter how altruistic the thief pretends to be.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | August 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

This article makes the plausible argument that he did not steal stuff. Instead, the problem is that he hires “editorial assistants” to write for him.
That explains the apology, he’d rather be dinged for plagiarism than admit he doesn’t, you know, actually write anything. I don’t see any concrete evidence, just a theory, but it makes sense.

    Interesting point. It may have been a disgruntled assistant who passive-aggressively took this guy down.

    Fun fact: when I was in graduate school, my friend’s former advisor sued Deepak Chopra for plagiarism. This professor had been tipped off to the intellectual theft by his mom, who was reading one of Chopra’s books for her book club and thought that a few of the passages sounded just like her son’s articles. So basically it turned out that Deepak Chopra doesn’t write his own books, they are written by teams of graduate students at his university, and a certain professor who does research on the long-term effects of stress got a nice settlement out of the whole thing.

    Interestingly, the thing that led to a big payday for the professor was that it was NOT a verbatim quote: legally, if you just take a block quote and place it in your text, then you can later (if you are caught) claim “Oops, I forgot to put in the citation,” or you can say that you were sure you had cited that passage earlier but that the computer ate it or something. [I believe this was the excuse Doris Kearns Goodwin used when she was busted for plagiarism a few years ago.]

    However, because the text had been both lifted and tweaked, that was proof that the author had known the work was someone else’s and was trying to disguise that fact.

    Alteration of the quote text was proof of plagiaristic intent, and not just being sloppy about references, and thus was a far worse offense.

TrooperJohnSmith | August 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Plagiarism occurs accidentally with the same frequency as accidental ICBM launches on Good Friday, when that day also falls on the 13th of the month and there is a simultaneous total lunar eclipse.

Don’t make lame excuses. Fall on your sword. Become an MSNBC host. Disappear into obscurity.

“In my experience, plagiarism is never a mistake.”

Nonsense, Anne. It’s always a mistake – to get caught.

That Zakaria called his outright plagiarism a “mistake”, and that excuse was accepted by CNN, would be outrageous if it weren’t CNN.

Helps explain why CNN’s viewership is about 19 people during prime time.

During the suspension period, he appears to be well-suited to help out Elizabeth Warren in the writing Pow Wow Chow II.

[…] Zakaria, the Time columnist and host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, who was exposed plagiarizing his column and suspended on August 10, has suffered long enough, […]