The Worm Turns for Fareed Zakaria?
Not much had happened on the Fareed Zakaria plagiarism accusation front lately…until this week. Now things are heating up again in a big way as media entities which had previously stood by Zakaria are now slapping disclaimers/corrections/warnings on old Zakaria articles. The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove has an extensive wrap up on the latest developments…
This week, The Washington Post, where Zakaria has penned an op-ed column, and the online magazine Slate, where he once wrote about martinis, publicly criticized his professionalism and ethics. Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, previously one of Zakaria’s staunch defenders—he called the plagiarism charges “reckless” when Our Bad Media criticized several Zakaria columns three months ago—said the paper will likely slap warnings on five of his columns published before August 2012.
The offending columns—among six cited on Monday by @BlippoBlappo and @Crushingbort—“strike me as problematic in their absence of full attribution,” Hiatt told the Poynter Institute, adding that Zakaria’s lapses are “unfair to readers and to the original sources.”
In an email to The Daily Beast, Hiatt explained his change of heart this way: “In the first batch of columns that were posted, I did not think the allegations concerning the [Washington Post] columns had merit. The anonymous posters put up six new allegations yesterday, and we looked at those and felt, on preliminary look, that five of them were problematic. We’re looking more carefully now, and where my preliminary view holds up, we will post messages, I hope within the next day or two.”
Meanwhile, the editors of Slate said Zakaria’s light-hearted February 1998 column about the martini “does not meet Slate’s editorial standards, having failed to properly attribute quotations and information drawn from Max Rudin’s history of the Martini, which appeared in American Heritage in 1997.”
Last Friday, Newsweek, where Zakaria had been the longtime editor of the weekly’s international edition prior to the newsmag’s now-defunct merger with The Daily Beast, identified seven articles, dating back to November 2001, that “borrow extensively [from other authors] without proper attribution” and do “not meet editorial standards.”
The heat has been turned back up on Zakaria. Newsweek, The Washington Post, and Slate have all slapped labels on Zakaria articles. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we have yet to hear from Time on its previously “announced” investigation of articles Zakaria wrote for them.
Meanwhile, CNN can’t be pleased with this. It seemed that everyone had moved off Zakaria and the network’s head in the sand PR strategy would succeed after all. Now the spotlight is back on Zakaria and that means it’s back on CNN and the question of how its intransigence in clinging to that statement that Zakaria met its journalistic standards squares with the backpeddling that Zakaria’s other past and current employers are now doing by slapping all these lables on Zakaria articles.
What does it say about a network that says an employee meets its standards when his other employers are now saying that at least some of his work did not meet their standards?