Someone called Johann Hari has provoked a great burst of laughter throughout Britain. It’s always a joy when someone who strikes a fierce and moral pose is revealed openly and irredeemably as a hypocrite and cheapskate. And that’s our Hari, who is a journalist very keen to give us the benefit of his opinion, and at the top of his voice too.
He specialises in interviews, and one was with an Afghan women’s-rights activist by the name of Malalai Joya. A blogger spotted that the published interview passed off a number of quotes and formulations lifted word for word from a book by this lady as if they were direct speech. In the immediate wake of this plagiaristic subterfuge other bloggers showed that Hari had done the same in previous interviews, for instance with Toni Negri, the last surviving anti-capitalist Marxist-Leninist, and with Gideon Levy, an Israeli who thinks we all ought to bring down that country. Hari at once began wittering about “interview etiquette” in his “intellectual portraits,” and pretended that he wasn’t a plagiarist at all but quoting ideas as expressed by his subjects in writing rather than how they’d expressed it in speech. The belly laughs reached a crescendo before he confessed, “Now I see it was wrong, and I wouldn’t do it again.”
Another journalistic subterfuge of Hari’s should be out in the blogosphere as it helps to fill in the portrait of this fine fellow. He signed on for an NR cruise under false pretences, pretending to be on board like everyone else when his intention was to ridicule the magazine, its ideas, and the readers he was meeting. What goes around always comes around. He’s now the object of ridicule, and has only his own untrustworthiness to blame for it.