Media Blog

How Much More Plagiarism by Fareed Zakaria Is Out There?

In case you missed it: Fareed Zakaria was caught plagerizing a recent piece on gun control. Hat-Tip NRO’s Robert verBruggen.

Reports are that Time suspended him for a month; CNN, indefinitely, pending a review.

Here is Zakaria’s apology:

“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 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 to my readers.”

But how much more plagiarism is out there? Gawker:

Zakaria has faced accusations of plagiarism in the past.

In 2009, Jeffrey Goldberg claimed he “borrowed” from him without attribution. And earlier this year, The Boston Globe noted that two of Zakaria’s commencement speeches were “essentially identical.”

The HuffPo’s Jim Sleeper calls what Zakaria did “worse than it looks,” and put forward a “blame-the-intern” hypothesis:

A few hours ago Fareed Zakaria apologized publicly for passing off New Yorker writer Jill Lepore’s work as his own in an essay he wrote for Time magazine. Not to put too fine a point on it, Zakaria committed egregious plagiarism, as Alexander Abad-Santos of the Atlantic Wire reported.

But the offense does not end there. Zakaria is a trustee of Yale, which takes a very dim view of plagiarism and suspends or expels students who commit anything like what he has committed here. If the Yale Corporation were to apply to itself the standards it expects its faculty and students to meet, Zakaria would have to take a leave or resign.

Worse still: Lepore, whom Zakaria wronged by misappropriating her work, is herself a Yale PhD. If anyone knows what it means to steal another scholar’s work, it’s Zakaria, who holds a PhD from Harvard.

Zakaria is a busy man, of course. Although he’s been judged by The New Republic to be one of America’s “most-overrated thinkers,” he was interviewed about the state of the world last year by Yale President Richard Levin before a large audience at the kick-off off Yale’s $50 million Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the new home of “Professor” Stanley McChrystal and of what Lewis Lapham has called “the arts and sciences of career management,” including mastery of “the exchange rate between an awkward truth and a user-friendly lie.”

Zakaria was Harvard’s commencement speaker this June and, as Paul Starobin reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, he’s also very busy collecting his standard speaking fee of $75,000 for talks he gives to at Baker Capital, Catterton Partners, Driehaus Capital Management, ING, Merrill Lynch, Oak Investment Partners, Charles Schwab, and T. Rowe Price.

Might Zakaria then have fobbed off the drafting of his ill-fated Time article to an assistant or intern (from Yale, perhaps?) and given the draft his glancing approval before letting it run under his byline in Time? Whatever the truth, he couldn’t have fobbed off the blame on anyone but himself, and so he has issued his clipped but “unreserved” apology to Lepore.

John Podhoretz, regarding the intern hypothesis, via Twitter:

4:45 Who wants to take the “Fareed’s intern actually wrote the whole column” square in the pool?

and. . .

4:49 The irony: Fareed could never admit that he had an intern write the column. . . . worse than plagiarism perhaps . . .

More to come.

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