Monday, August 13, 2012

'GPS' Host Loses Direction--Suspended by CNN/Time for Plagiarism

Time Magazine (September 13, 2010) ...item 2.....(Photo credit: marsmet541)Add Fareed Zakaria to the list of prominent media types tripped up by allegations of plagiarism.

The ubiquitous 48-year-old Zakaria, who hosts CNN foreign-affairs program GPS, is a Washington Post columnist and a Time Magazine editor at-large, admitted his recent Time column on gun control mirrored a more in-depth article on guns in America by Harvard University historian Jill Lepore that appeared in the April 23, 2012, issue of The New Yorker.

Zakaria's indiscretion was flagged by the NewsBusters conservative Web site and further disseminated by media columnist Jim Romanesko on his blog. Zakaria has been suspended indefinitely by CNN and for at least a month by Time pending further review of his past work. Both are Time Warner properties.

In reports by the Associated Press and The New York Times, Zakaria was quoted as saying: "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."

Zakaria, who holds degrees from Harvard and Yale, was taken to task earlier this year for delivering a commencement speech at Harvard very similar to one he previously gave at Duke University. The staff of "TUOL" thought the commencement flap a bit of a tempest in a teapot as both speeches were his words and views speakers who ride the college commencement gravy train as somewhat like touring stand-up comics who perform basically the same routines at clubs around the country. There are a limited number of ways, after all, to tell fresh-faced grads headed toward unemployment or Starbucks barista training to "make a difference."

Plagiarism, however, is no laughing matter to this blog. Laziness is a common factor in the offense, and often in the case of new journalists, ignorance plays a part, whereas hubris often is the downfall of more prominent media figures. Whatever the cause, it's theft and a fireable offense in the eyes of "TUOL."

It's sad to see an intelligent individual such as Zakaria take the walk of shame that author/science writer Jonah Lehrer took last month (see "TUOL" post 7/31/12) and  that cost Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sari Horwitz her job at the Washington Post last year (see "TUOL" post 3/23/11).
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