Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fareed Zakaria's Fall From Grace

This one hurts.  When I learned a few days ago that Fareed Zakaria had been suspended by both Time and CNN for plagiarism, I was dumbstruck.  Over the last few months I had grown fond of watching his GPS show every Sunday morning.  It was among my favorite shows to watch; informative, relevant and thought-provoking.

I'm not quite sure what it was that drove him to literally lift an entire paragraph from another journalist and use it in one of his pieces; I'd prefer to think it was sheer laziness, rather than flat out steeling.  Who knows?

There is no such thing as a truly original piece of work.  All of us, from time to time, borrow a thought or a word or two from another writer's inspiration.  Hopefully we can expand upon it and take it further.  But an entire paragraph, that's hard to swallow. 

I have been especially careful over the last few months to include links to pieces I have referenced in my work, and, where appropriate, quoted the passages or italicized sections so that there is no mistaking my words for another's.

Zakaria forgot that rule and he has paid a terrible price for his sin of commission.  I hope he can fully recover from this episode, because, even with what he has done, he is still one of the best and most articulate minds in journalism today.  It would be a terrible tragedy to lose someone so gifted.

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