Was Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism a case of “journalistic lapse,” an “unintentional error and an isolated incident,” or is he just too valuable to his employers to get fired over a serious violation of a basic tenet of reportage? Either way, Mr. Zakaria appeared to emerge battered but victorious this week, after his suspension from TIME magazine and CNN television news channel, over allegations that he plagiarised lines in an article on gun control, was revoked and he was reinstated at both major media houses.
In restoring Mr. Zakaria to his Sunday morning, prime-time spot on the “GPS” show, CNN said it had completed an internal review of his work, “including a look back at his Sunday programs, documentaries, and CNN.com blogs.”
The rigorous review found nothing that merited continuing the suspension, it concluded, underscoring that Mr. Zakaria had apologised for the lapse and his “quality journalism, insightful mind and thoughtful voice meaningfully contribute to the dialogue on global and political issues.”
Similarly, a TIME spokesperson said it had completed a thorough review of each of his columns and was “entirely satisfied that the language in question in his recent column was an unintentional error and an isolated incident for which he has apologised.”
Earlier in the week there were further twists to the l’affair Zakaria when the Washington Post compounded allegations of Mr. Zakaria’s plagiarism from Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 23rd issue of The New Yorker with the suggestion that he had failed to correctly cite another source in his book.
In an article titled “More questions raised about Fareed Zakaria’s work” Paul Farhi of the post alleged that a quote from the first edition of Mr. Zakaria’s 2008 book, “The Post-American World,” was not acknowledged as being taken from its original source, a 2005 book by former U.S. Commerce Department official Clyde Prestowitz.
However Mr. Zakaria refuted that allegation and as it turned out the Post had to admit that endnotes crediting Mr. Prestowitz were contained in hardcover and paperback editions of Mr. Zakaria’s book and it “should have examined copies of the books and should not have published the article.”
While the suspension of one of the best-known voices in U.S. media came as a surprise to many, Mr. Zakaria’s apology for the “terrible mistake,” appeared to soften his critics’ opinion of his conduct. Mr. Zakaria said at the time, “It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to [Lepore], to my editors at TIME and CNN, and to my readers and viewers everywhere.”