Fareed Zakaria suspended by CNN, Time for plagiarism

August 10, 2012

Time magazine and CNN suspended columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria on Friday after he acknowledged that he plagiarized sections of another writer’s article about gun control.

The Washington Post, which publishes a separate column by Zakaria on its op-ed page, said it was reviewing Zakaria’s work for the newspaper.

Zakaria has apologized to CNN and Time over the column, which was published in Time’s Aug. 20 issue. A shorter blog post that included some of the plagiarized material appeared on CNN.com. The column in question has not appeared in The Post.

Zakaria lifted several passages from an article by historian Jill Lepore that was published by the New Yorker magazine in April. In her article, Lepore wrote: “Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed. . . . Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder.’ ”

In his Time column, headlined “The Case for Gun Control,” Zakaria uses this wording:


Columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria has apologized to Time and CNN for lifting sections of another writer’s article on gun control. (Charles Sykes/AP)

“Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed. . . . Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder.’ ”

The all-but-identical language was first spotted by Cam Edwards, host of the NRA News radio program, and first published by NewsBusters.org.

In a brief interview Friday with The Post, Zakaria said he has apologized to Lepore. He had no further comment. Zakaria said in a statement earlier Friday that he made “a terrible mistake. . . . It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault.”

Zakaria is a multimedia star. In addition to his Sunday-morning program on CNN, “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” he writes regular columns for Time and The Post, as well as books about world affairs. CNN said that it won’t air Zakaria’s program Sunday and that it is reviewing his work. Time and CNN are owned by Time Warner.

Zakaria’s next column for The Post is scheduled to appear Wednesday.

“Fareed Zakaria is a valued contributor,” said The Post’s editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt. “We’ve never had any reason to doubt the integrity of his work for us. Given his acknowledgment today, we intend to review his work with him.”

In 2009, Zakaria was accused of using, without credit, material published by Atlantic magazine columnist Jeffrey Goldberg.

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter.
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