More questions raised about Fareed Zakaria’s work

Correction: This article incorrectly states that in his 2008 book, “The Post-American World,” Fareed Zakaria failed to cite the source of a quotation taken from another book. In fact, Zakaria did credit the other work, by Clyde V. Prestowitz. Endnotes crediting Prestowitz were contained in hardcover and paperback editions of Zakaria’s book. The Post should have examined copies of the books and should not have published the article. We regret the error and apologize to Fareed Zakaria.

August 13, 2012

Columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria, who acknowledged plagiarizing parts of a magazine article last week, appears to have also published without attribution a passage from a 2005 book.

Zakaria’s 2008 book, “The Post-American World,” contains a quote from former Intel Corp. chief executive Andy Grove about the nation’s economic power. “America is in danger of following Europe down the tubes, and the worst part is that nobody knows it,” Grove says in Zakaria’s book. “They’re all in denial, patting themselves on the back as the Titanic heads straight for the iceberg full speed ahead.”

The first edition of Zakaria’s book, which became a bestseller, makes no mention of the comment’s source, nor does a paperback version of “Post-American World” published in 2009.

In fact, Grove’s comment was published three years earlier in “Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Power to the East,” by former Commerce Department official Clyde V. Prestowitz.

In an interview Monday, Prestowitz said Grove made the comment in an interview Prestowitz conducted while he was researching his book. The quote appears in the book’s first chapter.


Fareed Zakaria attending the 71st Annual Peabody Awards in New York. (Charles Sykes/AP)

Prestowitz, who heads the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think tank, said he contacted Zakaria about the Grove quote when “The Post-American World” was published four years ago but received no response. Prestowitz said that he also mentioned the lack of attribution to his editor and agent, but that he doesn’t know if they raised the issue with Zakaria or his publisher.

Zakaria finally acknowledged Prestowitz in the footnotes of “The Post-American World 2.0,” an updated and expanded version of his original book that was published last year. The footnote attributes part of the passage containing the comment to Thomas Friedman’s 2006 bestseller, “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.” It then notes, “Andy Grove’s statement is quoted in Clyde Prestowitz, ‘Three Billion New Capitalists. . . .’”

Zakaria, in an interview Monday, defended the practice of not attributing quotes in a popular book. “As I write explicitly [in the book], this is not an academic work where everything has to be acknowledged and footnoted,” he said. The book contains “hundreds” of comments and quotes that aren’t attributed because doing so, in context, would “interrupt the flow for the reader,” he said.

He compared his technique to other popular non-fiction authors. “Please look at other books in this genre and you will notice that I'm following standard practice,” he said.

“I should not be judged by a standard that's not applied to everyone else,” he added. “People are piling on with every grudge or vendetta. The charge is totally bogus.”

Prestowitz was unmoved. “I think there should be an apology,” he said Monday. “I don’t want to unfairly level accusations [because] those of us who are writers know a lot of things can happen. But I feel I have a justifiable complaint. It kind of has been bugging me for a while.”

On Friday, Zakaria apologized to Time magazine, its readers and historian Jill Lepore for an Aug. 20 Time column on gun control that he acknowledged contained material taken without attribution from an article Lepore wrote in April for the New Yorker magazine. Time and CNN, which airs Zakaria’s weekly discussion program, both suspended him after his admission. Part of Zakaria’s column was published on CNN.com.

Zakaria also writes a separate column for The Washington Post. The newspaper said on Monday that his column will not appear this month.

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter.
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