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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 07:32 AM ET, 05/22/2012

Arnaud de Borchgrave takes leave from Washington Times

Former ambassador and president emeritus of Meridian International Center Walt Cutler with journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave at Cafe Milano. (Rebecca D'Angelo - FTWP)
The Washington Times has broken its silence on the case of Arnaud de Borchgrave, the columnist whom this blog last week cited for some dicey literary borrowing. In a story that hit the Washington Times Web site late last night, the paper announced that it will conduct an “internal assessment of Mr. de Borchgrave’s columns.”

So that’s the news.

Now to the weirdness of this announcement:

1) The Washington Times put this development not in an editor’s note or some other appeal to readers, but in a regular old news story.

2) The news story carries this headline: “De Borchgrave takes leave from column,” a formulation that would signal nothing amiss to the casual reader.

3) Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:

Arnaud de Borchgrave said Monday night he will take a three-month leave from writing his weekly opinion column for The Washington Times to finish his memoirs.
The decision by Mr. de Borchgrave, a former editor of The Times and a decorated international journalist, came after an examination by two online news sites of some of his work showed similarities with material from other sources, without attribution.

Upshot: De Borchgrave’s in charge here.

4) More such upshot in this passage:

Ed Kelley, the Times’ editor, said Mr. de Borchgrave handled the situation appropriately.
“We wish him the best during his hiatus,” Mr. Kelley said.

De Borchgrave is known as a globe-trotting correspondent of many great feats over his long career. The wording of this story adds to his list of accomplishments.

By  |  07:32 AM ET, 05/22/2012

Tags:  arnaud de borchgrave, washington times, ed kelley, hiatus, leave, three-month hiatus

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