The Ryan nomination is the latest shiny object for the Beltway media to follow, but there was another tragedy that occurred just before our blue-eyed savior rose from the streets. Poor Fareed Zakaria, who was apparently just had too much to do at Time, CNN and the Washington Post, got caught plagarizing from a Jill Leopore piece in the New Yorker. To me, the details are telling, because you can see that he took a paragraph from her piece and gave it a quick once-over to camouflage it. In other words, whatever you want to say about it, it’s intentional.
This is Fareed’s apology:
Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my TIME column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 22nd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at TIME, and to my readers.
A “mistake” is locking your keys in the car. A “terrible mistake” is leaving one of your kids at a rest stop on a family vacation. Zakaria’s action is a mistake only if you think shoplifting and pick-pocketing are forms of error rather than theft.
Zakaria’s not the worst of the bunch by any stretch, but he’s certainly not immune from looking down from his position of prestige and influence and making harsh judgments about the common man. Yet his penalty–a one-month suspension–is like nothing when you consider that some universities will kick students out for a single instance of plagarism.
The stories written on Friday hinted that this isn’t the first instance of this, and I doubt it’s just my suspicious nature that makes me think that he just got sloppy in this one case and copied a little too freely from another mainstream publication. So maybe there’s more to come. If not, this will probably be just a bump in the road for someone who is the right kind of person and therefore could only have stolen accidentally.