Fareed Zakaria Time New Yorker plagiarism

AP

CNN and Time magazine have each suspended Fareed Zakaria after he admitted to plagiarizing a column on gun control from a recent New Yorker article.

Zakaria is Time’s editor-at-large and hosts the weekly “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN.

“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 23rd issue of The New Yorker,” Zakaria said in a statement Friday afternoon. “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.”

Following Zakaria’s apology, Time and CNN each released separate statements announcing that he was being suspended.

“TIME accepts Fareed’s apology, but what he did violates our own standards for our columnists, which is that their work must not only be factual but original; their views must not only be their own but their words as well,” Time’s statement said. “As a result, we are suspending Fareed’s column for a month, pending further review.”

CNN said Zakaria wrote a similar blog post containing unattributed portions for CNN.com and they were suspending him as well, without giving a time frame for his reinstatement.

“We have reviewed Fareed Zakaria’s TIME column, for which he has apologized,” the CNN statement said. “He wrote a shorter blog post on CNN.com on the same issue which included similar unattributed excerpts. That blog post has been removed and CNN has suspended Fareed Zakaria while this matter is under review.”

The whole saga began Friday morning after NewsBusters flagged a paragraph from Zakaria’s latest column, “The Case for Gun Control,” that bore a striking resemblance to Jill Lapore’s “Battleground America” for the New Yorker:

First, Zakaria’s “The Case for Gun Control” piece from Time magazine’s upcoming Aug. 20 issue:

Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. 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. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

Compare that to Lepore’s “Battleground America” New Yorker article back in April:

As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). 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. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

National Review also noted Zakaria’s final sentence of the following passage uses “almost the exact same language” as Lepore:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, said the Second Amendment grants people a right that “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The court agreed unanimously.

Now the New Yorker:

[...] Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, argued that the Second Amendment is “restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security.” Furthermore, Jackson said, the language of the amendment makes clear that the right “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The Court agreed, unanimously.

As the Atlantic pointed out, it’s not the first time Zakaria has been under the plagiarism cloud.

(h/t Poynter)

Editor’s note: This post has been updated since it was first published to include Zakaria’s apology and statements from Time Magazine and CNN.

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