In the dock over plagiarism, CNN host and Time editor-at-large Fareed Zakaria is in the eye of a storm that has grown to pulling out ghosts from the past.
Ask Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for the Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Zakaria was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International for a decade, from 2000 to 2010. In a May 2009 piece in the Atlantic headlined ‘The New Newsweek, Now With Less Reporting’, Goldberg accused Zakaria of stealing quotes from his columns, beginning by saying: “I think Zakaria just friended me. But it is friendship that dare not speak my name.” Nailing two specific instances of thinly-disguised theft, Goldberg ended his column by saying: “The question is, How do I reciprocate this new friendship? By stealing his shit? Maybe Goldblog readers could help: Are there any good quotes from Zakaria’s interviews with world leaders that I could lift for the Atlantic?”
And then there were the similar commencement addresses Zakaria recently delivered to graduating classes at Duke University first and Harvard later.
One of the more recent ones is the similarity in his addresses to the graduating classes at Duke University and Harvard. Ironically, one of phrases repeated at both functions was about ethics. “You don’t need an ethics course to know what you shouldn’t do,’’ Zakaria told fresh graduates at both institutions, all within a time-span of 11 days. It was pointed out that the similarities extended to earlier Zakaria speeches to the Johns Hopkins University class of 2011, the Brown University class of 2009 and the Yale University class of 2007. Zakaria had explained that it was “overlap” and “natural”.
Natural or not, Zakaria’s American encounter has hit a wall. And the writing was always there.