A short recap:
Zakaria’s Time Magazine column had some clear similarities to Jill Lepore’s in The New Yorker last week – and Zakaria apologized flat-out:
“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,” Zakaria said in a statement to The Atlantic Wire. “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.”
Speculations as to why circle around this:
Many media types assume that this was a mistake made by one of Zakaria’s flunkies/assistants/interns, but in some ways that’s just the proximate cause. A better question would be: why would Fareed Zakaria outsource any writing under his name to others?
Pointing to an overcrowded schedule:
Mr. Zakaria, 48, balances a demanding schedule, doing work for multiple media properties. He is a CNN host, an editor at large at Time, a Washington Post columnist and an author.” Most people who wind up in this situation don’t just snap their fingers and take on all of these jobs at once. It’s a slow accretion of opportunities that are hard to say no until you are overextended.
Is Fareed Zakaria a quote thief? This is the latest charge brought against the CNN host. From both hard evidence and direct personal experience, I can answer: No.
(..) I have known Fareed Zakaria since 1986. Over those years, we have had our personal ups and downs. As with any of us, there are criticisms to be made of him and his work. Recently he made a serious mistake, for which he has accepted the consequences without self-excuse. But building that mistake into some larger narrative of lack of intellectual integrity? And using charges themselves false in order to tarnish his reputation? That’s plain wrong.
But.. this will probably blow over. Zakaria is solid, and he might just scale down on his commitments for a while. His writing is brilliant and original. He’ll survive this.