Time, CNN Star Fareed Zakaria Suspended for Admitted Plagiarism

[UPDATED below page break: TIME magazine, CNN have suspended Zakaria.] When CNN host and Time editor-at-large Fareed Zakaria wrote a new piece called “The Case for Gun Control,” it ended with a bang: “So when people throw up their hands and say we can't do anything about guns, tell them they're being un-American--and unintelligent.”

Here’s something that suggests a lack of intelligence: plagiarism. Cam Edwards at NRANews.com suggested to me that Zakaria seemed to plagiarize a paragraph from an April article in The New Yorker magazine -- with a modicum word-usage changes and interjections (Texas!) in an attempt to paper it over. Here’s a paragraph from his Time piece:

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 in its organization to this paragraph from a Jill Lepore New Yorker article from 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."

Voila! Xerox Zakaria!

It's not the first time Zakaria's been accused of lifting things.

Zakaria's also been caught giving the same commencement address over and over.

Update 16:25:10

A spokesman replied:
 
"TIME takes any accusation of plagiarism by any of our journalists very seriously, and we will carefully examine the facts before saying anything else on the matter."

Update 16:32:00

As Dylan Byers of Politico notes, Time has suspended Zakaria, saying in a statement:

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. As a result, we are suspending Fareed's column for a month, pending further review.

Update 17:50

CNN has also suspended Zakaria.

Update 21:17

In a statement released to the press, Zakaria has admitted his plagiarism:

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 23 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.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis