Lloyd Grove, on the Daily Beast, in a sort of irony/empathy juggling act, wrote about Washington Post columnist, contributing editor for The Atlantic, New York Times bestselling author, and "CNN Presenter" Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on Sundays on CNN (check your local listings) and the trouble he's in for his plagiarizing of all kinds of material, from martini recipes to unimportant stuff, and how "pathetically uncredentialed, no-account bloggers who go by the ridiculous Twitter handles @Blippoblappo and @Crushingbort" are bringing possible ruination down upon the "[i]mperially slim and darkly handsome, possessed of an insinuating charm and a cultured manner of speech that recalls the British Raj" Zakaria, also known to Mr. Grove as "America's most celebrated public intellectual."
Regardless of whether Zakaria is plagiarizing or "patch-writing," or incompletely/sloppily attributing, it's clear America's Most Celebrated Intellectual™ (or somebody on Team Zakaria) spends a lot of time skimming other people's work and re-typing it to create the impression that he knows something about everything, when in fact the punditry he ships is just-in-time-inventory knockoffs of other people's knowledge and work. For Zakaria get so far by doing this, he needs to have been enabled by a host of shitty managers.
So rather than wrangling over which segments of his extensive egestions of crap-work should be corrected and/or clarified and/or retraced and/or annotated and/or retracted and/or punished, let's move along to full accountability. Here are the people who permitted this guy to be, at best, a lazy and worthless talking head, and who need to be fired for that alone.
1. Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt
The Daily Beast cites a "TPM LIVEWIRE" piece on talkingpointsmemo.com quoting Mr. Hiatt: "In 2012, Fareed as I recall copped to a misdeed, which he attributed to being spread too thin. At that time he made adjustments to his schedule and commitments to keep a similar thing from happening.
"Fareed Zakaria is a valued contributor," Hiatt said at the time. "We've never had any reason to doubt the integrity of his work for us. Given his acknowledgment today, we intend to review his work with him."
Where were you in 2012, Fred? You shoulda been firing Fareed Zakaria! C'mon, you guys at the Post have all kinds of experience with fuckups, fabulists, and plagiarists. You are FIRED.
2. Newsweek editor in chief James Impoco
Back in that Beast piece, James Impoco says they've got "closure" on all this unpleasantness, and that "Fareed is a lovely man, and an important part of Newsweek's past. It's not up to me to call a fatwa on him."
"Fatwa," really? What's on your mind, James Impoco? Also, "An important part of Newsweek's past?" Kinda Freudian, yo. Meanwhile, YOU ARE FIRED.
3. "Former Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg" *
Should also be fired for minimizing, to the tune of: All Fareed's lifts are penny-ante, because he is good Journalist! Because he is good Journalist, all his lifts are penny-ante!
As a journalist, I have been the victim of insufficient attribution, or no attribution at all, more times than I could possibly count. It annoys me every time it happens. But I don't regard it as a matter for the ethics police, or go around accusing good journalists of plagiarism—unless there IS plagiarism, which I don't think is the case here. It's not that Fareed has never made a mistake as a writer—who among us has not? It's that this is all minor, penny-ante stuff. Some of the accusations—like not footnoting scraps of television script—don't even rise to that level. They're ridiculous.
*As stated in The Daily Beast (SEE, FAREED ZAKARIA, OR WHOEVER DOES YOUR WORK FOR YOU? SEE HOW FUCKING EASY IT IS TO CREATE PROPER ATTRIBUTION?)
4. "Another defender, who has asked not to be identified..."
FIND THIS PERSON. FIRE THIS PERSON, IDENTIFIED AS "HE" BY DAILY BEAST.
Also of State of the Union With Candy Crowley and Reliable Sources (with some reliable sources), but more significantly, erstwhile EP of Parker/Spitzer on the very same C to the double-N. Seriously, Parker/Spitzer? How many more ways was Television gonna try and slip us the Spitzer? That time it was with Kathleen Parker, a pundit whose formula includes making sure every third column she writes is to the tune of "Obama is a bad person." If people want more Spitzer on their motherfucking teevee they just tune in to The Good Wife on CBS, where he's played by that guy who used to be Mr. Big on Sex and the City on the Home Box. You're DOUBLE FIRED for signing up for that garbage, Liza McGuirk! Also fired: Spitzer, Parker, in that order, when nobody watched their Southern Belle/No Credibility show.
CNN founder Ted Turner wouldn't have tolerated these shenanigans, what are you doing about it? Too late! FIRED. Go fail upward someplace else!
7. Lloyd Grove
We know you brought us here, man, and we respect you and cite you for this, seriously, without you there would be no List of People Who Should Be Fired Because of Fareed Zakaria's Bullshit, but we can't let that weirdo "Raj" nostalgia and sycophantic "America's most celebrated public intellectual" crap go unchallenged. Clean out your cubby, because you are FIRED.
[Illustration by Jim Cooke]