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CNN, Time Suspend Fareed Zakaria For Plagiarism

Fareed Zakaria
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The columnist and CNN host apologized after allegedly borrowing generously from a New Yorker story about gun control.

Fareed Zakaria apologized late Friday after being hit with accusations that his recent Time magazine story, "The Case for Gun Control," contained passages stolen from an April New Yorker story on the same subject. 

"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," Zakaria said in a statement. "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."

Time then announced Zakaria was being hit with a suspension.

"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.

CNN, for whom he hosts Fareed Zakaria GPS, also suspended him.

We have reviewed Fareed Zakaria’s Time column, for which he has apologized. 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.”

There are several places in the article where Zakaria is accused of lifting sentences and ideas, with the following the most prominent

Zakaria wrote:

"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 with Lepore's essay:

"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."

Zakaria, who also hosts a show for CNN, was recently criticized for giving the exact same commencement speech at Harvard University as he did Duke just 11 days prior.

This is the second journalistic integrity incident with which The New Yorker has been associated in the past two weeks, as contributor Jonah Lehrer resigned his position after being caught making up quotes in an upcoming book about Bob Dylan.