Time magazine and CNN have suspended their columnist and television host, Indian American journalist Fareed Zakaria, after he apologized for plagiarisng sections of his column on gun control in the Aug 20 issue of Time.
Some passages in the column, “The Case for Gun Control,” were similar to those in a longer article on guns in America by the historian Jill Lepore, which appeared in the April 23 issue of The New Yorker. The similarities in the texts were spotted by the conservative Web site NewsBusters, and quickly spread across the Internet after appearing on the media blog JimRomenesko.com.
India-born Zakaria, 48, issued a statement Friday afternoon saying: “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.”
Time said it was suspending Zakaria’s column for a month, pending review. “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,” said Ali Zelenko, a spokesperson for the magazine.
In a statement, CNN, which like Time magazine is owned by Time Warner, said: “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.”
Earlier this year, Zakaria was criticised for giving a commencement speech at Harvard that was very similar to the one he had earlier given at Duke.