August 13, 2012
Time Magazine and CNN contributor Fareed Zakaria has been suspended after plagiarizing a New Yorker article in a column about gun control.
Among other passages, Zakaria lifted this verbiage:
"Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed. .?.?. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the "mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder."
Now, if Zakaria had bestirred himself to study a little Clayton Cramer, he would have known that concealed-carry laws in the South were known at the time to be aimed at blacks, not whites, and the legislative record even spells that out in several cases. But that's neither here nor there. The point of the matter is that Zakaria felt no obligation to do any more research than to crib from a magazine article.
Members of what is now called the mainstream media feel no great compunction to learn anything about the gun issue, which so far as they are concerned, has been settled since the John F. Kennedy assassination. They learn the Brady Campaign talking points like a catechism in journalism school and never forget them.
More than 30 years ago, I was a PR man for the NRA and got a request from a Christian Science Monitor writer to visit headquarters. She showed no particular interest in talking to Harlon Carter, Neal Knox or any other members of the leadership. It quickly became apparent she was only interested in seeing the inside of the building to give some vague whiff of color to a story that otherwise was 100% a recitation of anti-gun dogma.
Plagiarism is something of a common theme on the left, with names like Martin Luther King, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Joe Biden and many others associated with passing off someone else's work as your own. In the past, it was easy to cover this over with a conspiracy of silence, but the internet has put those days in the past. A sharp-eyed NRA employee noticed the borrowing, and it shortly was all over the Newsbusters website.
Zakaria will have to take a short walk of shame, but he'll be back. We will hope he strays a little less from his main area of expertise, the Middle East, and most importantly, stays off the gun issue.