Time columnist Zakaria suspended for plagiarism

Agence France Presse

Posted at Aug 12 2012 09:25 PM | Updated as of Aug 13 2012 05:25 AM

NEW YORK - Time Magazine columnist and CNN broadcaster Fareed Zakaria was suspended by both his employers on Friday after he admitted plagiarizing a New Yorker article on gun control.

"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," he said, in a statement.

"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."

Ali Zelenko, a spokeswoman for Time, said Fareed's apology was accepted "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, which is part of Time's parent company Time Warner, also said it was suspending Zakaria because he'd written a shorter version of his column on the CNN website "which included similar unattributed excerpts."

Less than two weeks earlier, it had been The New Yorker's turn to face an embarrassing scandal over accuracy, when reporter Jonah Lehrer acknowledged that he'd made up quotes by Bob Dylan in a book he'd written.

In the Time incident, Zakaria wrote several sentences nearly word for word the same as an article published earlier in The New Yorker.

"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," Zakaria wrote.

The New Yorker's article read: "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."