New Allegations of Plagiarism Leveled at Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Fareed Zakaria World Economic Forum 2013” by World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland – Transformations in the Arab World: Fareed Zakaria
Uploaded by January. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The blog Our Bad Media, which previously reported on allegations at BuzzFeed that brought down writer Benny Johnson, has put out a new piece detailing instances of what they call plagiarism in Fareed Zakaria’s work. In 2012, Zakaria was used of plagiarism and that led to a brief suspension at Time and CNN while the two news organizations looked into the matter. After six days, both organizations lifted the suspension as Zakaria apologized. At the time, he attributed the matter to being overworked. He then made adjustments to his schedule in order to prevent another instance.

This morning, the blog posted twelve instances of what they call plagiarism found in Zakaria’s works, including columns in Time, the Washington Post, and “similar versions” on The publications Zakaria is believed to have stolen from range from The Nation to Wikipedia, The New Yorker and even the Washington Post itself. For a complete look at the results, view them at the Our Bad Media website.

After these allegations were published, TKNN reached out Time, Inc, CNN, the Washington Post, and Atlantic Media. Last month, it was announced that Zakaria would join Atlantic Media as a contributor.

Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post editorial director, responded by criticizing the Our Bad Media post.

“If I’m not mistaken, the newest allegations feature only one WP column, and when I looked at that I thought it was so far from a case of plagiarism that it made me question the entire enterprise. Take a look. Fareed uses some budgetary information that is also cited in a Center for American Progress report. There’s no lifting of language, and I’m sure I could find the same data in a dozen other reports. I honestly think it is reckless even to suggest this is plagiarism.


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. We went through the previous few years of columns–I can’t remember the software we used, but we ran them through two different engines–and found no evidence at all of any plagiarism.”

There are two things that stand out in Hiatt’s statement. First, he says that the post includes only one column for the Washington Post, there are actually two columns shown. When TKNN pointed this out, no changes were made to the statement. Second, the writers at Our Bad Media criticize the claims that the Post, CNN, and Time made when they said that they conducting thorough analysis of Zakaria’s column. Hiatt refutes that by saying that there were run through two different engines. The writers say they used Google for these instances.

Time, Inc. responded by issuing a statement regarding the charges.

While Fareed Zakaria is no longer employed by Time Inc., TIME takes these charges very seriously. In 2012, we conducted a review of Zakaria’s work for TIME and were satisfied with the results of that investigation. We will be reviewing these new allegations carefully.

TKNN reported earlier today that Zakaria had left Time, Inc.

At the time of publication, there were no statements from either CNN or Atlantic Media, we will update this post if we hear back.


UPDATE (6:31): A CNN spokeswoman has replied with a statement regarding today’s news.

‎‎CNN has the highest confidence in the excellence and integrity of Fareed Zakaria’s work. In 2012, we conducted an extensive review of his original reporting for CNN, and beyond the initial incident for which he was suspended and apologized for, found nothing that violated our standards. In the years since we have found nothing that gives us cause for concern.


About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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