The saga of Johan Hari’s plagiarism just gets worse and worse. Even if I wasn’t already disgusted by Hari’s anti-Israel polemics, this latest piece of information, courtesy of Damien Thompson’s blog at the Daily Telegraph, has left me appalled at Hari’s unethical journalism:
Hari’s heart-rending account of life in Birao, in the CAR, “appalled” the charity staff when it appeared in 2007. You can read it here. According to the Eye:
Hari did not hire a translator, instead browbeating a charity worker into translating for him. He promised to give her his notes when they returned so she could file her own report on the war, and then broke his word. He continued to hold on to the notes even after she complained to Simon Kelner, the Independent’s editor. “The reason for this became clear when his article came out, as most of the content differed from what interviewees told us,” the aid worker told us. Hari “completely exaggerated the extent of destruction in Birao”. He “completely invented quotes, in particular those of the French soldiers”. In one gruesome vignette, Hari had French soldiers telling a piteous story of how “children would bring us the severed heads of their parents and scream for help, but our orders were not to help them”. “They did not say this. I know because I was there and I did the translating for them.”
There are many other allegations against Hari in the magazine, and others all over the internet. It’s becoming clearer by the day that this man was not guilty of cutting a few naughty corners, as Simon Kelner, Peter Preston, Polly Toynbee etc have pathetically claimed, but bears more than a passing resemblance to the New York Times’s Jayson Blair.
Read the full blog post here.