Will we be reading about this in his papers?
Will we be reading about this in his papers?
This morning’s Indy front page looked better than the usual polar-bear-on-a-melting-ice-cap stories, it promised exposure of 8 years of dirty work for Fleet Street by a blagging private eye, Stephen Whittamore. We actually learn nothing really new from the article. Despite having access to the Information Commissioner’s Operation Motorman files, Ian Burrell and Mark Olden don’t name a single journalist shown to have commissioned a “blagging” – the procuring of information illegally.
Journalists face two years jail time for each offence. Some 389 journalists were identified by Operation Motorman. None are named by this lamest of lame investigations to ever make a front page. Chris Bryant MP says they are not being named for legal reasons. You will note how he never mentions Andy Coulson. This is absolutely ridiculous, The Telegraph published the evidence of MPs wrong doing which led to arrests and jailings of MPs. Why won’t the Indy publish the evidence of journalists wrong doing? Be in no doubt, when Guido gets the files, he’ll publish them all, naming and shaming…
See also: The Met Widens Net
The Guardian are reporting that Johann Hari is expected to be treated leniently by the investigation into his intellectual fraud led by former Indy editor Andreas Whittam Smith. Guido doesn’t think this will go down very well, but what do you reckon?
Hari is almost certain to lose the Orwell Prize, leaving the Indy on very thin ice…
The looney left-wing Jody McIntyre became less funny when he started inciting riots on the platform offered to him by the Indy. Blogger Mark Wallace reported him to the Met, who may be a little busy, nevertheless m’learned friends advise that he could have put the Indy into trouble. Meanwhile the New Statesman’s Laurie Penny is too unwell to riot today. Ahhh…
See also: Wheels Come Off Protester’s Complaint
One of Guido’s co-conspirators at the Indy sent this in. They are clearly worried about Johann Hari and have put this thoughtful missing poster at strategic points around the Indy’s newsroom floor at Northcliffe House.
The Council of the Orwell Prize met yesterday to consider and review Johann Hari’s cut ‘n pasting as well as evidence of plagiarism and passing off helpfully submitted by the public and readers of this blog. We await their judgement.
The sun isn’t going down on the Johann Hari scandal. The careless whisper that he was tidying up what the subjects of his “interviews” were saying, doesn’t cover all of his artistic prose. What about when the interviewee isn’t a writer, yet still gets a spruce up? How are we meant to find a little faith then?
Anna Raccoon and The Debrief have been pondering Hari’s “exclusive” interview with George Michael in the Indy back in 2005. The same interview exclusively appeared on Hari’s personal site the same day. Amazingly Hari seems to have blagged another interview with the troubled singer in 2009, this time for the Huffington Post. Except it’s not a new “exclusive” interview, it’s the same one – he simply changed the ages in the piece to reflect the time passed. A simple google from the HuffPo team would have proved that. Oh and of course there were bits of the original stolen from elsewhere. Wham!
Elsewhere around the web Archbishop Cranmer has his take, the Staggers’ notes Hari’s great affection for the Daily Mail. The HuffPo covers the scandal of the Indy journalist (Hari) who is a terrible fraud, neglecting to mention that Hari has written (or rather cut and pasted) for them, for years. Fancy that…
UPDATE: Guido understands that this week’s edition of Private Eye is going to be Hari-tastic.
Johann Hari has made a living out adding a little first person je ne sais quoi to his articles, also known as bullshit. Day after day new evidence emerges of his Matilda-ish tendency towards fakery and deception, and it appears to be a trick that he picked up early in his career. In October 1999 he was sacked as News Editor of Cambridge University’s Varsity student newspaper. He told friends at the time it was because the editor was “jealous of my intellect”. Another pure fabrication.
Hari was sacked after his sexed up copy, printed in the October 29, 1999 edition, included the made up fact that 1,500 students had taken part in a protest against tuition fees. It turned out to be a ridiculous exaggeration and when the editor discovered that the figure was way out, it was the final straw amidst a growing suspicion that Hari had an unfortunate tendency make up things to spice up his copy.
At least his then editor had some spine…
The Orwell Prize Council revealed yesterday that:
“Prior to presenting the award, as part of our due diligence, one of the judges contacted Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, who expressed his full confidence in the Hari articles”
Other former winners have confirmed to Guido that this was a one off and did not happen regarding their submissions, as far as Guido is aware no other editors have been contacted in this way to vouch for their hacks. What was suspicious about Hari’s work? His reputation for embellishment was known well enough in newsrooms to make the judges nervous.
The Orwell Prize Council pointedly claimed this week that they had, since awarding Hari the Orwell Prize in 2008, tightened up the rules regarding attribution of quotes. Did they have anyone in mind when they made that rule change?
On discovering yesterday that Hari entered work this year for the 2011 Orwell Prize, Guido asked the director of the prize to list the articles Hari had entered, he declined. They are it seems to go down the Orwellian memory hole. Jenni Russell won the prize this year, Hari’s continuing claim to be a former prize winner tarnishes the name of the prize. Guido knows for a fact that other prize winners feel genuine anger that Hari is among their prestigious number.
Hari defended himself in his mea culpa article using his own unique definition of plagiarism. To the charge of plagiarism we can add passing off, fraud, deception, profiting from the work of others and lying. He should be asked by the Orwell Prize Council to return the £3,000 prize money and to refrain from describing himself as a former Orwell Prize winner. As for Hari, he should note what happened to Matilda:
Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’
They only answered ‘Little Liar!’
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.
Chris Blackhurst was announced as the new editor of The Indy today…
Simon Kelner has been promoted out of editing the Indy. He will take the title of Editor-in-Chief, but have no day-to-day control over the paper. Chris Blackhurst, currently the business editor of the Standard, will take over after thirteen years of Kelner.
Given the appointment was made by Evgeny Lebedev, the Indy and Standard’s Russian billionaire owner’s son, isn’t it time for the Indy to scrap the “Free from Proprietorial Influence” nonsense from their front-page?
Guido is fairly sure Johann Hari has breached Article 1 of the PCC Code. He has admitted misleading his readers. Despite the desperate attempts by his editor, Simon Kelner, to spin that his favorite son is being attacked for political reasons, the Hari-wagon is coming off of the tracks.
The Telegraph are coming down on him heavily. Firstly there is Brenden O’Neil rightly pointing out that “the notion that one can reach “the truth” by manipulating reality should be anathema to anyone who calls himself a journalist.” Janet Daley weighs in with a valid arguement:
“Many, if not most, of his interviewees were people whom he admired and whose political views he shared. By replacing what he admits were often their less-than-articulate responses to live questions with text from their published works, he was performing a service to their reputations which was worthy of a spin doctor or a professional propagandist.”
Toby Young points us to the career ending decision:
“His fate now turns on whether the committee that awarded him the Orwell Prize for Journalism asks him to return the prize (and the £3,000 prize money). It is hard to see how they could do otherwise, given that Hari still doesn’t seem to think his cut-and-paste habits are anything to be ashamed of.”
And in a slap to Kelner’s face and reputation, this issue goes beyond any left or right divide. The New Statesman is being particularly thorough in making sure the golden child of the left is held to the level of accountability that his platform and reputation deserve. The most damning revelation of the day so far comes from the Staggers, who reveal that Hari directly lifted other peoples work for an “interview” he did with Chavez in 2006. The dictionary definition of plagiarism.
Meanwhile The Guardian have provided a helpful poll on whether you think Hari’s apology was enough, needless to say it’s not looking good for him. Guido is digging around rumours of Hari being fired from his student paper for “making things up in order to make a story stronger”. He also bought you two more accusations of plagiarism earlier and Forbes have compiled cases of Hari getting his facts completely wrong, deliberately perhaps. Hilariously historian Guy Walters has found Hari lifted text Ann Leslie’s biography for his own interview with her. No wonder she said he wasn’t “a real journalist” on Newsnight last night. Brian Whelan, who triggered this onslaught has found another smoking gun.
Right now hundreds of articles by the disgraced bard are being scrutinised, fact-checked, cross-referenced and flagged up. You shake one branch….
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