Guido’s World Exclusive Interview With Johann Hari

“Look,” said Johann, his dark eyes welling up with emotion. “I can talk to you about why what happened in my life happened. But I just think that’s a way of trying to invite sympathy, and that would be weaselly.

Thinking this was the moment, Guido leaned in closer to the disgraced former Indy columnist, waiting for that magic word to come from Hari’s lips:

“If you tell a detailed personal story about yourself, you’re inherently asking people to sympathise with you, and actually I don’t think people should be sympathetic to me. I’m ashamed of what I did. I did some things that were really nasty and cruel.”

“I’m very reluctant to go into a personal narrative and give the why,’ the disgraced columnist sighed. “Most people restrain their self-aggrandising and cruel impulses, and I failed to. I failed badly. I think when you do that, when you harm people, you should shut up, go away and reflect on what happened.”

Or say sorry, thought the interviewer…

“Going on about myself would just be arrogant and actually repeating being nasty, and that’s what I’m trying not to be. When you fuck up, you should privately reckon with the harm you have caused and you should pay a big price.”

And apologise perhaps, but still no…

Of course Johann Hari didn’t say any of this to Guido, but to Decca Aitkin of the Guardian.

See attribution isn’t so hard after all.

Apparently Hari is back promoting his new novel about drug addiction.

So much for shutting up and going away to reflect on what happened…

Hari-Kiri-s On Being a Fraud

Guido regrets to report that disgraced former Indy writer Johann Hari’s re-education has not been a success. Hari has embarked on something of a comeback working for Russell Brand and making up a new book, but today forensic internet sleuth Jeremy Duns, fresh from slotting Mo Ansar, has caught him up to his old tricks once again. Hari says he’s a changed man and posts audio clips of all his interviews to back up his claims. Yet comparing Hari’s written account of a new interview with the audio posted on his website, Duns finds the same old discrepancies. He writes:

It’s the first quote from Sarah Brook. The clip is just seven seconds long. She says: ‘I was the person who found the – me and my colleague – who found the bullet in the leg.’

I’ve put it in quotes because it is a direct quote. That is what she said. But it’s a little awkward. How to render that in an article? Well, I’d probably not use that quote, but instead write something like ‘Brook and a colleague found the bullet in the leg.’ And then quote her.

But that isn’t what Hari did in his article published this month in the British Airways magazineHigh Life. Instead, he has this:

‘Then a corpse was found. It had been there a while. Most of the meat had rotted away. It was a skeleton with hooves. The horn had been chopped off, and the entire skull was found elsewhere. The tail had been cut off. ‘I was the person,’ Sarah tells me years later, in a café in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, ‘who found the bullet in the leg’. It became clear that Sarah had stumbled into a turning point in history — one she couldn’t have foreseen. She was standing over the body of the last ever Vietnamese rhino. This subspecies had survived unchanged for nine million years, and now it was gone forever.’

That quote is inaccurate. I have heard it and verified it was not said directly to Johann Hari, and you can, too. It is significantly inaccurate, too, because it leaves out a key fact – two people found the bullet. There is no valid journalistic reason to leave out the second person his interviewee has told him about. Hari has misquoted his interviewee, and in doing so risked making her come across as boastful when she was not, a  liar when she was not, and perhaps even created a problem for her with that colleague. And he has also misled us, his readers.

Bloomsbury will be reading Johann’s new book very carefully before they let it hit the shelves… Hari’s one time defenders are very quiet.

Indy Looking for ‘Augmented Reality’ Editor

According to the advert, “The Independent is seeking a digitally focused journalist with experience producing and presenting content for a daily news-driven augmented reality service”. Surely there is only one candidate.

The Indy Pol Ed, UKIP and the Six Year Old Guardian Quote

Fascinating insight from the Indy’s political editor Andy Grice on Thursday last week:

“The wildcard on May 2 could be the UK Independence Party. The anti-EU party is consistently in double figures in the opinion polls and is fielding 1,001 candidates, up from 319 last year. Its best hopes are in Hull, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and West Wiltshire. Although Ukip says it would do well to gain more than 15 seats, it could prove a “spoiler” which prevents Tory victories, helping the Lib Dems in the South and Labour in the North.”

Though as Bloggers for UKIP point out:

“In actual fact, we have 1,734 candidates – up from 593 last time. Hull, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees don’t even have any Council elections this year, whilst West Wiltshire council was abolished in 2009.”

Which is odd. It appears the Indy have tipped UKIP to do well in councils without elections and even in a council that has been abolished. So where did Grice get this dodgy information? It can’t have been from the UKIP website, that clearly lists which candidates are standing where.

Well scroll back six years and those figures and locations were more accurate. It was once reported that “Ukip is fielding 1,001 candidates, with its best hopes in Hull, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and West Wiltshire”, though not by Grice in the Indy, rather by Will Woodward in the Guardian in April 2007. Can anyone remember Grice getting into this sort of trouble before?

American Hack Sees Visions of Johann

A US journalist has been forced to resign from the New Yorker magazine after being caught making up quotes from singer Bob Dylan. Jonah Lehrer first tried to contest the allegations but yesterday conceded that he had falsified quotes from the sixties legend: “I said that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. I then continued to lie and say things I should not have said.” Seems Johann Hari took his old tricks with him when he fled across the pond…

Hari: Old Habits Die Hard

Here we go again…

Via @Steven_Maclean

Dirty Hari Returning to Indy in “Four or Five Weeks”

Despite Chris Blackhurst admitting that the paper’s reputation had suffered great damage at the hands of Johann Hari, the Indy editor also confirmed to Leveson, taking a sip of water and looking directly into the camera,  that the disgraced fraudster will be “returning as a columnist” in the next four or five weeks. He’s banned from conducting interviews though…

Apparently the fact Hari produced a doctor’s note saying he was mental was enough to satisfy the internal investigation, and subsequently the fearless inquiry into press ethics. No mention of late night racist, incest fantasy stories though..

Exclusive: Johann Hari Mails Back Orwell Prize

We are now hearing, as yet unconfirmed, that Johann Hari has returned his Orwell Prize.

In an envelope.

In the post. UPDATE: Delivered by courier.

With no note.

And no cheque…

The Orwell Prize will not confirm…

UPDATE:

Twenty minutes ago we put this story to Gavin Freeguard of the Media Standards Trust. Asked if Hari had returned the prize he said no.

Hari has admitted the whole thing. The fakery, being “David Rose”, the works. He is going to retrain, apologise and come back in 2012.

Absolute cowardice from the Indy. 

UPDATE II: Hari is apparently going to Columbia to study journalism. Pah.

UPDATE III: The Indy says: “The report on his conduct is a private one and will not be published”.

Hari Confesses, Blames Depression

Guido’s man-in-the-know tells him that Johann Hari has confessed all to Andreas Whittam Smith, who is charged by the Independent with investigating the plagiarism charges. He has apparently owned up to being “David Rose”. Which means he has implicitly confessed to harassing the likes of Christina Odone, Nick Cohen and Francis Wheen, altering their Wikipedia pages to reflect negatively on them. In Odone’s case he went so far as to question her sanity and accuse her of all manner of falsehoods. He has, Guido is told, blamed his lying, cheating and smearing behaviour on “depression”. 

Johann Hari: It Was Ever Thus

Cambridge contemporaries of the disgraced Johann Hari could have told you he was full of it for years. What the Indy still don’t seem to be ready to admit was on display in the November 24, 2000 edition of Varsity:

The first of many baffled readers. 

Indy Newsroom's Hari Missing Poster

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. 

+ + + Johann Hari Suspended Pending Investigation + + +

Ed Howker broke the news that Hari will be suspended for two months while he is investigated by former Indy editor Andreas Whittam-Smith. Polly, Kelner, Helena, Laurie, Sunny: your boy took a helluva beating.

Hari Lifted Orwell Prize Piece From Spiegel

As the outrage about journalistic practices spreads, it would be easy to forget the ongoing drama around the Independent’s Johnan Hari, and the investigation into his shameless plagiarism. Other bloggers have started to unravel Hari’s strange online antics, with lots of questions about Hari’s alternative personality online spinner “David R”. Who mysteriously shares an IP address with the Indy…


Currently having his 2008 Orwell Prize reviewed, Guido would like to point the committee to some alarming similarities between one of the articles that Hari submitted for the prize, and a feature in the German magazine Spiegel.

  • Take a read of the first six paragraphs of Johann’s award-winning piece “How Multiculturalism is Betraying Women”. Powerful stuff.
  • Then take a read of the first six paragraphs of Spiegel’s  “Paving the Way for a Muslim Parallel Society”. How odd.

Though he goes on to credit Spiegel with having“documented a long list” mentioned later in the piece, Johann fails to mention he gutted the German introduction, stealing its narrative, facts and quotes. It relies on the same individual cases and lifts a quote from German Minister for Integration Armin Laschet, that was sourced by another journalist If the Orwell Prize committee haven’t read both pieces then they can find them here and here.

And it wasn’t just the Germans that Johann ripped off. In the piece Johann states:

“As the Iranian author Azar Nafisi puts it: “I very much resent it when people – maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view – keep telling me, ‘It’s their culture’ … It’s like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches.”

In Johann’s critical review of Nick Cohen’s “What’s Left?” he wrote:

“Cohen quotes the Iranian author Azar Nafisi: “I very much resent it when people – maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view – keep telling me, ‘It’s their culture’… It’s like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches.””

It seems odd given how scathing Hari was of Cohen in the review that he would go on to quote “What’s Left” without crediting his source. Well it would odd if it was anyone but Hari…

N.B. Lest Guido should be accused of “doing a Hari”, the above points are largely based on original research by Hopi Sen, see also this comment from Hopi.

Hari's "Scoops"

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? […] Read the rest

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Helena Kennedy Should Recuse Herself Over Harigate

A co-conspirator sent in this email this afternoon. If this is true and it was Helena Kennedy he overheard, she should recuse herself from the decision over Johann Hari and the Orwell Prize.

On Friday, mid afternoon I hopped on a train at Clapham Junction heading to Gatwick.

[…] Read the rest

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Hari was Dropped from GQ for "Concocted Journalism"

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, is telling people that Johann Hari was dropped from writing for the magazine because he concocted copy that mixed fact and fiction. You don’t say…

Elsewhere more left-wing men of letters are breaking cover and saying openly what they have been muttering over the olive ciabatta in Hampstead and Islington.[…] Read the rest

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When Hari Met Reality: The First Time Hari Got Sacked for Making Things Up

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.[…] Read the rest

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Orwell Prize "Continue to Pursue" Hari

Then:

“The Independent columnist’s award-winning work included pieces on a cruise with American rightwingers, a report on Saudi Arabia, multiculturalism and women, and another on France’s “secret war” in the Central African Republic. Johann Hari’s work combines courageous reporting and forceful writing with honest analysis,” said Orwell Prize judge Albert Scardino, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.” More…

Now:

“The Orwell Prize became aware of allegations concerning Johann Hari, the winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2008, on Monday 27th June.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Simon Kelner said to Johann Hari…

‘Those who live by Twitter, die by Twitter.’[…] Read the rest

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Dirty Hari: Johann Story Rapidly Unravelling

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.[…] Read the rest

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