“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…
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.
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.
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?
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…
Here we go again…