CNN host and Time columnist Fareed Zakaria appears to have plagiarized several passages of a recent column on gun control — an ethical lapse caught by an editor working for the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Accusations that Zakaria plagiarized text originally written by Jill Lepore in April’s The New Yorkerfirst surfaced in Newsbusters, where blogger Tim Graham highlighted the passages after a tip from NRANews.com editor Cam Edwards.
“Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” Zakaria wrote in his column for the latest edition of Time. “Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.’”
Graham correctly noted that Zakaria’s paragraph is awfully similar to a paragraph from Lepore’s April piece, which reads:
“As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, ‘Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,’ firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.’”
Shortly after the allegations were published online, Time issued a statement explaining that its editors take “any accusations of plagiarism by any of our journalists very seriously, and we will carefully examine the facts before saying anything else on the matter.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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