Our Bad Media | Newsweek

Washington Post editorial page Editor Fred Hiatt said five Fareed Zakaria articles "strike me as problematic in their absence of full attribution."

Those five were part of six identified as unoriginal by the anonymous media critics @blippoblappo and @crushingbort in a post Monday. The posts contained plagiarism, patchwriting or material repurposed from press releases, they wrote.

In one instance, a Zakaria piece from August 2011 contains a passage identical to one in a Foreign Policy article. In another, lines in a 2012 column echo passages from a White House press release.

The five "problematic" articles, Hiatt told Poynter in an email, are "unfair to readers and to the original sources. We will take a fuller look over the next day or two, but we probably will attach messages to the archived editions of the five columns."

Newsweek on Friday removed the editor's note it had placed over Zakaria's archives for that publication, placing individual corrections on "articles that Newsweek staffers felt warranted them." (One such note says Zakaria's work "borrows extensively from June 1, 2004 remarks by John Kerry without proper attribution.")

Slate on Monday put an editor's note on a 1998 Zakaria column that "failed to properly attribute quotations and information" from another piece. @blippoblappo and @crushingbort torched that column in September. Slate Group Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg told Politico's Dylan Byers "I respect but don’t agree with" the decision. "Getting too much information from a credited source may be lazy," Weisberg said. "It may even be bad manners. But it is not, in my opinion, an ethical infraction."

The Post reviewed Zakaria's work in August 2012, after he apologized for lifting words from The New Yorker in a column for Time.

In his email to Poynter, Hiatt noted all the Washington Post examples @crushingbort and @blippoblappo identified predated that incident, "when Fareed acknowledged similar problems in a column for Time magazine. At that time he said that he was overextended and that he would simplify his schedule to put more priority on his column and to make sure no such problems recurred," Hiatt said.