New Republic reports plagiarism allegations against Pulitzer-winner Chris Hedges

The New Republic

A fact-checker at Harper’s caught plagiarism in a manuscript submitted by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges in 2010, according to a New Republic article today. Sections of the draft were apparently lifted from then Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Katz’s work the previous year.

The Harper’s incident was part a pattern of Hedges lifting material from other sources, Christopher Ketcham writes:

The plagiarism at Harper’s was not an isolated incident. Hedges has a history of lifting material from other writers that goes back at least to his first book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, published in 2002. He has echoed language from Nation author Naomi Klein. He has lifted lines from radical social critic Neil Postman. He has even purloined lines from Ernest Hemingway.

The Harper’s fact-checker told Ketcham that Hedges was “very unhelpful from the beginning, and very aggressive.” Here’s part of what Hedges told Ketcham in response to claims of plagiarism:

“It has always been my experience working with editors over many years that we work together to fully source and vet an article,” Hedges continued. “Thus, at this stage a charge of plagiarism was at once shocking and unwarranted. … The final, published material is what counts.”

But Ketcham also outlines other published passages by Hedges that are very similar to or identical in wording to work by other writers.

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  • Jason James Bickford

    Hedges is an atheist and so am I. He attacked secular fundamentalism, and rightfully so. I hold my fellow non religious community to a higher standard and they often don’t live up. They pick easy fights and ignore the consequences of their spreading islamophobia and misinformation about the legitimacy of threats to American soil and mask the nature of America’s tyrannical foreign policies. They are incapable of crossing the aisle to help empower liberal Christians, who should be our allies against fundamentalism, against the very real threat in America that is the radical neofascist Christian Right. You didn’t have a problem when Hedges attacked them, did you? But when he turned around and immediately went after New Atheism you got offended? As a open minded tolerant atheist, I’m as disgusted with the fascist radical Christian Right as I am with the NeoCon rhetoric of the torture, preemptive nuclear strikes, and profiling advocate Sam Harris. So we are clear, Hedges attacked fundamentalism, twice. He has respect for atheists, and has identified himself as one, despite advocating for the liberal morality of his gay rights advocating minister father’s religion.

  • BumpIt McCarthy

    Then take Ketcham’s list of examples to a bookstore, crack open the Postman or Klein, and verify it physically. Christ’s lookalike, the evidence is all there.

    It’s sad how little regard Hedges’ loyalists have for the writers he ripped off, particularly Katz, who did the Camden piece. Changing “my sources” to “sources” within what you later claim was just a mistakenly unattributed block quote is a red flag. Hedges quite knowingly, and stupidly, tweaked Katz’ text minutely, as if that would matter.

    I am mystified why anyone would do this who isn’t a schlumpy freshman with an overdue paper. A well-known writer runs a much higher chance of being caught. It must be some sort of literary compulsive shoplifting.

  • BumpIt McCarthy

    Considering that Ketcham DID acknowledge, and document, the plagiarism of his wife’s work, your complaint is weak sauce. The refusal of two respected and vital left publications to print a thoroughly substantiated case against one of their own condemns them rather than Ketcham, and is frankly disturbing.

    The most laughable attack on the messenger so far has been FDL, where Hamsher refused to even read the story through, claiming it was too many words! The necessity of providing comparative examples of pilfered and original text upped the word count, but the whole post and comment thread are Onion-worthy.

    Oh, and Hedges is one of our most original thinkers, so he can’t be a plagiarist. Thanks, Jane.

  • Francis BK

    You left out some important and relevant facts from the article, such as the fact that Ketcham had an axe to grind against Hedges for supposedly plagiarizing Ketcham’s wife, that Ketcham has been trying and failing to publish this hit piece since at least December 2012, that both Salon and American Prospect rejected Ketcham’s article, and that Truthdig and The Nation found no evidence for plagiarism by Hedges despite Ketcham’s claims.

  • giantslor

    I stopped loving Hedges when I heard him bashing atheists. This is another strike against him.

  • Bliss

    Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

  • Nobody

    This is so disappointing…. :/