Being a lazy hack doesn’t get you fired. Being an arrogant jerk doesn’t get you fired. Being spectacularly wrong on predictions doesn’t get you fired. Being spectacularly wrong on facts doesn’t get you fired.
And now, apparently, if you are member in good standing of the Village punditocracy, even being a serial plagiarist doesn’t get you fired:
Time magazine and CNN are reinstating the commentator Fareed Zakaria after a review of his work in light of his admission that he plagiarized parts of a New Yorker article in a recent column for Time….
After the news, CNN also suspended him as host of the weekly program “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and said that a shorter blog post that he had written for CNN’s Web site had similarly unattributed excerpts. CNN and Time magazine are both part of Time Warner.
The network said in a statement on Thursday that it, too, had completed an internal review of Mr. Zakaria’s work. “We found nothing that merited continuing the suspension,” the statement reads…
Of course nothing merited continuing Zakaria’s suspension, or even suspending him in the first place. As soon as he acknowledged his guilt, Fareed – who has been accused of exactly this sort of thing before – should have been thrown out of the Village on his ass, never to work in journalism again.
Not that what Zakaria and his ilk do now is journalism. It isn’t even stenography (which is basically plagiarism with credits). Instead, Zakaria has amassed a very comfortable living from repeating slight variations on conventional wisdom while never, ever questioning the basic paradigms of oligarchal legitimacy.
For that job description, plagiarism might be bad PR, but it’s an essential job skill – only it’s usually called “repeating talking points.” And now that Zakaria has learned a valuable lesson in supplying his own synonyms, he’s back to being a valued Village member. His Time suspension was supposed to last for a month; instead, he endured a brutal six day suspension (weekend included), which may or may not have been without pay.
Fred Hiatt, Zakaria’s execrable WaPo editorial page editor, never even bothered suspending him in the first place: “Fareed Zakaria is a valued contributor. We’ve never had any reason to doubt the integrity of his work for us.”
Of course not. In the Village, the only thing that would make an editor or producer doubt someone’s integrity is a display of actual, you know, integrity. Instead, good Village members, once bought, stay bought. That’s integrity.
I sure hope, at the Georgetown parties these folks apparently hang out at, condoms are readily available. Such robust circle jerking can have serious public health risks. And the next morning, it can be so hard to remember who first said what.