Plagiarists’ addictive, stressful world

Fareed Zakaria says he just confused his notes. When writers are accused of plagiarism, the excuses sound familiar SLIDE SHOW

Topics: Books, Writers and Writing, Fareed Zakaria, Jonah Lehrer, Plagiarism, ,

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    (AP/Steven Senne)

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Fareed Zakaria

    As the New York Times reported, Zakaria said that he had basically committed an innocent blunder, not plagiarism.

    “The mistake, he said, occurred when he confused the notes he had taken about Ms. Lepore’s article — he said he often writes his research in longhand — with notes taken from “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” by Adam Winkler (W.W. Norton, 2011), a copy of which was on his desk at his CNN office.”

    As the New York Times reported, Zakaria said that he had basically committed an innocent blunder, not plagiarism.

    “The mistake, he said, occurred when he confused the notes he had taken about Ms. Lepore’s article — he said he often writes his research in longhand — with notes taken from “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” by Adam Winkler (W.W. Norton, 2011), a copy of which was on his desk at his CNN office.”

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Jonah Lehrer

    Jonah Lehrer attempted to explain his behavior in a statement that he released shortly after his fabrication scandal broke.

    “Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book Imagine. The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes.”

    He continued, “But I told Mr Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said.”

    Jonah Lehrer attempted to explain his behavior in a statement that he released shortly after his fabrication scandal broke.

    “Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book Imagine. The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes.”

    He continued, “But I told Mr Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said.”

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Quentin Rowan

    Disgraced novelist and master plagiarist Quentin Rowan gave two explanations for his behavior. Initially, he mentioned pressure as the reason behind his strange literary aggregation. After that, he resorted to addiction.

    “Once the book was bought, I had to make major changes in quite a hurry, basically re-write the whole thing from scratch, and that’s when things really got out of hand for me. I just didn’t feel capable of writing the kinds of scenes and situations that were asked of me in the time allotted and rather than saying I couldn’t do it, or wasn’t capable, I started stealing again.”

    Later, his story changed,

    “Between the first piece of writing I stole in the library all those years ago and the debut of my fake spy thriller, I struggled with plagiarism in the same way others struggle with smoking, sex addiction, food addiction, and gambling.”

    Disgraced novelist and master plagiarist Quentin Rowan gave two explanations for his behavior. Initially, he mentioned pressure as the reason behind his strange literary aggregation. After that, he resorted to addiction.

    “Once the book was bought, I had to make major changes in quite a hurry, basically re-write the whole thing from scratch, and that’s when things really got out of hand for me. I just didn’t feel capable of writing the kinds of scenes and situations that were asked of me in the time allotted and rather than saying I couldn’t do it, or wasn’t capable, I started stealing again.”

    Later, his story changed,

    “Between the first piece of writing I stole in the library all those years ago and the debut of my fake spy thriller, I struggled with plagiarism in the same way others struggle with smoking, sex addiction, food addiction, and gambling.”

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Jayson Blair

    Notorious plagiarist and fabricator Jayson Blair summed up his sins in an interview with NPR:

    “Once I was at the best newspaper, I needed to have the best beat,” Blair said. “Once I had a better beat, I needed to have an even better one. And somewhere in that climbing, I lost sight of, sort of, my moral and ethical underpinnings.”

    “At every moment of potential weakness, or where I felt I couldn’t do something … it was so much easier to jump back over the ethical line.”

    Notorious plagiarist and fabricator Jayson Blair summed up his sins in an interview with NPR:

    “Once I was at the best newspaper, I needed to have the best beat,” Blair said. “Once I had a better beat, I needed to have an even better one. And somewhere in that climbing, I lost sight of, sort of, my moral and ethical underpinnings.”

    “At every moment of potential weakness, or where I felt I couldn’t do something … it was so much easier to jump back over the ethical line.”

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Mike Barnicle

    In 1998, Barnicle was accused of plagiarizing a column and fabricating a story for the Boston Globe. He was fired from the newspaper after his editors weren’t able to find the main characters of the article in question. Barnicle came up with an elaborate story to account for the strangely absent people he had based his story on.

    “The editor of the Globe, the staff of the Globe, they’re charged with putting out the best possible product they can each and every day and they can’t be responding to these charges involving me each and every day,” he said, attempting to explain why he was fired.

    In 1998, Barnicle was accused of plagiarizing a column and fabricating a story for the Boston Globe. He was fired from the newspaper after his editors weren’t able to find the main characters of the article in question. Barnicle came up with an elaborate story to account for the strangely absent people he had based his story on.

    “The editor of the Globe, the staff of the Globe, they’re charged with putting out the best possible product they can each and every day and they can’t be responding to these charges involving me each and every day,” he said, attempting to explain why he was fired.

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Stephen Glass

    Once a rising star for The New Republic, Stephen Glass is now a lawyer in California, where his bar application was accepted after being rejected due to ethical considerations. Glass, who plagiarized and made up many of the quotes and scenes from his New Republic, Rolling Stone and George magazine articles, had this to say to the California court who reviewed his bar application case.

    “I was very, very, very much wanted, and felt very powerfully the desire to please my parents, please my editors, and to succeed at this.”

    Once a rising star for The New Republic, Stephen Glass is now a lawyer in California, where his bar application was accepted after being rejected due to ethical considerations. Glass, who plagiarized and made up many of the quotes and scenes from his New Republic, Rolling Stone and George magazine articles, had this to say to the California court who reviewed his bar application case.

    “I was very, very, very much wanted, and felt very powerfully the desire to please my parents, please my editors, and to succeed at this.”

    Plagiarists' addictive, stressful world

    Stephen Ambrose

    By the end of his career, renowned historian Stephen Ambrose faced accusations of plagiarism. He defended himself by saying he forgot to include the respective quotation marks.

    “I tell stories. I don’t discuss my documents. I discuss the story. It almost gets to the point where, how much is the reader going to take? I am not writing a Ph.D. dissertation.“

    He continued, “I wish I had put the quotation marks in, but I didn’t. I am not out there stealing other people’s writings. If I am writing up a passage and it is a story I went to tell and this story fits and a part of it is from other people’s writing, I just type it up that way and put it in a footnote. I just want to know where the hell it came from.”

    By the end of his career, renowned historian Stephen Ambrose faced accusations of plagiarism. He defended himself by saying he forgot to include the respective quotation marks.

    “I tell stories. I don’t discuss my documents. I discuss the story. It almost gets to the point where, how much is the reader going to take? I am not writing a Ph.D. dissertation.“

    He continued, “I wish I had put the quotation marks in, but I didn’t. I am not out there stealing other people’s writings. If I am writing up a passage and it is a story I went to tell and this story fits and a part of it is from other people’s writing, I just type it up that way and put it in a footnote. I just want to know where the hell it came from.”

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