Attack On Hari – Dismantling Our Infrastructure

June 29, 2011 § 4 Comments

This is not a defense of Hari’s breach of his readers’ trust. I am as disappointed in him as you are. He has undermined his own credibility by trying to be too smart.

But to suggest that this Westminster story is simply a question of journalistic integrity is naive. This is a full-on attack on one of the media-pillars of the progressive left, a powerful writer and attack-dog.

Guido brought the story to light yesterday. Telegraph soon followed. Toby Young got in on the action, turning it into a broader attack on the editor of the Independent. (Perhaps he’s forgotten his own writing misdemeanors – here the New York Times and a former employer accuse him of plagiarism.)

Hari’s apology for not attributing quotes trailed on page 1 and page 7 of the Independent today. To put that in perspective, The Sunday Times apology for making up John Prescott’s quotes? Bottom of page 24.

Johann is a powerful writer. His pieces (like this one about the Congo) are worthy of the prizes bestowed on him. He will have to work doubly hard to regain the trust of his readers, but for us to hang him out to dry is as shortsighted as it is dangerous.

Oh – and if you want to read why he’s hated? It’s because he’s good.

§ 4 Responses to Attack On Hari – Dismantling Our Infrastructure

  • Agreed. Guido and pals create a much more effective block online and tear shreds out every time.

  • Ben R says:

    Johann Hari is one of the finest journalists in the UK, and he is one of the voices that make UK journalism worth keeping.

    Exhibits A to G: Christopher Booker. James Delingpole. The Spiked Online set. Melanie Phillips. Peter Hitchens. Richard Littlejohn. Jan Moir.

    The culture wars are NOT over. The public forums of the media are not safe, neutral zones.

    Exhibit H: The Oxfam/Profero post-mortem of the UEA climate emails smear attack observed a closer, better networked pack of individuals on the climate-denial side than on the climate-support side of the web. They respond quickly, and they don’t waste time and energy sniping at one another.

    Though we don’t have identical views, I know that Johann is a righteous man, and I have his back. I hope when I get in a public blunder, there will be people who have my back.

  • […] Most NGO staff receive some sort of media training – but we need to up our game. How many simulated debates do we practice? How often do we use a real studio for this? How do we defend the strong media advocates when they get attached? […]

  • […] The attack on Johann Hari is an attack on our progressive infrastructure. […]

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