David Frum

08.15.12

A Very Different Media Scandal (UPDATED)

In the Tuesday edition of the Washington Post, reporter Paul Farhi published a story accusing Fareed Zakaria of misappropriating somebody else's work.

Farhi's story has been widely repeated, reposted, and discussed, doing great damage to Fareed Zakaria's reputation.

At 6:43 PM last night, I posted on the Daily Beast site documentary proof that Farhi's story was wholly groundless: not a smidgen of truth. I also pointed out that the story was not merely wholly false, but also easily shown as false. The slightest effort at verification of the story would have found what our little Daily Beast group found.

At 10:45 PM that same night, I succeeded in making contact with Paul Farhi. I directed his attention to the Daily Beast story, and asked whether he had done anything to verify his reporting against the written record.

I promised that Paul Farhi's answer would be off-the-record, but a glance at the material below makes clear what the answer must have been.

This AM, the FrumBeast team sent emails to three different Washington Post editors asking whether they intended a retraction of the story. A little past 11, we were told some response would shortly be forthcoming. We'll let you know when we hear more.

UPDATE (1:55 PM): The Washington Post never did respond to my queries. It did however post a correction on its own website.

Correction: This story incorrectly states that in the initial hardcover edition of his 2008 book, “The Post-American World,” Fareed Zakaria failed to cite the source of a quote taken from another book. In fact, Zakaria did credit author Clyde V. Prestowitz.

This of course amounts to a retraction of the entire Washington Post story.

UPDATE (5:26 PM): The Washington Post has issued a change to its correction as of 5:04 PM:

Correction: This article incorrectly states that in his 2008 book, “The Post-American World,” Fareed Zakaria failed to cite the source of a quotation taken from another book. In fact, Zakaria did credit the other work, by Clyde V. Prestowitz. Endnotes crediting Prestowitz were contained in hardcover and paperback editions of Zakaria’s book. The Post should have examined copies of the books and should not have published the article. We regret the error and apologize to Fareed Zakaria.