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Gay journalist Johann Hari expected to lose Orwell Prize

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  1. He is a very good writer.

    Such a pity that he failed so miserably in attributing quotes and sources, and thereby failed so miserably in his journalistic duties (although compared to the scummy illegal tactics used by ‘journalists’ at the News International camp, I think Hari’s behaviour is saintly,

    He has however undermined his excellent writing.and also his reputation.

  2. the independent has become a right wing rag owned by an ex kgb oligarch and edited by ex standard editor. They needed to get rid of him

  3. The fact remains that Johann Hari is a very readable journalist, especially in polemics attacking the right and stupid (not always the same people). His defence of quoting people’s own words has been that in an interview what people say is not always totally coherent but the gist of what they intend to say is clear and in these, and only these, circumstances he may insert what they would have meant to have said. The reality is that may journalists ‘tidy up’what their interviewees say into something more coherent. Johann has said that he does not (otherwise) make up quotes, and I haven’t seen evidence of him doing so.

    1. Correction : The reality is that many journalists etc etc

      1. That’s a ver weak defence.

        A journalist should not attribute quotes to people – end of story.

        No ifs, ands or buts about it.

        And in light of the gross criminality at play in the British media (particularly among News International ‘journalists’) I think his defence is very, very weak and pretty much unacceptable.

      2. That would be OK if he paraphrased what an interviewee said. Instead he pinched quotes from other journalists’ interviews, pretending they were said to him, and also nicked phrases from biographies etc. He is an out-&-out plagiarist and what he did was indefensible.

    2. “Johann has said that he does not (otherwise) make up quotes, and I haven’t seen evidence of him doing so.”

      Check out some of Guy Walters’ pieces on the New Statesman blog, he sets out chapter and verse where Hari fabricated (not just misattributed) stuff.

      1. It isn’t only his mainstream journalism Johann has plagiarised. Hari has nicked stuff from various gay men’s online resources for his various columns for Attitude. It only clicked when he was exposed in the media that my mind wasn’t playing tricks and that, yes, various of his columns I have read contained whole sentences – not just “borrowed” quotes – ripped off verbatim from intensely researched stuff I had read elsewhere. It is frankly unacceptable and at the same time a great shame as some of his more gay-centric articles were spot on the pulse, even if I am relieved his sacking from The Indie will have put an end to his pompous left-wing pontificating. Goodness me, he would have had a field day had he still been in circulation, aiming brickbats at News Corp while being not much better himself when it comes to honesty, trust and integrity.

  4. If he has any balls, he’ll hand the prize back and then start to re-build his career.

  5. Who cares if he’s gay? He’s an awful phoney who has been caught with his pants down – and they’re stuffed with tissues.

    1. And one who has done much more to bring LGBT rights to the fore in the media than many others?

      I don’t see the big deal about this at all. He’s a fantastic writer and he is still someone I have HUGE respect for – regardless of this slip up.

      Johann, there are still some of us who support you wholeheartedly.

      1. The ‘big deal’ is that he allegedly fabricated quotes and invented encounters.

        That is a huge deal for a journalist and a newspaper which desires the public trust.

        I am sure that the Independent is worried that by allowing alleged liars to work at their paper, then their reputation may sink to the depths of the sewers that News International titles are currently lurking in.

      2. How can you say he is a fantastic writer when so much of what he wrote was written by someone else?? There are plenty of decent, honourable people who support and promote LGBT rights, so you can’t forrgive him just because he is on our side.

      3. It’s completely irrelevant what he has done as regards LGBT rights. I’m sorry you don’t see what’s wrong with it. It’s about honesty and truthfulness and not stealing other peoples’ work and claiming it for yourself. Basic standards that should apply to all journalists.

        1. You can’t assume that because of what he has done that all pieces of his work are invalid or forged in some way.

          I also don’t question for one second that there are more deserving LGBT writers out there who push the issue in the media.

          I do however like what he writes and agree with his views.

          It was a stupid thing to do but by god we all make some pretty severe mistakes in life. He’s apologised and now as a result is likely to have the award taken off of him. His career is in ruins and I think that’s punishment enough.

          Let him be.

  6. de Villiers 26 Jul 2011, 1:50pm

    This whole episode shows that people’s morality flows with their politics. Those on the right have enjoyed condemning him, ignoring that they would defend one of their own who had done the same. Those on the left have sought to defend him ignoring that they would have condemned one of their own who had done the same.
    .
    All in all, depressing.

  7. de Villiers 26 Jul 2011, 2:01pm

    This whole episode shows that people’s morality flows with their politics. Those on the right have enjoyed condemning him, ignoring that they would defend one of their own who had done the same. Those on the left have sought to defend him ignoring that they would have condemned one on the right who had done the same.
    .
    All in all, depressing.

  8. Martin Lawrence 26 Jul 2011, 8:46pm

    It is perfectly possible to write up an interview in such a way that a clear distinction is made between precise quotations from the interviewee, and summaries of the gist of what he saying on a particular matter. To attempt to give added verisimilitude to your report by rewording quotes a la Hansard, simply won’t do. Still less will the importation of quotes which are actually by others, without clearly signalling the fact. People who pay for the Independent are entitles to better than this.

  9. Johann is guilty of being a little lazy and failing to credit original sources and quotes.
    This is particularly sad as he is such a good journalist and has the balls to take on people like Littlejohn etc.

    1. In what way exactly is he a good journalist? A good journalist does the hard work, research and so on and publishes the truth that he/she has discovered. Hari is a petulant, self-justifying plagiarist riding on the creativity of others. It’s not so much that he failed to credit sources, it’s the fact that he claimed them to be his own work! It is cringe-making how the left, who must feel particularly let down by him, continue to support him when there are so many truly good journalists from the left who would never dream of taking the liberties that Hari did.

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