Photo: flickr user: internets_dairy
In case you’re wondering what the #interviewswithhari hashtag is about (at one point third highest trending topic in the world), we’re here to help.Johann Hari, columnist for The Independent and The Huffington Post, has become embroiled in a “plagiarism” row in the past couple of days.
A growing number of bloggers had become suspicious of Hari’s journalistic chops, notably when a profile he wrote in 2004 of Italian Communist Toni Negri was found to quote judiciously (and without attribution) from a book published in 2003.
Hari’s response, published yesterday in a blog post entitled “Interview etiquette“, went:
When I’ve interviewed a writer, it’s quite common that they will express an idea or sentiment to me that they have expressed before in their writing – and, almost always, they’ve said it more clearly in writing than in speech.
Hari goes on to say that he has never had a complaint from an interviewee about his methods, and claims he has spoken to other journalists who also use the method.
However, over at The Telegraph Toby Young explains why Hari’s method is so controversial, and his explanation so unsatisfactory:
Hari isn’t simply accused of lifting quotes from elsewhere and not referencing a source. That’s misleading, but not straightforwardly dishonest. What Hari is doing is actively claiming that the interviewee said those specific quotes to him, Johann Hari.
Hari, an openly-gay, outspoken, and very successful leftist journalist, has long been a target of scorn for British right wing journalists. Many of Hari’s critics are now using the hashtag #interviewswithhari to mock Hari’s interview technique and subsequent response by posting fake interviews with famous quotes in them.
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