The subject that seems to bring the most hits is the Johann Hari career implosion.
So let's talk about that some more. I've disliked him for years but the scale of his disgrace makes me feel sorry for him. His career is over at the age of 32 and his reputation in tatters. A recap of the main scandals:
- Harigate 1 was the plagiarism scandal which was probably survivable,
- Harigate 2 was the sockpuppetery revelations which were a hefty blow but other journalists have survived similar exposure (although their sock puppets didn't slander enemies.
- Harigate 3 is the longstanding allegations of lying in his articles and fabricating quotes look have gained strength. He can't come back from being a confirmed liar.
Hari did not hire a translator, instead browbeating a charity worker into translating for him. He promised to give her his notes when they returned so she could file her own report on the war, and then broke his word. He continued to hold on to the notes even after she complained to Simon Kelner, the Independent’s editor. “The reason for this became clear when his article came out, as most of the content differed from what interviewees told us,” the aid worker told us. Hari “completely exaggerated the extent of destruction in Birao”. He “completely invented quotes, in particular those of the French soldiers”. In one gruesome vignette, Hari had French soldiers telling a piteous story of how “children would bring us the severed heads of their parents and scream for help, but our orders were not to help them”. “They did not say this. I know because I was there and I did the translating for them.”Inventing atrocities in a conflict zone, such as the one highlighted, is something I spotted him doing a few years ago, although I initially assumed that he was simply gullible.
However the other interesting aspect is the position of the Independent's editor at the time, Simon Kelner. Despite the charity worker contacting him to raise concerns about this article and previous question marks raised about Hari, he doesn't appear to have made any efforts to look into the matter.
Indeed he actively vouched for Hari to the committee of the Orwell Prize and accused his critics in Harigate 1 of being politically motivated.
The Independent investigation into Johann Hari has to look at the editor who did not do their job editing his work.
Important Note: In accordance with the official Right of Centre Blogger's Code to which I am a signitory, I shall not be devoting any posts to covering the News International scandals in this much depth unless it is to say "What about the Mirror?"