After it emerged that I had done this, some defenders of the powerful people I had taken on over the years for their wrongdoing saw an opportunity to try to discredit what I had written about them. Amid legitimate criticism of what I had done wrong, there were lots of untrue statements, but I’m hardly in a position to complain that some people saw it as an opportunity to take a free kick.
In 2007, I travelled through the Central African Republic to report on the fact the French government had been bombing the country. An anonymous claim was made that I had exaggerated the extent of the French bombing, and that I had fabricated a quote from a French soldier on the ground. Two representatives of the NGO that I travelled with came forward to The Independent’s investigation into my journalism and they said my description of the bombing damage was entirely accurate, and that they have photographs of it. They also explained that they witnessed me speaking to several French soldiers when the person making these charges was otherwise occupied.
The collosal self regard shines through- "defenders of the powerful people I had taken on over the years for their wrongdoing saw an opportunity to try to discredit what I had written about them".
As he is sticking to this story and the Independent have not fired him it must be assumed that they believe his denial. Which is to say they believe an absolutely extraordinary story- that African children were approaching French soldiers carrying the severed heads of their parents screaming for help- despite the fact that an aid worker who was there flatly refutes his claims.
Given that Hari's use of deceit has been proven- with anonymous libel on Wikipedia and misrepresenting other people's interview quotes as his own work- and he has had questions raised over his honesty since he was a student why would the Independent give him the benefit of the doubt over this wild tale? Is the aid worker who went to Private Eye with her complaint one of the shadowy "defenders of powerful people"?
Hari says that two other aid workers backed him up. However as it has already been established that they had become personal friends of his and he has used friends of his to support his lies before- by posing as the real life David Rose and Niko- that surely cannot carry any weight. It seems pretty unlikely that given the brazenness of the lies Hari admits to that his foreign reporting would be clean, as that is an area notoriously easy to fake.
It is quite clear that from the word go the Independent had no interest in investigating what Hari did. The absurd delay in investigating him, the fact that they did not speak to any of the other journalists who criticised him and the insistence in keeping the results of their investigation secret demonstrate this.
The Independent's cover up means that they can simply not be trusted to report on any subject as they have made it clear that they do not respect their readers enough to tell them the truth.