SAY IT AIN’T SO! ZAKARIA SUSPENDED FOR COPYING HARVARD HISTORY PROF’S WRITING

CNN host and Time Editor At Large Fareed Zakaria has been suspended by both the magazine and the network for using several paragraphs written by another writer. Last week reporters called attention to similarities between Zakaria’s column in Time’s August 20th issue and writings by Jill Lepore, a Harvard University history professor in the New Yorker Magazine relating to the right to bear arms in America. I have always found Zakaria  A MUST-WATCH on CNN and have to read in Time. His work has been generally unique and well reasoned and his topics of choice, including infant mortality, education, economics domestic and foreign have been key. He is a well versed economist and well read in many areas. This is the reason why the news is so disturbing also coming on the heals of neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer, whose well researched book on creativity had to be pulled from the shelves after he admitted making up quotes from Bob Dillon. I don’t know why either of these individual did what they did but I do believe that we have too few individuals who really  analyze a topic and write consistently worthwhile articles  on issues of relevance to us. This may be why there added pressure on those in the media who have been able to do so. Not an excuse mind you, but we need both of these people as they add significantly to a depleted intellectual canvas. Zakaria is supended for one month pending further review of his other work. I hope that this incident ends with that. The issue does bring to mind the attage that perfection is the enemy of the good. That is to say that solid, well reasoned methodical analysis is all we need or expect to help is understand the issues of our lives which we can no longer learn about in the evening news, which contains one news item and 20 puff pieces. David Brooks who writes for the Times is consistent, well informed and generally a font of new information on critical issues and occurences of our times. He is not, however, a perfectionist in the sense that he strives to be workmanlike, consistent, deeply probing but not a place to find cures or absolute solutions.Lehrer is in a tougher arena in a way. He wrote pieces for the New Yorker but he also set his sights on writing detailed books on the arcane study of the inner workings of the brain and mind. An abitious task if you need or want to come out with a book every couple of years. It can be done but at what price? In any case, I am an awe of all of these individuals who have set their sights so high. We are better informed as a result of their work.