Cynical Johann Hari Is The Celebrity Plagiarist: His Fame Keeps Him Working In The Profession He Cheapens
AS I wrote on June 28, the fuss over columnist Johann Hari will do him no harm whatsoever. So I told you so. Many privately assured me that he would lose his job at the Independent but I knew better. Once you understand that newspaper editors are craven in the court of celebrity – even a micro-celebrity created by themselves or predecessors – it was rapidly deducible that a laundering formula would be found to retain Hari’s services which did not include the words ‘You’re fired!’
What impresses me most is that Hari has clearly paid attention to Madame Arcati. In my piece (linked above), I lectured that a celeb interview is an ‘encounter’ not an ‘intellectual portrait’ as he self-servingly put it: so, in yesterday’s apology, what word does he use to display his new wisdom and describe a celebrity interview? ‘Encounter’. He learns fast. No wonder he’s good at exams.
At heart is not Hari’s lack of journalistic education – as his new editor claimed ludicrously last night onNewsnight – but his very low opinion of journalism. You don’t stuff up your interviews with quotes from elsewhere and then pass them off as your own work unless you think that no-one will notice or care. You don’t pinch someone’s name to attack critics on Wikipedia unless you imagine colleagues are stupid. Ease of career passage has bequeathed Hari nothing but contempt and cynicism. His ‘apology’ is a lesson in cynicism.
Hari does not need yet more education. What he needs is to find a new career he can respect.