Johann Hari leaves the Independent and may yet learn to be a journalist
Johann Hari, the journalist at the Independent who was suspended for plagiarism, has announced that he will not return to the newspaper. Hari had been undergoing retraining in the United States and was expected to return to the Independent next month but said on his personal website that he did not want to see colleagues taking the blame for his mistakes.
It’s incredible that a journalist who cheated should be be wanted back at the paper, even at the Indy, which is not only the dullest read on the news shelf but spawned the i, a tabloid stripped of the hard-nosed opinion, humour and wit that make tabloids so popular.
As Fleet Street Fox wrote:
Hari failed on all counts. He’s a bad journalist earning a huge salary on a struggling newspaper with tight budgets that can barely afford proper news coverage, staffed by people trying their hardest and each of whom, had they brought their newspaper into the disrepute he has, would have been sacked. Yet he’s not only still in a job, he’s on a five-month holiday two months of which were paid, and is “retraining” at Columbia University in the US. How can you retrain someone who was never trained in the first place?
Well, in the certain expectation I will never be asked to do it, I hereby offer to train Johann Hari. If he wants to spend three months with me rather than attending seminars on the free press in Somalia I’ll not charge him a penny. I will teach him shorthand, lecture him on the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, grill him on local government, the council tax system, the defences against defamation and how to win a drinking contest.
I’ll send him out on deathknocks, pack jobs, magistrates’ hearings, junkie inquests, tell him to drive 300 miles on a hopeless tip at 10pm then insist he’s back at work for 7am, make him spend his birthday at a late-night local council planning committee, publish his phone number and paint his name on the side of his car so everyone knows who he is. I’ll show him what to do when someone comes at him with a lump of wood or collapses in tears, and how to file off a notebook down a bad line while you’re being shot at to someone who’s drunk…
He probably wouldn’t last an afternoon.