I guess some journalistic scandals are forgotten if they contributed to the periodical’s web hits

I mean, Fisk still has his job at The Independent. Andrew has compared himself with Johann Hari and Irshad Manji as steadfast voices against antisemitism. It’s just that it’s difficult to believe that Irshad Manji would stand behind the sentiments and failure of journalistic ethics in Hari’s column about Israel 60th birthday and then in his following column, about being the victim of a smear campaign for merely criticizing Israel.

I also doubt that Irshad feels too happy about some of Andrew’s recent contributions to debate about Israel. Anyway, I came across some interesting links last night about a mini-scandal relating to Hari’s journalistic ethics that casts a new light on Andrew’s having written:

Note Johann’s credentials as a writer and reporter, whose brave and extensive record exposing vile Islamist anti-Semitism[,] cannot be denied.

However, it seems those credentials have been impugned for a lack of journalistic ethics related to inventing details, as well as for Hari’s neurotic sensitivity to criticism.

He threatened to sue Harry’s place because a post there repeated Nick Cohen’s claim that Hari had “made up” some interesting back-story about his parents steeping the house in Orwell worship.

Blogger David T just quoted Cohen and then wrote:

Basically, I think that bloggers and tabloid journalists are entitled to be a little bombastic, and to get things wrong, as long as they’re happy to correct their errors when they become clear.

[Hint, Andrew.]

However if you aspire to be a serious academic commentator or non-tabloid journalist, a reputation for making things up should spell career death.

Here’s a Guardian blog post about the issue.

By bringing this issue up, am I now contributing to the pro-Israel “smear” campaign against Hari? Sure, why not. I mention this issue because I think it’s important to remember that we can’t take the ethics of high-profile, experienced journalists on good faith, to the extent that we assume that their ethical failures will be small ones, and not embarrassingly big. Timely example: Hari’s two columns about Israel and the attempt to silence him, and in this context, Andrew’s giving the columns his unquestioning seal of approval.

The only real “attempt to silence” in Johann Hari’s past seems to be his own threat to sue a blogger for relaying the truth about a major ethical slip.

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One Response

  1. […] time, Hari didn’t send in his lawyer after a person who impugned his journalistic integrity. No, this time, he decided that to […]

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