Friday, July 22, 2011

Johann Hari exposed

The story broke in the UK press a couple of weeks ago and I've been meaning to post this for a while, but being busy with the imminent move back to Oz I didn't get around to it.

It's been somewhat swamped by the Murdoch News of the World saga but it involves much the same thing, appalling standards of 'journalism'.

I'm prompted to devote time to it today by an article in this morning's The National.

It concerns Johann Hari, a columnist I've disliked for a long time and who I've slated here before, and his standards of 'journalism'. You'll remember Mr Hari for his infamous article 'The Dark Side of Dubai' written over two years ago now.

He's at last been publicly exposed for something that was apparent from that and other articles; misrepresention, misquoting and making up 'facts' to make a point.

Hari admitted exactly that when in response to the criticisms he said he had opted for "intellectual accuracy" over "reportorial accuracy".

He has quite rightly been suspended by his newspaper, The Independent, and calls are being made for his various awards for journalism to be taken back. One committee is said to be actively investigating their award to him.

The National quotes Bitish author and columnist Guy Walters as saying Hari has committed three journalistic crimes: "First, he has pretended that words spoken to other journalists were in fact said to him. That is plagiarism, pure and simple. Secondly, he makes things up. There is no doubt in my mind that many of the people he supposedly encounters - such as the girl in hot pants in Dubai - are figments of his imagination. Thirdly, he distorts the words of the real people he does manage to interview."

Certainly the second and third apply to his Dubai article, as I pointed out in my detailed response to it.

That was back in April 2009 and it's interesting that I still regularly get visitors landing on that page.

The times when news went into the bin at the end of the day have disappeared, now it stays here on the www for people to read forever. This is an example - various commentators reporting Hari's attack on Dubai linked to it and to my response, and now more than two years later people are still reading both.

Now that he's been exposed I think there's a good argument for The Independent to remove the links to any of his articles which have been called into question for containing plagiarism, lies, distortions.

I would also suggest that those of us who took him to task over his Dubai article and follow-up, and who took a lot of stick at the time from his supporters, have been exonerated.

The Dark Side of Dubai.
My post disecting it
More lies from Johann Hari.
The National.


Duffy said...

"Now that he's been exposed I think there's a good argument for The Independent to remove the links to any of his articles which have been called into question for containing plagiarism, lies, distortions."

I totally disagree. Those links should be there forever and should have a disclaimer at the top that the article was a fraud. That way when people search for it, they find the disclaimer. Otherwise it may continue to exist without it and people will take it as fact. Second, it will hang over him like a cloud as it should

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

What a lot of sanctimonious tosh I am reading about a minor event, in the whole picture of life.

Denial seems to be alive in Dubai, yet again, by the flog 'em brigade who are better suited to pages of 1950's Daily Telegraph.


Seabee said...

Hey Rupert, what's the 'minor event' you're talking about?

Surely you can't mean the recent proof of the appalling depths to which many journalists, and newspapers which influence millions of readers, have sunk.

(And I don't get the relevance of 'denial in Dubai' and 'flog 'em brigade' in relation to it.)

Anonymous said...

Hari may have lied but it does not mean that if for instance , he ever claimed that there was racism in Dubai, we can now automatically claim that there is no racism in DUbai

Seabee said...

Anon@1.19, the answer to your very stupid question is 'of course not'.

Anonymous said...

post this if you will. and i could not agree with bumfrey and the anon above more.

Seabee said...

Anon@3.06, Hari's next-day response was nit-picking in claiming the word 'plagiarism' was incorrect. But as I said in my post, he admitted to ignoring
'reportorial accuracy'.

He was later revealed also to have plagiarised others' work, and was then suspended by The Independent.

As more facts come to light he's now gone to ground and is 'not available for comment'.

As for his Orwell Prize - they're revoking it.

Anonymous said...

Whether Hari lies or not, the vast overwhelming majority unfortunately cannot see the hideaous face, i.e. the backside of Dubai. We're propelled to see the beautiful side of the coin. CHild trafficking, abuse, mistreatment, violation of human rights, rape, sex-exploitation, racism, degradation, marginalisation...etc are all at the heart of life in Dubai, say UAE. I can provide you with a seminal sstounding research on this issue.