Journalistic Licence: Revoked
Well, given Brownie started this last night. (It's on the second page of comments from the last post, so I can't link to it directly.)
Is it okay to piss oneself at Johann Hari's predicament this damp Tuesday evening? Or is this yet more evidence of the 'Decent' penchant for schadenfreude and vindictiveness that you so abhor?
I'll be honest: whatever you say, I'll be laughing until at least 1am.
Double Macallans all round!
As Justin has noticed, David Aaronovitch has given us the benefit of his opinion.
May be far away from it, but certain that @johannhari101 has been naive not wicked.
@Stuart_Hepburn I agree. But also he just hasn't been through the ethics mill of broadcast or local journalism. I think he didn't know.
I'd class Aaro at the sensible end of Hari apologetics. I'll admit to similar thoughts myself. Johann Hari went straight into professional journalism after university and didn't start out as a cub reporter or take a masters. What Aaro says has some weight, IMO. OTOH, I think Hari's journalism has been unethical (I'll come to examples of actual plagiarism in a bit), but I believe that the Independent and other publishers of his work share some responsibility here. I think the media have a (sort of?) duty to ensure that what they publish is (largely) correct and not plagiarised, made up, or otherwise not what it says it is.
In short, I completely disagree with Simon Kelner. Kelner called the 'row "politically motivated"'. But the 'row' came after this post on 'ultra-leftist' Deterritorial Support Group and this one by Brian Whelan. True, all this excitement may leave Guido Fawkes with a carpet cleaning bill, but Hari was exposed (if that's the word) by leftists, not his more obvious political enemies.
Brian Whelan on Twitter finds something else.
There are serious contradictions in Hari's claim he had sex with a neo-nazi (guardian 2002) - in the Indy he claimed the guy was 'far-left'
The neo-nazi - http://t.co/pn7oGdu - turns into a 'far-left' socialist with black girlfriend - http://t.co/In0QGtk
Finally, as promised Guy Walters "has made quite a habit of pinching quotes given to other interviewers, and claiming that they were given to him." That is plagiarism. It's not as simple as Hari substituting a more eloquent quotation from print for a vague "um-er-ah" answer in the flesh. This is passing off others' work as his own.
Harry's Place has three posts attacking the now notorious Hari. (Who used to blog there, having been, IIRC, recruited by the not-notorious Stalinist Harry.) It's not often I agree with Josh Scholar, but that's at least two too many.
What do I think? (Should you care.) I think Dave is right. Johann Hari has been naive. I'm not very sure that being naive is any kind of defence for a professional. In the US military, they have a get-out from responsibility, "That's above my pay grade." Johann Hari may work for the Independent, which is not as heavy on remuneration as some Fleet Street titles, but his pay grade confers some pretty big responsibility.
Update Wed 20:45. The word I was looking for, and didn't even know I was looking for, was 'negligent.' I think, largely, that Johann Hari has been guilty of a sin of omission. To take the US military analogy further, Hari has superiors who should have ensured that he had the training and ability to carry out responsibilities commensurate with his pay grade. Here I find the Independent lacking. (Yes I know the Mail is several factors of 10 worse.)
The problem for Johann Hari here, as I see it is that he has a) been ignorant (of widely shared journalistic ethics) and b) shown poor judgement. Sadly for him, he is paid for a) being knowledgeable and b) having good judgement. Brownie (definitely not a JH admirer) has said that he agrees with Johann Hari on some things (watch it, Brownie, your regulars will have your head on a stick if you admit to them you believe in climate change); and so, of course, do I. I don't distrust JH on issues so much; I distrust how JH chooses to frame those issues and write about them.
 At the moment, I can't find actual confirmation of this.