Fareed Zakaria, well-known Newsweek/Time columnist and CNN host, committed the unforgivable sin among writers. He plagiarized. I read about it on Mediabistro this morning. The story was also reported on Newsbusters and, of course, the Atlantic Wire. All three links include samples of the plagiarism.
What really shocked me was how many people in the comments section (I know, I should never read the comments section... unless it's my own site. You guys are smart.) said that it wasn't technically plagiarism.
Yes. It. Was.
Here's my response on Mediabistro: "This is plagiarism, pure and simple, by definition. Zakaria went through the original text and changed the wording of each sentence. He did not write an original article. He copied and re-worded. You do not deserve to write for TIME Magazine with that sort of practice. He should lose his job. Any writers on Mediabistro who defend him should seriously question their own professional ethics. If you think this is okay, you should find another line of work. Writers do not steal from other writers. Never, ever. You cannot assert your own definition of plagiarism as a way to justify your actions." Yes, I just quoted myself on the issue plagiarism. Did that blow your mind?
After reading over my comment again, I admit I sound like an angry blogger. In fact, my fists are clinched as I type this. (It's tricky.) Real writers don't plagiarize! If some idiot college kid swipes an essay off the Internet, it's bad but understandable. I understand he's an idiot. Dogs eat their own vomit. And stupid people steal essays off the Internet. However, a writer places his/her entire reputation upon the originality of his/her own work.
And Zakaria, you stole from the New Yorker?! You realize that people read the New Yorker. It's kind of a thing.
I could rant some more, but it would get repetitive. So I'll end with a link to a good explanation of plagiarism for those who are confused on the issue.
UPDATE: "Newsroom responses to Zakaria plagiarism reveal lack of consistency, transparency" by Craig Silverman, Poynter