Have you been following the Johann Hari scandal? The prominent young left-wing English journalist was exposed as a Stephen Glass-like, Jayson Blairish fraud — but not a hell of a lot has happened to him as a result. Why? Jonathan Foreman writes in Commentary, it’s because left-wing British journalism forgives the corrupt as long as the corrupt espouse the correct prejudices:
Indeed, the response to the scandal from Hari’s employers at the Independent and from much of the media establishment was arguably even more revealing of a deficit in the ethics of British media culture than were Hari’s original derelictions.
Like several rising stars in American journalism over the past three decades—theWashington Post’s Janet Cooke in the early 1980s, the New Republic’s Ruth Shalit and Stephen Glass in the 1990s, and the New York Times’s Jayson Blair in the early 2000s—Hari, now just 31, achieved his rapid success at a startlingly young age in large part thanks to his deceptions and fabrications. These went undetected for a long time because editors chose not to examine his work too closely. In Hari’s case (as in the case of Glass), his editors did not check his work because he skillfully played to their prejudices, in particular their anti-Americanism and loathing of Israel.
The reaction to his journalistic crimes stood in stark contrast to the American response to Glass and others. Hari’s sins were not greeted with the outrage, disappointment, and deep soul-searching of the sort that went on at all three American journalistic establishments—which led to editors being fired and new standards of exactitude being imposed—but rather with a blasé wave of the hand. In America, if a journalist is caught in repeated invention and deliberate dishonesty, his or her career ends. Not so in Britain. Hari was merely suspended from the Independent and is due to return to it after completing a journalism class in New York.
I would also add that Hari, who is himself gay and an atheist, is a strident advocate for atheism and homosexuality in his writing. Apparently all that matters to Hari’s employers is that he hates the right people, and all is forgiven.