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  • Fareed Zakaria’s Poverty of Ideas

    Globe-trotting journalist Fareed Zakaria is on suspension from his posts at CNN and TIME magazine after he admitted to plagiarizing sections of a column on gun control.

    But the physical plagiarism isn’t the real problem with Zakaria’s work. He could have solved that with some quotation marks and a hyperlink. What should be a larger concern is the left’s general plagiarism of ideas.

    Zakaria stole paragraphs from a piece in The New Yorker, after all, not Guns & Ammo. It was a foregone conclusion that his column about guns would favor gun control. He wasn’t even going to look for another view.

    This same problem appeared in a February Zakaria blog post about poverty in the U.S. He starts with the assumption that poverty is a major problem in the U.S. and goes from there.

    “We rank 31st of the 34 countries that make up the OECD in terms of the percentage of our population that qualifies as poor,” he wrote. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says 17.3 percent of Americans, about one in six of us, live in poverty.

    But Zakaria then undercuts his own argument. “In case you’re wondering how the OECD defines poverty, it calculates the number as the percentage of people who earn less than half of the country’s median wage. It’s an easy way to compare data across countries.”

    Sure, it’s easy. But it’s bogus. The OECD says median income in the U.S. is $31,000. Thus a person could earn $15,500 here and would be said to be living in poverty. Meanwhile, the same earnings would be more than the median income in 10 other OECD countries, including Israel, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

    As Heritage analysts Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield wrote last year:

    For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. However, only a small number of the 46 million persons classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity.

    They also cite a 2009 study from the Department of Agriculture that found that:

    • 96 percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food,
    • 83 percent of poor families reported having enough food to eat, and
    • 82 percent of poor adults reported never being hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money for food.

    Poverty is a problem—in the U.S. and worldwide. “Nonetheless,” Rector and Sheffield conclude, “anti-poverty policy needs to be based on accurate information. Gross exaggeration of the extent and severity of hardships in America will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor.”

    Diversity is a watchword on the left. “We strive for a professional environment that values divergent voices, encourages innovative thinking and expression and rewards individual and collective accomplishment,” CNN insists on its careers Web page. But that doesn’t come through on Zakaria’s program. His opinions on gun control and poverty, among other issues, are cribbed directly from the left-liberal playbook.

    As Ronald Reagan put it: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” And they all seem to know the same things that aren’t so. That’s a plagiarism problem that can’t be solved with a hyperlink.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Fareed Zakaria’s Poverty of Ideas

    1. The first sentence of this post is a flat-out lie. The "charges" against Farid are false and inflated, based on antipathy toward him from powerful "wingnuts."

    2. TC Morris says:

      Why Newsweek let you have carte' blanc in the Aug. issue of its publication, boggles any half intelligent persons mind._No, I'm not a far one way or the other extremists. I am however an American Chickasaw Indian. You know! Those people that were here way before any European or any other nation. Nuff said there. I'm AMERICAN! _In your column "The Case for Gun Control" You indeed sound like another anti-American rights enthusiast. A dangerously growing group of people in today's United States world. _There is too much to touch on in this subject matter, to get into here, but suffice it to ask: Are you one of those and I quote: "fanatical Crazy People"! Are you really that stupid!

    3. Tc Morris says:

      Why Newsweek let you have carte' blanc in the Aug. issue of its publication, boggles any half intelligent persons mind.
      No, I'm not a far one way or the other extremists. I am however an American Chickasaw Indian. You know! Those people that were here way before any European or any other nation. Nuff said there. I'm AMERICAN!
      In your column "The Case for Gun Control" You indeed sound like another anti-American rights enthusiast. A dangerously growing group of people in today's United States world.

    4. Tc Morris says:

      There is too much to touch on in this subject matter, to get into here, but suffice it to ask: Are you one of those and I quote: "fanatical Crazy People"! Are you really that stupid! You say… and I quote again: I doubt that anyone seriously thinks we have 30 times as many crazy people as Britain or Australia." Did you even think about what you typed there before you typed it! Do you even know what the true blue population of the United states is! when compared to either of those countries! And 30 times! What over inflated static nightmare have you been looking at! if at all. Most statistics are put together for more personal gains of a person or group of people in order to benefit them! More so than to give out an accurate account of anything. In other words for any one statistic you can find, I can find an opposing one. But back to this silliness.

    5. Tc Morris says:

      . America in population out numbers both those countries many times over. So yeah it isn't far off a thought to think that simply because of that truth, we as a nation would have more fanatical Crazy People. But Gun control is a farce! From the beginning of Man, Men have murdered and killed each other. Do you think taking one tool away is really gonna stop that! Killing is not a tool problem. It is a people or person problem. Every nation, no matter how big or small, has people murdering people. Even in your passive native country of India. This should ring out across all Nations and be said loud and clear! Guns don't' kill people. PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. Get that through your noodle. The real question is: How does one go about identifying a potential murderer without subjecting so many innocent law abiding citizens to false accusations! Figure that out without going over a balance and you have the answer. But taking our guns away isn't that answer.

    6. Stirling says:

      Fareed Zakaria (like most on CNN) have lost their legitamacy in the media as a news source, and now are nothing more then comedy show (full of anti-american propaganda hate.)

    7. Bobbie says:

      There's too much exception making when it comes to immigrants and their lack of work ethics. This country has lost alot because of non compliance and no holds accountable. Diversity and assimilation would have come on it's own accord had the unconstitutional needless costs of government abuse not mandated it and had respect to stand by the rule of law. It's insincere now! Somebody better let Fareed go. He isn't commendable in his position and can't seem to do his own research as he takes the words and research of other sources he does or doesn't misconstrue to his reading audience and or America.

    8. Peter Staats says:

      In an article based upon accusations of plagiarism it is ironic that you should use a quote that Reagan cribbed from Mark Twain.

    9. Dan Poole says:

      "Thus a person could earn $15,500 here and would be said to be living in poverty. Meanwhile, the same earnings would be more than the median income in 10 other OECD countries, including Israel, Poland, and the Czech Republic."

      That says it all right there. With the way the left talks, everyone who doesn't make $100,000 is dirt poor. Fact is, America is the richest country on earth, and its citizens are better off then anywhere else, even the Scandinavian countries.

    10. curious says:

      I wonder what the Department of Agriculture study would find if there was no food stamp program or school lunch program ?

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