The depressing tale of Johann Hari

From The Economist:

Johannhari Readers of the Independent were in for a surprise this morning: a lengthy apology from that newspaper's star columnist Johann Hari, admitting to plagiarism and the online harrassment of rival journalists (via pseudonymous assaults on their Wikipedia entries), and announcing that he was off to take a course of journalism training at his own expense.

Allegations of quote-stealing and factual embellishment by Mr Hari have been swirling for months, at first in the blogosphere and then in the mainstream media. I have not posted about the whole sorry saga to date because—at the end of the day—a hack is only a hack, and the press already spends too much time talking and thinking about itself.

But something about the weasel wording of Mr Hari's apology today sticks in the craw. I have also been depressed to see a chorus of well-known journalists leap to Mr Hari's defence, arguing that what he did was silly or foolish, but is not really his fault. One senior colleague of his told me recently that the real problem was that Mr Hari had never gone to journalism school or worked on a newsdesk, but had jumped straight to a career as a columnist, interviewer and foreign correspondent. Mr Hari adopts this own line for himself now, writing today how he rose very quickly in journalism straight from university.

More here. [Photo of Johann Hari from Wikipedia.]