He's done it before, but he quadrupled down this time. CNN's serial plagiarist Fareed Zakaria, who insists that former President Barack Obama's administration was "largely scandal-free," contended on Don Lemon's CNN Tonight show Friday evening that Donald Trump owes his whole life, his success and his election to the presidency to "bullsh*tting."
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As Matthew Balan at NewsBusters observed in early August, Zakaria described Trump as a "bullsh*t artist," and went to the left's favorite characterization of anyone they disagree with or don't like:
CNN's Fareed Zakaria ripped Donald Trump with an uncensored expletive on Monday's Wolf program over the billionaire's recent remarks about Russia: "Every time it is demonstrated that Donald Trump is plainly ignorant about some basic public policy issue....he comes back with the certain bravado and tries to explain it away with a Tweet....there's a term for this kind of thing. This is the mode of a bullshit artist." Zakaria also likened Trump's stance on Russia's annexation of Crimea to Nazi Germany's invasions prior to World War II: "[It] is the same argument that Adolf Hitler made about the Sudeten Czechoslovaks."
Zakaria was suspended by CNN and Time for plagiarism in 2012 after Cam Edwards at NRANews.com and Tim Graham at NewsBusters called attention to a paragraph in a Zakaria column in Time about gun control which the pundit ultimately admitted had been lifted with minor changes from an April 2012 article in The New Yorker magazine.
Certainly passing off one's work as your own is a form of "bullsh*tting." So in that narrow sense one can consider Zakaria a subject matter expert — especially given that his suspension did not put a halt to his habit.
In November 2014, the Our Bad Media blog accused Zakaria of "editing his own Wikipedia (entry) to remove plagiarism allegations" — specifically because the editing was being done by "someone ... in New York City," where Zakaria lived at the time, "with a particularly keen (and friendly) familiarity with not just his career but the correct spelling of his family members’ names."
In early 2015, based on additional plagiarism accusations which had surfaced the previous year, Michael Kinsley at Vanity Fair wrote, in reviewing his output, that Zakaria has "made ... little changes" to the wording of sentences and phrases he had used "in order to disguise his borrowing," and that he had been "claiming ownership of ideas that aren’t your (i.e., his) own ... on purpose."
Somewhere between plagiarism and homage, there is a line. Fareed stepped over it.
In other words, Zakaria was, in Kinsey's opinion, still "bullsh*tting."
Zakaria has a long track record of Obama worship, culminating with a December contention that the Obama administration was "largely scandal-free," an evaluation which will never stand up to objective historical scrutiny. If historians blow it due to a permanent lack of objectivity, we will always have Daniel Alman's 1,342 well sourced examples of Barack Obama’s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, waste, etc., which includes dozens of items any reasonable person would consider scandals, and Alman's accurate overall rendering of Obama's track record:
Every President, every politician, and every human being tells lies and engages in acts of hypocrisy. But Barack Obama does these things to a far greater degree than anyone else that I have ever known
In other words, Alman contends that Obama was a champion "bullsh*t artist, and during all of that time serial plagiarizer Fareed Zakaria was one of Obama's more prominent media champions.
All of the above background serves as useful context for Zakaria's Friday evening profane rant:
I got into trouble during the campaign for saying something about the President which I still think is true.
I think the President is somewhat indifferent to things that are true or false.
He has spent his whole life bullsh*tting. He has succeeded by bullsh*tting. He has gotten the presidency by bullsh*tting.
It's very hard to tell somebody at that point that bullsh*t doesn't work, because look at the results.
The idea that Trump's business success is due to what Zakaria claims — that the man has somehow, among other things, built and assembled "the greatest collection of golf courses and clubs ever built or assembled by one man" on BS — is rubbish. But even if Zakaria were right, the CNN pundit is the last person who has any credibility in throwing stones. There is a point, which he has certainly reached, at which a price should be paid for serial, clearly deliberate profanity. He seems to have been emboldened to go as far as he has by the apparent lack of any formal sanction against his August behavior.
There are many conservatives and others who believed and still believe that Barack Obama was a consummate "bullsh*t artist," but they were constrained by relative civility and the knowledge of likely negative consequences from going on TV to level the accusation four times in 24 seconds.
What possible justification is there — other than "he's our guy, and we basically agree with him anyway," which isn't a justification at all — for letting Zakaria skate scot-free on this?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.