Originally published June 20 2014
Leftist climate change 'hero' Chris Hedges caught in plagiarism row
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Four years ago, in early 2010, the editors at Harper's Magazine began the process of editing a long manuscript written by Chris Hedges, a former reporter for The New York Times. In the piece, Hedges focused on one of the most downtrodden cities in the country, Camden, New Jersey. Theodore Ross, Hedges' editor at Harper's, was happy with the piece's content: "I thought it was a great story about a topic--poverty--that nobody covers enough."
According to the New Republic, trouble for Hedges began soon afterward. Ross assigned a fact-checker to look into details covered in the story. As Ross and his fact-checker parsed Hedges' manuscript, they found that whole sections of it appeared to have been taken directly from the work of a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter named Matt Katz, who published a four-part series on social and political dysfunction in Camden a year earlier.
Frankly, the editors at Harper's were stunned. Hedges, you see, had been an ace foreign correspondent for the Times, reporting from war zones and even being part of a team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for covering global terrorism. That same year, Hedges had received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.
'Lied to his fact-checker'
Further, according to the New Republic:
He is a fellow at the Nation Institute. He has taught at Princeton University and Columbia University. He writes a weekly column published in the widely read progressive website Truthdig and frequently republished on the Truthout website. He is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling American Fascists. Since leaving the Times in 2005, he has evolved into a polemicist of the American left. For his fierce denunciations of the corporate state, his attacks on the political elite, and his enthusiasm for grassroots revolt, he has secured a place as a firebrand revered among progressive readers.
But, suddenly, one of the Left's most vociferous advocates had been caught plagiarizing at one of the Left's oldest magazines.
Ross and his fact-checker -- a person who remains an editor at the mag and who asked to remain anonymous for this story -- sat down to talk about the matter before approaching Harper's editor-in-chief, Ellen Rosenbush, and the magazine's publisher, Rick MacArthur, both of whom knew Hedges personally. It was decided that the fact-checker be assigned to speak to Hedges about the lifted material from Katz. According to both Ross and the fact-checker, Hedges said he had shared his draft with Katz, who, Hedges said, approved of his use of Katz's language and reporting.
However, when Harper's editors asked Katz about Hedges' claim, Katz said he had not, in fact, seen Hedges' manuscript.
"When I went back to Hedges, he tried to clarify by saying he didn't mean that he had actually showed Katz the draft," the fact-checker told the New Republic. "He lied to me--lied to his fact-checker."
Channeling Ernest Hemingway
It was at this point that Ross brought the issue up to Rosenbush; together, following a series of meetings that included the fact-checker, literary editor Ben Metcalf and MacArthur, they decided that Harper's could no longer endorse Hedges' article and, thus, did not publish it.
"I do not believe I shared a text with Matt Katz, but this was a few years ago," Hedges wrote in an email to New Republic writer Christopher Ketcham. "I know I spoke with him several times as he wrote the series and covered Camden."
But Katz told Ketcham that, indeed, he never remembers seeing any draft. Moreover, he confirmed speaking with a Harper's fact-checker. But he wouldn't say anything more.
In fact, Hedges' plagiarism at Harper's was no isolated incident. He has a history of stealing material from others that goes back to his first book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has also lifted material from Nation author Naomi Klein, has taken lines from radicalist social critic Neil Postman and has lifted text from no less an American literary icon than Ernest Hemingway, the New Republic reported.
As for his "causes," Hedges is a shill for the climate change hoaxers, claiming regularly in his columns at TruthDig.org and elsewhere that man-made global warming is about to destroy the planet. Failure to respond to the crisis "will assure an ecological nightmare that will most probably be accompanied by an economic, social and political breakdown," he wrote in this 2012 column, which is typical of his global warming shtick.
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