Jang Group’s latest folly

Oct 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Jang, Plagiarism, The News

The News (Jang Group)Jang Group‘s latest folly follows a familiar pattern at the The News, where cutting and pasting from the internet appears to be replacing investigative journalism, and politics seem to weigh heavily on editorial decisions. The article in question, Threatening war against Pakistan is height of folly: report, claims that a US paper has reported that America is being defeated in Afghanistan and that American threats of war against Pakistan are “the height of folly”.

It turns out, the claim was not made in a report by a US newspaper, but by an American blogger on the “internet newspaper” Huffington Post. Further, we found that the article by The News not only cites this “report”, it is a cut and paste job of the whole thing.

Jang Group‘s latest plagiarism was confirmed by using Google to check a random sentence from the The News article. We found that all The News did was add the following words to the end of the first paragraph: “…a US paper reported.” The rest of the article is a cut and paste job. The editors did not even take the time to change the first person narrative, strangely including the following paragraph.

Ironically, as I saw myself in the 1980’s, the US created the Haqqani network, arming and funding it. In those halcyon days, Jalaluddin Haqqani and Pashtun fighters were hailed by the US as “freedom fighters.”

It should be noted that despite being given a date line of “WASHINGTON”, the article in The News does not identify the name of the actual author. It should also be noted that the author, Eric Margolis, does not live in Washington. According to his bio, Mr Margolis “maintains residences in Paris, New York and Banff”. This raises the question whether the article was submitted by Jang Group‘s Washington correspondent as his own work.

Curiously, Eric Margolis has written before that the US was set to invade Pakistan…in 2008. Obviously, Mr Margolis sensationalist analysis was flawed. But what could account for such a radically incorrect read of Pak-US relations? One suggestion might be found in where he’s getting his research. An article by Mr Margolis in May of this year provides a clue.

As a long-time ISI watcher who received briefings by its director generals on my every visit to Pakistan, let me suggest another angle to this murky business.

In other words, the “US paper” that The News cut and pasted from turns out to be an American blog, and the blogger takes regular briefings from ISI.

None of this is to say that Mr Margolis is not entitled to his own analysis or even that he is incorrect in his conclusions. But it is to say that once again, Jang Group has tried to pass off a cut and paste job as the work of its own journalists. And, once again, the nature of the ‘borrowed’ material suggests that it was selected more for a political agenda than actually informing the citizens of the facts. But propaganda is not journalism, even if it is stolen.

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4 comments
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  1. With open heart and due regards, I would like to accept my mistake of not carrying the exact name of the source and making some editing error as a human being. But at the same time let me clarify that the intro of the story did mention clearly the source as a “US paper”.

    This clearly indicates that there was no intention involved to own the report as my own original work or of that of the Jang Group. Therefore, I strongly reject the charge of plagiarism. For more clarity let me present below the definition of plagiarism as available on Wikipedia:

    DEFINITION OF PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the “wrongful appropriation,” “close imitation,” or “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.

    Let me also add here that I am completely shocked as to why on earth the story made online on our website in the afternoon of October 4, 2011 drew so much interest and attention. By evening of the same day a very strong reaction was communicated to us. It seemed as if interests of some individuals or a group were seriously damaged by this story. Was it just because the name of the newspaper was not mentioned or was it something else?

    My journalistic understanding says that it must have been the story’s content, which mostly criticized the US Afghan policies, actually hurt the vested interests of a pro-US group that is based in Washington.

    The story in question candidly highlighted the flaws in the US policy, which stood exposed to the visitors of our website, who are mostly Pakistanis. I believe this is the actual reason that prompted such a strong objection from this group.

    Mukhtar Ahmed
    Online Sub-editor
    The News International

  2. Dear Mr Mukhtar Ahmed,

    Thank you for your kind response. It is true that sometimes mistakes are made even by the highest professionals, and we are glad to know that you recognise this mistake and will keep a close watch to see that it does not happen again. We would like to comment on one issue, though. The article you re-printed was an article not by a US paper but by an opinion piece for a blog written by Eric Margolis who claims to take ISI briefings, so obviously saying “US paper” should not be enough. None of this was mentioned by your newspaper, and yet all of it is relevant to understanding what readers are being presented as “news”.

    Additionally, we are confused as to why you would possibly think our post has anything to do with US Afghan policies or any pro-US group based in Washington since our post specifically says, “None of this is to say that Mr Margolis is not entitled to his own analysis or even that he is incorrect in his conclusions.” We made no counter-claims to the story’s content, we simply pointed out the editorial errors made in your choosing to re-publish it without attribution or consent. As an Online-Sub-editor, you should know better than to cut and paste other people’s work and to try to pass off opinion pieces as news reports, which they are not. Again, we are glad that you recognise your mistake and will not let it happen again.

    Kindest Regards,
    PMW

  3. Since the “terrorist” destruction of WTC jJournalists are “dead” and “journalism” has been “buried” – I wonder if at sea or at land.

    The Hindustani press is no better than Pakistani press. Apart from local news all the rest of the crap is “cut and pasted”.

    Consequently, I wonder what the publisher of this article is trying to prove? It could be that Indian or Bharti or Hindustani **** [edited to remove foul language] is better than Pakistani?

  4. Dr sahib, if Indian media is filled with cut and pasted work, don’t you think Pakistani press should be held to a higher standard? Also, please do not use such foul language in your comments. Such behaviour is beneath a man of your education.

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