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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