NY Times Won’t Investigate Hedges’ Work Amid Plagiarism Charge

Leftist author’s history of plagiarism exposed by New Republic
Pulitzer winning plagiarist Chris Hedges / AP

Pulitzer winning plagiarist Chris Hedges / AP

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The New York Times has no plans to investigate the work of its former reporter Chris Hedges amid allegations that he plagiarized multiple stories for other publications over the past decade.

The New Republic reported on Thursday that the Pulitzer winner has been accused of plagiarizing passages in stories written for Harper’s, Truthdig, and his 2002 book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.

The article claims Hedges lifted copy from a range of sources over the years, including Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Katz, Canadian leftist Naomi Klein, Neil Postman, and Ernest Hemingway.

The New Republic published several excerpts from Hedges’ articles that appear to be identical or similar to work published previously by other authors.

Hedges, now a progressive commentator, left the Times nearly a decade ago after spending 15 years there as a foreign correspondent.

The Times told the Washington Free Beacon it did not have reason to believe Hedges plagiarized in his work for the paper and had no plans to launch an investigation.

“No, we are not aware of any such concerns about Chris’s work for The
Times,” emailed spokesperson Eileen Murphy. “As you know, he left about nine years ago.”

The Nation Institute, where Hedges serves as a senior fellow, told the New Republic it conducted a review of his writing for the Nation Books and affiliates in 2012 and did not find instances of plagiarism.

Hedges denied the plagiarism allegations to the New Republic and attributed the instances to editing errors or misunderstandings.

Harper’s magazine allegedly declined to publish a piece by Hedges in 2010 after an editor said he found “at least twenty instances” of plagiarized sentences, the fact-checker told the New Republic.

“Not only was the plagiarism more egregious than I had seen before, but it was shocking how unapologetic Hedges was when it was put in his face,” the Harper’s fact-checker said.

Sections of a story Hedges published in Truthdig in 2010 also included lines that appeared to be identical to a 2009 article by Harper’s writer Petra Bartosiewicz, according to the New Republic.

Truthdig reportedly told Bartosiewicz that the sentences had been intended as a “block quote” but had been mischaracterized as Hedges’ own writing. However, the New Republic noted that it was unclear why Hedges would make minor changes if he had meant to quote Bartosiewicz’s text directly.
The New Republic article was written by Christopher Ketcham, who is married to Bartosiewicz.

According to Ketcham, the article was originally intended for Salon and the American Prospect, which both declined to publish it.

Ketcham said Truthdig defended Hedges and suggested the allegations were related to “possible personal, economic and commercial gain that would be derived by Salon and Mr. Ketcham from damaging the reputation of Truthdig, Mr. Hedges, the Nation and other competitive publications and authors.”

Hedges has previously been accused of inaccuracy in his reporting on Israel by media watchdogs.

Hedges did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Free Beacon.

Alana Goodman   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Alana Goodman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, she was assistant online editor at Commentary. She has written for the Weekly Standard, the New York Post and the Washington Examiner. Goodman graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2010, and lives in Washington, D.C. Her Twitter handle is @alanagoodman. Her email address is goodman@freebeacon.com.