Johann Hari’s apology has just been published on the Independent website. Even though his actions aren’t defensible, it’s hard not to feel for someone who is trying their best to write in the clearest and most factual way. It is always something I think about when I need to cover a topic and find quotes to support it. How far do you go in order to enhance and support an article? Is the matter of putting a quote in the past tense so important that someone should be suspended from their job?
Obviously, editing Wikipedia entries to add unfavourable comments isn’t the smartest move if you’re a well-known journalist – and I would argue that it’s a much bigger issue than re-publishing quotes. But was that the real reason for the furore, or was it down to the subsequent Twitter campaign and #interviewswithhari hashtag?
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