Two of the most acclaimed people of the last half-century have faced renewed criticism for allegations of serious wrong-doing.
However, they have responded with silence. While the drums of criticism are still being beat, all we hear are crickets.
Years after the allegations first came out, accusations of sexual assault against comedian Bill Cosby have resurfaced. The rumors came back into attention earlier this year thanks to a comedian’s mention of it and a recent Washington Post column by one of Cosby’s accusers. In it, she talks about the struggle to be taken seriously even as others say the same as her.
Today, Cosby was interviewed on NPR and he refused to speak about allegations when asked. Cosby remained silent and shook his head.
This is quite similar to Fareed Zakaria and his plagiarism story.
Although to be perfectly clear, no matter how much journalists and academics play up plagiarism, it still pales in comparison to sexual assault. Also, Bill Cosby denies these allegations and he has not been found guilty, although he has settled a lawsuit.
With Fareed Zakaria, there are many parallels. Previous allegations that resurface, accusers who have had trouble, and silence from the accused.
Several years ago, Fareed Zakaria was accused of plagiarizing others’ works, so he was briefly suspended and put under investigation. CNN and Time found there was no major plagiarism, so both let him keep his comfy jobs
Earlier this year, two anonymous Twitter users known only as @BlippoBlappo and @CrushingBort began posting evidence of what they called further instances of Zakaria’s plagiarism. Although, there was some short-term attention, it was nothing like the first time. This time around, CNN is sticking by Zakaria and has seldom spoke on the topic.
While one would think that further accusations of plagiarism would constitute higher coverage and scrutiny, that person would be wrong. The meta-media world has largely looked away, even as those like Benny Johnson of BuzzFeed fell due to similar acts.
Cosby was asked about the allegations because it came up in an interview about an art exhibit. This is probably the closest we will get to a Cosby comment. Zakaria, too, has rarely spoke out on the topic, only emailing Politico’s Dylan Byers when the story first broke. Since then, Zakaria has seemingly attempted to ignore his accusers, even as the evidence piles up.
However, the media has not been on Zakaria’s case as much as we should be. We’re not doggedly tracking this story or seeking comment from Zakaria. Instead, we’re taking the easy route. We are protecting our own and discounting the accusers.
Aren’t we at as much fault as Zakaria?
Tyler is an employee at TKNN.info, helping to run @TKNNPolJungle. The views expressed are not necessarily held by his employer.