|'David Rose': |
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
Johann Hari, the plagiarist and liar, has been allowed to keep working at the Independent despite being caught bang to rights as a fraudulent troll. I was barely aware of this fellow's existence until his journalistic techniques were exposed a few months ago. They should have been enough to get him sacked. Instead, the Independent have let him off with a whining, self-serving apology.
More interesting than the shoddy journalism is the Wikipedia trolling. Rumours have abounded for some time that 'David Rose'—Hari's number one fan on the internet—is Hari himself. This has now been confirmed by the bubonic plagiarist. He operated several sockpuppets on Wikipedia to make himself out to be, as Nick Cohen put it, "one of the essential writers of our time". More seriously, he has also persistently edited the Wiki pages of people he dislikes, including Cohen, with libellous glee. This, too, is not a sackable offence at the Independent.
Nothing is deleted on Wikipedia and the entries of David Rose (or 'David r from meth productions') stand as a testimony to the extraordinary scale and range of Hari's six year trolling campaign. Certain themes emerge. Much of his time was spent emphasising his own importance as a major cultural figure. He pushes to have his every award and nomination put centre stage. As a left-wing journalist, he is eager to downplay his privileged education. He consistently edits the pages of his heroes such as Polly Toynbee and George Monbiot to portray them in their best light. He repeatedly edits his enemies to make them look like racists, or thugs, or loonies.
This, again, is apparently all well and good at the Independent.
The depth of the deceit is difficult to put across in a single blog post. The examples below are just just a tiny proportion of his contributions, each of which he fights for, sometimes for months, repeatedly posting them after others have removed them. As other Wiki editors call him out on the subterfuge, Hari goes to extraordinary lengths to maintain the deception. David Rose is given a full back story—details of his education and his career emerge, often with wholly unnecessary detail. At one point, David Rose's IP address is found to be that of the Independent's offices and an elaborate effort is made to portray Rose as a subeditor at the paper, a job that Hari got him (they went to University together, in this fiction).
He is, at the very least, a weird guy, and the Wikipedia edits tell us a few things about him.
He doesn't like people knowing he went to a public school.
He attended Aylward School, the famous fee-paying John Lyon School in Harrow, North Cheshire Theatre School, and Woodhouse College
He attended Aylward School, John Lyon School, North Cheshire Theatre School, and Woodhouse College
But should you happen upon the Wikipedia page of his public school, he wants you to know that he didn't like it there.
One prominent alumnus, Johann Hari, has been very critical of the school, describing it as "appalling" and "a factory-school churning out robotic middle-ranking accountants, and which sees creativity and intellect as a problem."
He doesn't like people knowing that his idols also went to public school either. This, from the Wikpedia entry for George Monbiot.
He was educated at Stowe School, a boys' independent school in Buckinghamshire
He was educated at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire
All pretty mild stuff until we get onto his enemies. He definitely doesn't like (former New Statesman colleague) Christine Odone very much.
She notoriously attacked her colleagues Jackie Ashley and Johann Hari, claiming "to reveal how "viciously" and "wickedly" the Blairites - from Peter Mandelson to Jackie Ashley and Johann Hari - have acted during her six and a half years in the job." She said, "These people - who I call the ‘neo-Left’ - are cancerous crusts on the real old-fashioned socialists like Peter [Wilby]... The neo-Left can’t stand the New Statesman because it is owned and edited by people who are quite old-fashioned Left. So they unleash a poison that has been very personal. I’ve been very close to people on the Right - the Catholic Herald [which she edited] was more right than left, and I’d worked for the Daily Telegraph. However nasty the Right gets, the Left gets much more wicked... I found myself reading that staff had a voodoo doll of me, and were sticking pins in it because they hated me. I’ve even been wished stomach cancer."
Hari replied, "I'm quite worried about Cristina's sanity. This interview is just bizarre. Apparently I am conspiring to create a Blairite coup at the NS with one person I've never met - Peter Mandelson - and one person, Jackie Ashley, who is such a Blairite she calls repeatedly for Blair to resign. And to what end? why would I want a Blairite coup? Hello? Poor Cristina. I hope she is happier - and saner - soon."
He continued, "As for Peter, who she accuses me of attacking, the exact opposite is the truth. I love Peter Wilby. he gave me my big break in journalism, and I have learned more from him than from almost anybody else I can think of. If anything, he will be an even greater editor when he is no longer chained to a very unhappy and paranoid deputy ranting about voodoo dolls and imaginary conspiracies."
He concluded, "And as for the left being more vicious than the right.... well Cristina, of course the right is nice to you. You are one of them. No doubt the right would equally 'vicious' if a left-winger was bizarrely made deputy editor of the Spectator."
In fact, he hates her. (This, from the Wikipedia entry for Jackie Ashley).
Since then, she has been a television news reporter and newspaper journalist, writing for the New Statesman (where she was violently attacked by Cristina Odone)
He doesn't much care for Richard Littlejohn either, as you might expect (his additions are in bold).
Although he is sometimes praised as an antidote to political correctness, other critics see him as a bigot. Littlejohn has shown his dislike for the far-right British National Party by describing them as "knuckle-scraping scum". However, the leader of the far right party, Nick Griffin, has described Littlejohn as his favourite writer.
Littlejohn has a criminal conviction over acts of violence committed in Peterborough in the 1970s.
He sees himself as one of the great intellectuals, (although his spelling could be better).
Hari defines himself as a defender of the Enlightenment as a systme of rational inquiry he believes is under threat.
He does not like people doubting that he is a major figure in public life. (From the Talk page)
I've suggested as a compromise we say "Hari defines himself as a defender of the Enlightenment, which he sees a system of rational thought that is under seige." That is undoubtedly true. This is not a stray judgement - the National Secular Society, founded to protect the values of the Enlightenment, nomintated him for its Secularist of the Year award in 2006 alongside Salman Rushdie and Ayan Hirsi Ali. You may say it is "untrue", Felix, and he is "a fairly trivial op-ed writer" (as well as a "little tyke"), but that is your POV and some very serious people who dedicate their lives to these issues disagree.
You then ask, "Is he an Enlightenment scholar?" No, he is according to the National Secular Society one of the five most distinguished non-scholastic defenders of the Enlightenment in Britain in 2006. Where in the article does it suggest he is a scholar?
He doesn't like Francis Wheen, who wrote an exposé of Hari in Private Eye. As well as editing his own Wikipedia page to remove all mention of the Private Eye story, Hari added the following section to Wheen's Wikipedia entry.
Wheen has been dubbed "the Rottweiller of Decency" for his alleged habit of attacking people who displease the so-called 'decent' left associated with the Euston Manifesto. He was accused of hypocrisy when in Private Eye he vehemently attacked a review by Johann Hari of the pro-war book 'What's Left' by Nick Cohen, impugning Hari's journalistic standards, without declaring that he is a close personal friend of Cohen's and thanked at length in the book under discussion. Critics charged that this is the sort of unethical behaviour that Wheen condemns so often in others. A letter in Private Eye later argued that the magazine, via Wheen's writings, "attacks honest journalists just because they criticise you and your mates."
He doesn't much care for the then-editor of the Independent, Roger Alton. (Hari's addition in bold—no loyalty to the Indie from Hari.)
In April 2008, Alton was confirmed as the new editor of The Independent, beginning work on 1 July 2008. Since then, the Independent's circulation has plummeted by nearly 20 percent.
He doesn't like the historian Andrew Roberts. (Hari's addition in bold.)
Roberts was raised in the Church of England (Anglican). He attended Cranleigh School. At Cranleigh's senior school he was expelled for drinking, climbing on a roof and cling-filming the lavatories.
He is a rather vain man who spent many months trying to get the photo changed on his Wikipedia entry. This involved the creation of several more sockpuppets and an elaborate wheeze in which he (as David Rose) pretended to be in contact with himself (Johann Hari).
The picture you posted of Hari is barely recognisable; you aren't meant to post odd snaps, they should be reasonable quality photographs where you can see what the person looks like.
Here is the e-mail I revieved from hari re: the original picture I posted (with intro and end-bit edited out, they were about other stuff and a mutual friend):
"Yeah, I own the copyright I guess on that picture, my dad took it on a rare day when I didn't look entirely like a Down's Syndrome. I'm very happy to waive all claims to the copyright and to place it in the public domain. When one day a picture is finally taken showing my remarkable similarity to Brad Pitt I'll let you have that too."
I think that shows we can use the original photo in clear line with the wiki rules.
And then, holding two sockpuppets ('Dave' and 'Jessica'), Hari stages a conversation between the two of them about himself. And third (real) user, Felix, has already seen through the sham.
['Jessica':] Felix, you've again responded to my comments by calling me Dave. This is ludicrous and offensive, as your picture is ludicrous and offensive. I have deleted it again.
What is the status of Dave's attempts to clear copyright on the orginal picture?
['Dave':]Hi Jessica - I e-mailed Hari, and he said he places the picture in the public domain, as I said above. I'm not sure about copyright law, which would say whether this is sufficient, but my sister knows a copyright laywer so I'm going to call her tonight and ask about that. I also asked Hari if he has any other pictures, but I think he's still in Mexico as he hasn't replied.
He doesn't like people accusing him of being Johann Hari.
I have compromised and engaged with those who agree with specific points by Felix. However, Felix by contrast has simply accused anybody who posts in agreement with me of being a sock-puppet and ignored them. (Indeed, he ignored me for a long time, claiming I was Johann Hari, until somebody who we both know pointed out that I am not).
But he is a "free speech obsessive".
I proposed the edits, and no, I am not Johann Hari. I know him a bit, we were at university together, and I have done some work on his website. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the article about him is outrageous and I e-mailed Johann about it but he has been in Taiwan and has not yet replied. The Private Eye allegations have been answered by Johann and you don't even mention that. While accusing him of lying, you repeat a lie of your own: he did in fact respond to the Iraq Pastor allegations, admitting they were "bullshit". You name him as a friend of Hitchens, but don't point out that he has seriously criticised Hitchens.
To compare him to Steven Glass or Jayson Blair is totally libellous, and if was him I'd sue, and I will recommend that option to him but he is a free speech obsessive and tends to ignore this kind of crap.
He disagrees with his alter-ego about the Iraq War.
Johann and I have argued a million times about Iraq and I'm not defending him on that issue, but the reasons he supported the invasion were sincere and they were not "bomb the towel-heads" crap.
I mentioned litigation only to shock you into realsing that your words have consequences; I also made it clear that Johann is a free speech nut and would never sue anyone. He responed to my e-mail about this article an hour ago and told me to forget about it but I don't think it is right to circulate flasehoods and, since you seem like decent people dedicated to teh truth, I appeal to you to correct the gross innaccuarcies in this article.
...It's frustrating to see a decent guy who works hard for left-wing causes being pulled down by his own side (using right-wing allegations!) because they disagreed with him on one issue.
And so on and so on. There are hundreds of edits like this. No wonder he didn't have time to write proper articles. It's the attention to detail that gets me. The sheer, prolonged, schizophrenic nature of the deceit. But that, once again, is not a problem for the Independent.