A report in The New Republic today reveals that, in 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges had plagiarized in a story about Camden he submitted to Harper’s. The pilfered prose? A 2009 series about Camden by then-Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Katz.
Katz, who’s now at WNYC, says he hasn’t seen the piece that Harper’s editors determined Hedges cribbed from him. It didn’t run in the magazine. Hedges, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times for 15 years in the ’90s and early 2000s, has become a favorite political journalist of many liberals in the last 10 years. TNR’s Christopher Ketcham writes that he became defensive when confronted with the plagiarism.
"He got very heavy-handed about it," an anonymous fact checker at the magazine tells Ketcham. "He kept claiming that the people quoted in the Katz piece gave him the exact same quotes.” Weirdly, the story gives a bit of a boost to Katz's reporting and writing. Hedges' editor, Theodore Ross, declared the Hedges piece "a great story about a topic — poverty — that nobody covers enough." And since parts of it were cribbed from Katz, sweet!
Katz, who used to cover New Jersey politics (and write a dating column) at the Courier Post before heading to the Inquirer, is now working on a book about Chris Christie.
Hedges is described as a serial plagiarist by TNR, even cribbing from Ernest Hemingway in his 2002 book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He hasn't written for Harper's since the Camden story was killed.