Talk:Johann Hari

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Talk:Johann Hari/Archive

Unreferenced note

I have relocated the following unreferenced par from the article page. I posted a brief note to the users IP page a few minutes after it was posted requesting a reference but so far there has been no response. So better to park it here before I forget. --Bob Burton 23:20, 9 Mar 2006 (EST)

An Independent investigation of the Private Eye allegations found in favour of Hari, stating that the allegations were "clearly false".

reverted a similar unreferenced addition. Posted note seeking source once more to unregistered users page. --Bob Burton 21:33, 16 Mar 2006 (EST)


There's an error in the entry as it currently stands. (For some reason I can't edit it out). It says Hari has never written abouit the Holocaust Denial conference except in that 'Sleeping with the Enemy' article. In fact he wrote a very long piece for the Independent on sunday in 2002. here it is:

Undercover with the Holocaust Deniers.[1]

I just replaced that tediously long quoted article text with a link, for clarity. And the published date was 13 April 2003-after the preposterous 'Sleeping with enemy' piece was published.Felix 14:09, 30 June 2007 (EDT)

J Hari edits his bio again!!

There have been a few edits recently by the same DavidR of some months ago. First, the IP address of DaveR some months ago indicated that he has an email address at "The Independent" (newspaper). Second, his edits are so self-serving that one can only conceive that those changes were implemented by Johann Hari himself -- there is a VERY HIGH PROBABILITY that this is the case. For this very reason it would be useful to reverse the recent changes. That is, there are many questions about Hari, what he has done, what he has written, and the people he associates with. It is the critical references in SourceWatch that were slowly erased and modified by the latest entries. If this happens then the critical edge of SourceWatch will be compromised. Antidotto

Hi Antidotto - Lenin from lenin's Tomb, a person I imagine you respect and is certainly an opponent of Hari, has met me and will verify that I am not Hari. Feel free to e-mail him and ask. I am an independent person with independent views, although I like and respect Hari... Insert non-formatted text here

Unreferenced changes

DaveR - the practice at SW is to add a supporting url following key statements so that readers and contributors can check for accuracy. There are numerous additions you made to the article page that don't have supporting urls. I'll leave them on the page for the next 24 hours to give you a chance to add the references. After that, however, I'll return and remove unsupported material. --Bob Burton 00:31, 22 January 2007 (EST)

Well I left it for five days and DaveR didn't return and add any references, so I have reverted the changes. --Bob Burton 05:05, 27 January 2007 (EST)

Hi Bob, sorry, I didn't check the site until just now. Will add some references this afternoon...

Antidotto deleted my changes, saying I was Hari - I replied to him: "You can call me on 07759 595451 and verify my identity if you like. Alternatively, you can contact Lenin at Lenin's Tomb, who edits an SWP blog based on radical anti-war politics who has criticised Hari very fiercely many times. He has met me, knows who I am, and can verify I am definitely not Hari.

Wouldn't you stick up for your mates? I do. Johann has been very nice to me, not least by getting me a few shifts sub-editing at the Indie. Believe me, Johann has better things to do than hang out at sites like this, I think he's in Gaza again at the moment and about to go to Afghanistan.

Hope that answers your concern..."

I've reverted back, I spent ages finding all the links, by all means point out if I've made any mistakes or add counter-balancing material but it's a bit odd to be have something deleted when it's accurate because you think I'm somebody I'm not.--

Retrieved from ""

Hi - Antidotto has tried reverting again. I'm keen to prove I'm not JH. I have offered two independent ways to do it. If anyone can think of any others, let me know. In the meantime I've reverted to the verison I provided links for. I don't think it's good for sourcewatch to have an outdated and inaccurate entry. If there are any mistakes in what I've said, or any additional points, by all means make them, but I don't think it's reasonable to undo my work because one user thinks I'm somebody I'm not... - DaveR

Reasons why DavidR's changes have been rolled back

DavidR's changes are curious in the following way: 1. they help add comments that are mostly self-serving to Hari, e.g., among the first paragraphs: while before it was stated that it is curious that Hari would name himself a Leftists -- the added column lists his critics with the rejoinder "feel i am doing something right"... This simply transforms the section from a critical assessment to something that could come straight out of Hari's website.

2. the critical sections coming directly from Private Eye have been:

  • -- links to the original articles cut out; DavidR even changed the links to non-functional ones (the server changed)
  • -- the direct quotes from Private Eye reduced and juxtaposed with Hari's response to them -- most of the article has become a listing of Hari's objections to the Private Eye critique. This is useless.
  • -- the emails regarding Hari's stance about Joseph K have been axed -- this is unethical to do, it amounts to censorship

3. About his support for the war... well this section was rewritten by DavidR to simply provide Hari's explanation of the change in his position. SourceWatch is not about letting journos explain the reasons for their punditocracy, it aims to present a critique -- and where relevant Hari's response. It is curious that DavidR axed the list of statements made by Hari since 2002... these are more revealing than Hari's current apologia.

4. DavidR adds a section on Hari's reporting around the world... as if this were relevant. So what if Hari reported from Venezuela.

5. DavidR adds a section "debate with Robert Fisk" -- but notice that this simply ERASES a significant portion of the section with Media Lens's analysis or Hari's reports on Iraq. So, yet again, DavidR seems to want to tone down and reduce the critical sections of the article.

6. the external resources section was neatly separated between Hari's own article and those of others. This is common practice and one can find numerous examples of this in SW. However, DavidR does the following: (1) mixes up the external articles and Hari's (2) puts many of Hari's articles towards the top and (3) deletes some of the articles critical of Hari, e.g., all the Private Eye articles are gone.

To summarize DavidR's input:

  • 1. it has reduced the critical element of the article
  • 2. it has incorporated many of JohannHari's own self-serving comments or replies (why anyone other than Hari would want to do this is a mystery).
  • 3. cut out sections that were pertinent (e.g., the email exchange with Hari, Media Lens's extensive critique, the actual statements that Hari made in the lead up to the war, etc., there are more).

DavidR's (but in reality these must be JohannHari's own) changes are not constructive in any way -- they simply reduce the ability of obtaining a critical overview of Johann Hari, what he has said, why he has said it, and what is the opinion of others about him. There are many questions about Hari, and certainly the ability to understand this little pundit have been diminished by the current DavidR changes. On the basis of these comment I am reverting the text back to Bob Burton's version


I'm sorry but that's not true. I have not removed any facts. I have simply added relevant information. I don't know what you're talking about when you say I've changed links to ones that don't work;l that's just not true, I didn't change any links at all, I only added some.

For example, you say, "while before it was stated that it is curious that Hari would name himself a Leftists -- the added column lists his critics with the rejoinder "feel i am doing something right"... This simply transforms the section from a critical assessment to something that could come straight out of Hari's website."

The list of his critics comes directly from hari's own website; whoever write the original entry took it from there. I only added the sentence to give it in its full context - i.e., Hari listing them himself, and welcoming the criticisms.

I think it is gives a misleading picture to list criticisms of Hari and not to put his reponses. You say, "It is curious that DavidR axed the list of statements made by Hari since 2002". Eh? i haven;t done that."

You say, "SourceWatch is not about letting journos explain the reasons for their punditocracy, it aims to present a critique". Yes, an honest critique, with all the available facts. Anybody reading this entry can see very clearly what the criticisms of Hari are, and the response. I don't think Sourcewatch's job is to uncritically parrot criticisms of a gay journalist made by people he has criticised for homophobia. It's fine to repeat them, but you have to also give teh answers, especially when Private Eye itself appears to have backed off from the allegations themselves.

You say, "DavidR adds a section on Hari's reporting around the world... as if this were relevant. So what if Hari reported from Venezuela." The original Sourcewatch article was accusing Hari of being a dupe of US imperialism, and I think it's pretty relevant to that charge to point out he supports Chavez so much he has been out there and interviewed him, and that he has risked his life in CVongolese warzones reporting on the crimes of US corporations. It gives a fuller picture.

You say I have "deleted some of the articles critical of Hari, e.g., all the Private Eye articles are gone." I simply didn't do that; it's not true.

If you want to suggest any of the facts I've added are incorrect that's fine, let's discuss them, but to simply remove them on the basis of an allegation that is false (and that I've given you evidence to prove is false) isn't reasonable I'm afraid.

By all means suggest compromises, but a revert isn't reasonable, I think. - DavidR

Needs Reversion

The entries made by DavidR are selfserving and contribute nothing to the profile. There is no mention of Hari's attacks on anti-War groups and individuals. I suggest the profile be reverted to Bob Burton's last edit, and more added on Hari's role in reinforcing the pro-War propaganda. --Idrees 08:12, 7 February 2007 (EST)

No It Doesn't

I don't agree. Hari is hardly reinforcing pro-war propaganda. This is from his latest column:

"A majority of the British people (62 percent) want to bring the troops home now. A majority of the troops (72 percent) - if they are like the recently-polled American soldiers - want to come home now. And a majority of the Iraqi people (78 percent) want the troops to go home now. So the unwilling are occupying the unwilling on behalf of the unwilling - in the putative name of democracy."

Do you really think it's not relevant to mention, when listing criticisms of a gay journalist, that these allegations were by people he accused just the week before of homophobia? Do you really think, when accusing somebody of being a shill for US imperialism, it's irrelevant to mention that he is the most prominent defender of Hugo Chavez in the British press? If the entry was reverted to its former state then (a) it repeats the criticisms listed made by homophobes after Hari called them on their homophobia, without pointing out that pretty important bit of context (b) It would not mention that Hari has retracted his initial stance on Iraq (c) It wouldn't mention Hari's reponses to these charges (d) It wouldn't mention that exactly the opposite charge to the Private Eye allegations (that far from exaggerating his drug use, he is in fact a drug addict) has been made by several prominent figures (e) It would't mention all the counterveiling evidence to the idea he is a shill for US imperialism

It's not "self-serving", since I am not mentioned in the entry. It's the difference between an accurate entry and one that repeats homophobic accusations without context or explanation.

By all means add more material, but cutting this out isn't reasonable. David R

For what it's Worth

I've been involved in editing the Johann Hari wikipedia page, and have been struggling with DaveR as a fellow editor for a long time now. Although I thought he was Hari for a long time, I think he actually is a close friend of Hari's, called David Rose, who essentially writes and maintains puff pieces about Hari on the web, to maintain his web profile. Take a look (if you can bring yourself to) at the voluminous wikipedia Hari discussion pages. You might also want to check out DaveR's contribution history (although he often doesn't log in) with strikingly few exceptions his edits are all Hari related spam in other articles. I hadn't looked at this page for over a year until today, and I'm a bit shocked at how it's been turned into a media CV for Hari, even now that it's been locked-any plans to unlock it again?Felix 13:49, 30 June 2007 (EDT)

Edit Notes

I have compared the last two versions of the article. It is not a matter of reverting the current version as some of the changes appear minor or reasonable (pending checking the cited sources). Others were unwarranted and unexplained. Rather than have a further too and fro by reverting the current version I'll start working through the sections. I'm about out of time today but what I donlt get done now, I'll make no 1 priority for tomorrow. --Bob Burton 04:08, 4 July 2007 (EDT)

Edit Notes 2

  • I notice this page is now over 40kb so I'll archive some of the earlier notes a little later on.
  • "Hari describes himself as a left wing gay columnist"
maybe he does, but that web reference doesn't support that point.
  • "and he has been praised by some left-wingers like George Monbiot [at Campaign Against Climate Change Rally, Conway Hall, November,]
  • "and Hugo Chavez [2].
I couldn't see what was being referred to here.
  • In his own biographical note [3] Hari describes his extensive list of critics - "the Daily Telegraph, John Pilger, Peter Oborne, Private Eye, the Socialist Worker, Cristina Odone, the Spectator, Andrew Neil, George Galloway, Mark Steyn, the British National Party, Medialens, al Muhajaroun and Richard Littlejohn" - stating that "this makes him think he is doing something right".
no it doesn't state that "this makes him think he is doing something right"; even if it did, it is rather glib implying that there is no merit to any of the criticism. I think it is better to identify criticisms in separate subsections of the article so that readers can decide for themselves.

Relocating section

I'm relocating the following section for the moment. Having it right up the front of the article doesnlt really make sense. It is better being merged with the later section "Support for the war ...". So until I get down to there I'll park it here. --Bob Burton 04:43, 4 July 2007 (EDT)

In 2003 Hari supported the invasion of Iraq after visiting the country briefly, claiming most Iraqis "would prefer even an Anglo-American invasion to Saddam and his sons far onto the horizon."

He counts among his friends Christopher Hitchens, although he as criticised the "pro-war left" for "acting as if the United States government is the armed wing of Amnesty International", a position he says is "crazy" [4].

parking here for the moment

Hari's claims he consistently sides with Iraqis, citing the fact he has argued against the "forced privatisation" of the Iraqi economy and loudly supported Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, a government vehemently opposed by the US government. [5]
He believed, on the basis of the International Crisis Group report, that Iraqis favoured an invasion. He later said he had been "totally wrong" to support the invasion, writing: "The lamest defence I could offer – one used by many supporters of the war as they slam into reverse gear – is that I still support the principle of invasion, it's just the Bush administration screwed it up. But as one anti-war friend snapped at me when I mooted this argument, "Yeah, who would ever have thought that supporting George Bush in the illegal invasion of an Arab country would go wrong?" She's right: the truth is that there was no pure Platonic ideal of The Perfect Invasion to support, no abstract idea we lent our names to. There was only Bush, with his cluster bombs, depleted uranium, IMF-ed up economic model, bogus rationale and unmistakable stench of petrol, offering his war, his way... The evidence should have been clear to me all along: the Bush administration would produce disaster." [1]

Further Edit Notes

  • I forgot to note yesterday that the earlier version of the first par stated that hari was "a regular contributor to the New Statesman" - that was deleted by DaveR. If he was but no longer is a NS contributor maybe that is worth menbtioning later;
  • I deleted the "and former editor Richard Ingrams [] in print" - the Hackwatch article was late March 2003; the article referred to in this link was August 2003.
  • I have left the contextual information on Hari's snipe preceding the Hackwatch column for the moment but I half wonder if Hari's comment was a response to something else going on re Hislop that is not referred to.
  • "However, Hari has also been accused by Richard Littlejohn in the Sun newspaper and by the left-wing MP George Galloway being a drug addict who appears on television under the influence of cocaine. [6]"
the Littlejohn column implied this but is is hardly the sort of column that could be taken too seriously as being evidence-driven. Nor did that link have any mention of Galloway.
  • "Hari says both the claims of non-drug use and of drug addiction are "bollocks" [7]."
It is not clear which audio file of Hari's the reference link was supposed to be pointing to. But even if it was true, the specific point in the Hackwatch column related to having to call a friend about having taken ecstasy. It didn't allege addiction or say Hari hadn't taken drugs - it was solely about ecstasy.
  • "Hari has categorically denied this, citing the names of several people who were present with him. [8]."
Again, it is not clear which audio file of Hari's the reference link was supposed to be pointing to.
  • "Hari has stated that he did mention them, but they were edited from the long 2000-word article to save space, a statement that has been confirmed by the Guardian."
Hari has stated to whom? Confirmed by the Guardian to whom? Is there any evidence to support this?
  • "He pointed out the criticisms appeared the week after Hari attacked Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, in the Independent, something Hari claimed to be a motivation behind the "slurs". [9]
This is simply repeating what is covered at the outset in this section. There is no need for the duplication.
  • "Since Hari challenged the claims back in 2003, Private Eye have gone quiet about Hari and has refrained from criticising him again. [See Private Eye]"
This implies that Hari has effectively responded to the claims and that Private Eye has retreated. Maybe Hari thinks this is the case but there is no evidence this is the case. It is equally plausible that Private Eye had plenty of other things to write about. So, I don't find absence of further coverage to be compelling argument.
  • Hari has also been criticised for taking at face value a story covered by wire service UPI and widely reported in newspapers like the Christian Science Monitor and the Los Angeles Times on Kenneth Joseph, who was purportedly an American anti-war "pastor of the Assyrian Church of the East" who went to Iraq as a 'human shield' but discovered that most Iraqis wanted the invasion to proceed.
I have left the bulk of this intact in the revised version but deleted the ref to the SCM and LAT - maybe they were but a) no refs are provided for that; b) in the absence of that it is hard to know whther they were responding to Hari taking up the UPI story or the other way around; and c) it hardly matters if others were taken in too - this is an article about Hari;
  • Hari later explained he had relied on the reports in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and elsewhere and was not able to contact Joseph himself. He said, "When a story is so widely reported, journalists don't check the original sources, we'd never get anything written if we did".
no sources.
  • He wrote: "This war has been waved aside as an internal African implosion. In reality it a battle for coltan and diamonds and cassiterite and gold, destined for sale in London and New York and Paris. It is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling, and it has already claimed four million lives in five years and broken a population the size of Britain’s.... The country was ravaged by “armies of business”, commanded by men who “carefully planned the redrawing of the regional map to redistribute wealth,” the UN declared."
I have left a link to the original article on the page but I couldn't see the point of excluding an extract. The page is long enough as it is.
  • "Because of the international anti-democratic boycott of the Palestinians, every hospital warns there has been an unseen, unreported epidemic of home births on the West Bank. I found Dr Hamdan Hamdan – the head of maternity services at Hussein Hospital, Bethlehem – pacing around an empty ward, chain-smoking. “This ward is usually full,” he said. “We hate to strike, but what can we do? For the first time in my life I am in debt. Many of my nurses cannot even afford the fare to get to the hospital. They cannot afford to feed their children. Please do not call us the third world. We are the seventeeth world – the eighteenth is Somalia.” He laughs bitterly, then adds with a frown, “But the women who should be in this hospital – what is happening to them? Where have they gone?”... They have been reduced to giving birth in startlingly similar conditions to those suffered by Mary two thousand years ago. They have delivered their babies with no doctors, no sterilised equipment, no back-up if there are complications. They have been boycotted back into the stone age."
  • "Venezuela is living in the shadow of the other 11 September. In 1972, on a day synonymous with death, Salvador Allende - the democratically elected left-wing President of Chile - was bombed and blasted from power. The CIA and the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had decided the "irresponsibility" of the Chilean people at the ballot box needed to be "rectified" - so they installed a fascist general, Augusto Pinochet. He "disappeared" at least 3,000 people and tortured 27,000 more as he clung to power right up to 1990. Since the Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez, their own left-wing democrat, in a 1998 landslide, they have been waiting for their 11 September."

I've got to go do other things so I'm going to take a break from this page now. It still needs some more work but that's enough for now. --Bob Burton 21:52, 5 July 2007 (EDT)

Reporting from Congo, Gaza, the West Bank and Venezuela

Just spotted another of dave's dodgy references

  • "Hari has also reported from occupied Gaza and the West Bank, and has been attacked by right-wing organisations like Honest Reporting as an "anti-Semite" for defending the Palestinian cause. [22] "

Ref 22 [10] doesn't call him an anti-Semite at all-that sentence could probably be lost altogether, Iguess Felix 13:14, 4 January 2008 (EST)

On checking, I agree. I have posted the cut section below.--Bob Burton 14:00, 4 January 2008 (EST)
, and has been attacked by right-wing organisations like Honest Reporting as an "anti-Semite" for defending the Palestinian cause. [2] Their protest was over a report on the condition of pregnant Palestinian women. [3].

bob, you created the trouble for yourself

bob, you created the trouble for yourself -- it is very clear from the email address (at the Independent) that DaveR is actually JohannH himself... in one of the notes in this discussion DaveR asks me to call him on a given number at the Independent -- it turned out to be a bogus number. So, Hari spoiled the page, and instead of countering this early on the silly page was frozen by AI... Now it is an issue of going back and cleaning up... in the very least that is frustrating; it also devalues SW when this was quite clear early on. Antidotto

error in formating that only Bob Burton can fix

Notice that the table meant to be in the middle of the page appears at the bottom. This is due to faulty formating

--Antidotto 10:16, 7 April 2010 (UTC)