Last month prominent journalist Fareed Zakaria gave the commencement address at Duke University. He told students “you don’t need an ethics course to know what you shouldn’t do.’’ He talked about rapid technological progress across the globe. He pointed out that women were smarter than men.

Then, a week and a half later, he gave a pretty similar speech at the Harvard graduation.

According to an article by Mary Carmichael in the Boston Globe:

Zakaria’s Harvard and Duke commencement speeches were essen¬tially identical, built around the same anecdotes and points and often the same language.

Zakaria said the overlap was natural, especially in the Harvard and Duke speeches.

“Those are students from two very similar institutions graduating within two weeks of each other,” he said. “I don’t see how I could have come up with two completely different speeches without giving one group a second-rate talk. I’d rather come up with the same important message I think they need to hear.”

Well no, you could have done it if you were so inclined. This year Michael Bloomberg gave two totally different speeches when he spoke at Franklin & Marshall College and then University of North Carolina. You just need to put in a little more effort to make it happen.

Zakaria did not get paid to deliver the two speeches.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer