February 21, 2019

Former New York Times Editor Reviewing Book After Accusations of Plagiarism

10 February 2019, 04:43 | Regina Holmes

Donald Bowers Getty Images

Donald Bowers  Getty Images

Former executive editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson Wednesday night denied plagiarizing other writers in her new book Merchants of Truth after convincing evidence emerged on Twitter showing that she just might have.

"In several of these cases, the language is too close for comfort, and should have been specifically cited in the footnotes correctly", Abramson told NPR.

"Merchants of Truth" faults Vice for sexism and hypocrisy among other criticisms, and Vice in turn has taken on Abramson.

In the book's acknowledgements, Abramson credits a journalist named John Stillman as her "research, reporting, writing, and editing assistant". On Wednesday, Michael Moynihan of Vice News claimed passages of the book were "often not true" or were "plagiarized". The thread, which focuses on three chapters Abramson wrote on the media company Vice, highlights paragraphs containing language that appears to be lifted from material published in Time Out, the New Yorker and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Abramson's book had already come under fire for other inaccuracies when it came to Vice.

The former Gray Lady editor came under fire earlier this week from several Vice News correspondents, who took to Twitter to point out errors and allegedly lifted passages in Abramson's upcoming media industry tell-all, "Merchants of Truth: Inside the News Revolution".

Fox News host Martha MacCallum confronted Abramson about the allegations Wednesday night, to which Abramson responded, "I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book".

Overall, she continues to stand by her work. My book has 70 pages of footnotes, and almost 100 source citations in the Vice chapters alone.

The Washington Post reviewed end notes in the back of Abramson's book, which refer to pages where she used material that was not her own.

While it's true that footnotes were provided for some of the offending passages, many have argued that such extensive borrowing - in some cases excerpts from other sources were retooled nearly verbatim - would require Abramson to credit sources directly in her text.

Abramson is the former executive editor of The New York Times, and was sacked from her post in 2014.

"I did have fact-checking, I did have assistants in research, and in some cases, the drafting of parts of the book". "Or put in quotations in the book". And what is the problem here is that though I did cite these publications and tried to credit everybody perfectly, you know, I fell short. Abramson now teaches at Harvard; her Twitter bio lists her as a "Creative writing professor". And I'm going to fix those pronto.

Abramson says her lapses do not detract from the book.

Her previous works include "Strange Justice", a book about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that was co-written by Jane Mayer.

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