Ex-New York Times editor Jill Abramson 'plagiarised' book on reporting truth


If you follow anyone who's active on "media Twitter", you've no doubt seen the news that former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson-the first woman to hold that vaunted position-has been accused of multiple incidents of plagiarism in her new book, the now-ironically-titled Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts.

"Merchants of Truth" faults Vice for sexism and hypocrisy among other criticisms, and Vice in turn has taken on Abramson. On Wednesday, Michael Moynihan of Vice News claimed passages of the book were "often not true" or were "plagiarized".

"I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question", she wrote. "My book has 70 pages of footnotes and 100 source citations in the Vice chapters alone, including The New Yorker, the Columbia Journalism Review, The Ryerson Review of Journalism and a masters" thesis, the sources from which Mr. Moynihan says I plagiarized".

Others in the media were quick to respond, with some saying the book was "a masterclass in how not to do journalism".

Vice News correspondent Michael Moynihan leveled the allegations against her in a Twitter thread Monday that featured numerous highlighted passages from Abramson's book alongside passages from various publications that he says she lifted or improperly "borrowed" from.

"I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book", Abramson said in an interview Wednesday on Fox News segment "The Story With Martha MacCallum".

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Overall, she continues to stand by her work. She added that there are nearly 70 pages of footnotes explaining where she got her information. "Imagine plagiarizing for a book on ethics - riddled with factual errors - and then calling it 'Merchants of Truth.' Hats off to you @JillAbramson!"

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. Writers are generally expected to credit their sources directly in the body of the text if the material is similar. "Or put in quotations in the book".

Abramson assumed the role of executive editor of the Times in September 2011 after starting at the paper in 1997. The notes don't match up with the right pages in a few cases, and this was unintentional and will be promptly corrected.

The controversy could become a bit of a black eye for Abramson's current employer, Harvard University, which hired the former Times editor to teach creative writing.

"The attacks on my book from some @vicenews reflect their unhappiness with what I consider a balanced portrayal", she argued. And I'm going to fix those pronto. Author Corey Robin noticed in February 2018 that a paragraph in her New York Magazine feature "The Case for Impeaching Clarence Thomas" appeared to mimic portions of a 2016 article on the justice by Think Progress's Ian Millhiser.