Jill Abramson on Plagiarism Accusation: Look at Footnotes

Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan made the allegation on Wednesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 7, 2019 7:24 AM CST
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Jill Abramson attends the Matrix Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on April 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

(Newser) – Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is facing allegations that she lifted material from other sources for her new book, Merchants of Truth. She and her publisher are promising to investigate, reports the AP. A Twitter thread posted Wednesday by Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan lists several examples of passages that closely resemble material in the New Yorker, Time Out, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications. Released this week and praised by Walter Isaacson and Gay Talese among others, Merchants of Truth is a critique of the news business focused on two long-running newspapers, the Times and the Washington Post, along with Vice and fellow digital company BuzzFeed.

"I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question," Abramson tweeted Wednesday night. Appearing on Fox News, she said, "All I can tell you is I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book and there's 70 pages of footnotes showing where I got the information." Writers are generally expected to credit their sources directly in the body of the text if the material is similar. "If upon further examination changes or attributions are deemed necessary we stand ready to work with the author in making those revisions,” Simon & Schuster says, noting the book gives "an extraordinary degree of transparency toward its subjects." Abramson has previously been criticized for alleged factual errors. She responded that some criticisms arose from Vice's "unhappiness" with Merchants of Truth and its portrait of hypocrisy and sexism. (President Trump already weighed in.)


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