Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Jill Abramson says she will address plagiarism accusations in book

Jill Abramson says she will address plagiarism accusations in book

Former executive editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, denied allegations that parts of her newly published book, "Merchants of Truth: Inside the News Revolution" - which was based on the evolution of journalism - was plagiarized, even as fresh accusations pour in.

Many in the media-especially those whose companies and work may have been given unflattering profiles by Abramson-were intensely interested in what Merchants of Truth had to say.

Martha McCallum, who was interviewing Abramson, pressed her again, asking if perhaps Abramson forgot to insert footnotes into some areas of the book.

"All I can tell you is I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book", Abramson said, adding that she had not yet read Moynihan's allegations about the three chapters she wrote about Vice.

"I take seriously the issues raised", she continued in a follow-up tweet, "and will review the passages in question".

In Merchants of Truth, Abramson wrote: "He wrote a column in The American Conservative, a magazine run by Pat Buchanan, calling young people a bunch of knee-jerk liberals (a phrase McInnes and his ilk often used) who would believe anyone with dark skin over anyone with light skin".

Abramson looks at The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and VICE in the digital age (the latter two are in possession of "a ballooning and fickle audience of millennials", who are no doubt killing Real Journalism alongside consuming copious amounts of avocado toast).

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Abramson never responded to the criticisms head on, beyond tweeting that the copies of the book sent out were uncorrected and then quietly making changes to the final version.

A Twitter thread posted Wednesday by Vice correspondent Michael C. Moynihan listed several examples of passages in Abramson's book that closely resembled the work of other publications, including Time Out and The New Yorker.

Abramson has pointed to more than 70 pages of footnotes in the book as proof that sources were cited.

Abramson had defended herself by saying that her book includes extensive endnotes, including web links to sources. Writers are generally expected to credit their sources directly in the body of the text if the material is similar.

Abramson wrote for the Times and the Wall Street Journal among others before becoming the Times' first female executive editor in 2011. "Or put in quotations in the book". And in the cases that Michael Moynihan cited, there isn't the correct, like, page number for the credited citation.

"I did have fact-checking, I did have assistants in research, and in some cases, the drafting of parts of the book". And I'm going to fix those pronto. "He made contributions from beginning to end that made this book possible ... he drafted portions of this book and provided a sharp eye throughout in editing the manuscript", she writes.

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