Former New York Times Editor Reviewing Book After Accusations of Plagiarism

Former New York Times Editor Reviewing Book After Accusations of Plagiarism
Jill Abramson, former executive editor at the New York Times during commencement ceremonies for Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C., on May 19, 2014. (Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said that she's reviewing her book after accusations of plagiarism and defamation.

Abramson's recently published "Merchants of Truth" includes passages lifted from different articles, according to Michael Moynihan, a Vice News reporter, and Ian Frisch, a writer.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Moynihan highlighted passages he said were copied.

He said that he felt compelled to fact check the three chapters in the book about Vice because he found an "egregious error" about a colleague that Abramson admitted was wrong before correcting the mistake for the final publication.

"While trying to corroborate certain claims, I noticed that it also contained ... plagiarized passages," he wrote.

Abramson appeared to lift and slightly edit passages from the Ryerson Review of Journalism, Time Out magazine, the New Yorker, a masters thesis, and Columbia Journalism Review.

"There’s plenty more--enormous factual errors, other cribbed passages, single or unsourced claims--but this should give a sense," Moynihan wrote after providing six examples of alleged plagiarism.

Frisch also took to Twitter to say that Abramson appeared to plagiarize him at least seven times.

"This is just crazy. I'm just showing these screenshots so people know," he wrote. "Shame on you, Jill. Shame on you."

Abramson initially defended her book, telling Fox News: "I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book."

"There’s 70 pages of footnotes showing where I got the information," she said.

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

"No, I don't think it's an issue at all," Abramson replied. "Many people from Vice have been taking issue with the book it seems...I think they don't like the portrayal of Vice."

A few hours later, she took to Twitter to issue an updated response that attacked Vice while saying she'd review the passages.

"The attacks on my book from some in @vicenews reflect their unhappiness with what I consider a balanced portrayal," she wrote. "I endeavored to accurately and properly give attribution to the hundreds of sources that were part of my research. I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question."

Simon & Schuster, which published the book, also issued a statement, calling the book "an important, exhaustively researched and meticulously sourced book."

"If upon further examination changes or attributions are deemed necessary we stand ready to work with the author in making those revisions," the publisher added.