News & Politics

Former 'New York Times' Editor Jill Abramson Denies Plagiarism Charges

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson. Image via YouTube.

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.

“I certainly didn’t plagiarize my book,” Abramson told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, pointing out that there are “70 pages of footnotes” in the book showing where she got her information. The book, released on February 5, was published by Simon & Schuster.

“Vice News Tonight” correspondent Michael Moynihan earlier on Wednesday called Abramson out on Twitter — not only for the plagiarism but for “enormous factual errors” and “single or unsourced claims” found in her new book.

Moynihan said that he read a galley copy of the book a few weeks ago and “noticed an egregious error” about one of his colleagues. He said she corrected the mistake after the “sh*t storm” that ensued.

The reporter went on to say that “all three chapters on Vice were clotted with mistakes. Lots of them,” and that while he was trying to corroborate some of the information, he discovered she had lifted whole paragraphs from other writers.

He cited numerous other examples of apparent plagiarized material:

MacCallum had Abramson on her show on Wednesday evening to talk about her newly released book — but the author probably wasn’t counting on being hit with the plagiarism claims the minute she sat down for the interview.

“There are some suggestions that some parts of the book could be plagiarized,” MacCallum began.

She cited Moynihan’s example of a passage about former Vice News editor Jason Mojica, which matches almost word for word a 2010 Time Out magazine piece by Jake Malooley.

“Do you have any comment on this?” MacCallum asked.

“I really don’t — ah — um … ” Abramson stammered.

“You’re going to be asked to respond to this,” MacCallum noted.

“All I can tell you is, you know, I certainly didn’t plagiarize in my book and, you know, there are 70 pages of footnotes showing where I got the information,” Abramson replied.

MacCallum asked if perhaps the passages were just incorrectly footnoted.

“Do you think this is a footnote issue?” MacCallum pressed.

“No, I don’t think it’s an issue at all,” Abramson answered.

“You’re standing by your work 100 percent?” MacCallum pressed further.

“Yes,” Abramson replied, adding that “many people from Vice have been taking issue with the book.”

When asked why she thinks Vice was coming out against her book, Abramson speculated that it might be because they don’t like how she portrayed them. “I think it’s a very balanced portrait and I have a lot of praise for some of their journalists and some of their stories,” she added.

“So you’re on the record as saying that there’s absolutely nothing in here that you have any problem with?” MacCallum persisted.

“I haven’t looked at it yet,” Abramson admitted.

Abramson co-authored with Jane Mayer the 1995 book Strange Justice about EEOC staffer Anita Hill’s sexual harassment accusations against Justice Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings.

She also co-authored the book Obama: The Historic Journey with former New York Times editor Bill Keller.