Former N.Y. Times Editor to "Review" Book Passages After Plagiarism Claim

Jason Mendez/Getty Images; Courtesy of Simon & Schuster
Jill Abramson and her book 'Merchants of Truth.'

Journalists accuse Jill Abramson of lifting passages from The New Yorker, Time Out, Columbia Journalism Review, Relapse Magazine and a master's thesis.

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson says that, after her new book Merchants of Truth was accused of plagiarism by two journalists, she will "review the passages in question."

After Merchants of Truth was released on Wednesday, Abramson responded to renewed claims from journalists who had read the galley copy and accused the reporter of plagiarism. "The attacks on my book from some @vicenews reflect their unhappiness with what I consider a balanced portrayal," Abramson tweeted on Wednesday. "I endeavored to accurately and properly give attribution to the hundreds of sources that were part of my research." She added: "I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question."

The tweets followed weeks of uproar from journalists associated with Vice, which was featured in the 544-page survey of the state of the news industry. Initially, a reporter interviewed in the book took issue with some alleged factual errors; then Vice News national correspondent Michael C. Moynihan accused Abramson of plagiarizing from a 2010 Time Out story, a 2013 New Yorker story, a master's thesis and a 2018 Columbia Journalism Review story. "There’s plenty more--enormous factual errors, other cribbed passages, single or unsourced claims--but this should give a sense," Moynihan tweeted.

Ian Frisch, a journalist who has written for Vice Sports, accused Abramson of plagiarizing stories he wrote while running Relapse Magazine "seven times." After tweeting excerpts of the passages on Wednesday, he added, "I'm just...I don't know. Devastated? This is just crazy. I'm just showing these screenshots so people know. I have articles to write and a book coming out in three weeks, so I have bigger shit to worry about. But shame on you, Jill. Shame on you."

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a representative for the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said, "Jill Abramson's MERCHANTS OF TRUTH is an important, exhaustively researched and meticulously sourced book about the media business in a critical moment of transition. It has been published with an extraordinary degree of transparency toward its subjects; each of the four news organizations covered in the book was given ample time and opportunity to comment on the content, and where appropriate the author made changes and corrections. If upon further examination changes or attributions are deemed necessary we stand ready to work with the author in making those revisions."