Did Jill Abramson writer her own book? It’s a question at least one podcaster and media veteran, John C Dvorak, is asking And with good cause.


(scroll down if you already know the back story)

Merchants of Truth by Jill Abramson, former editor of The New York Times, is the gripping and definitive in-the-room account of the revolution that has swept the news industry over the last decade and reshaped our world.

Jill Abramson is the former Executive Editor of the New York Times. She’s also very well known for her vocal fry.

She recently wrote a book (pictured above) and it’s stirring some controversy as she’s being accused of plagiarizing passages from various sources.

Vice reporter, Michael Moynihan tweeted out:

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

Moynihan cites a number of quotes from Abramson’s book that appear to be lifted directly from other people’s work. You can read them here if you wish.

This is bad, but apparently not all that uncommon. John C. Dvorak of the No Agenda Podcast (ITM) explains that publishers and agents will frequently contact each other over copyright violations, and that the typical outcome is a quiet and small payoff to the writer for a license to the content owner.


Dvorak goes on raise an even bigger question, though…Did Jill Abramson even write her own book? If not, that would be a significant scandal for the New York Times, and her whole sanctimonious community of progressive activists who act smarter than anyone else in flyover country.

DVORAK: So here’s what I think really happened. I wonder if she wrote the book.

(co-host Adam) CURRY: Of course. What am I even thinking?

DVORAK: I say that because I had an agent a very famous agent in New York this is 20 years ago

CURRY: Lefty?

DVORAK: Yeah, and he puts some book out, some philosophical book, and he got busted for plagiarism. It turns out he didn’t even write the book. He’s a writer but a lot of writers don’t necessarily write something when they don’t have time or..

CURRY: How do I get that on there how can we do a podcast where someone else does the actual podcast?

DVORAK: you got to find two good mimics… get Caliendo on here to do both of us. Anyway so and then he just had to pull the book off the market. He was pissed because of this guy. He was just really just sloppy. Now the stuff that McCallum was showing was definitely plagiarism there’s no doubt about it was just lifted. And the reason she has all these footnotes is because this is what you do when you job something out. You want to make sure “Now I want you this document it because I don’t want to get busted for something I did” and so that’s why the book is over footnoted because you don’t normally write that way.

BOOM! That’s an explosive accusation if true! You’d think if it wasn’t, Jill Abramson would be contacting her lawyer.

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No Agenda’s John C Dvorak took the time to comment on this post. Unfortunately he takes issue with my framing of what he said.

Not a fan of this sort of hyperbole. I specifically said that I “wondered” if she wrote it. I never accused her of anything. I also said none of this is unusual, which it isn’t.

I regret that I missed the mark for John. I wasn’t trying to misrepresent him as definitively claiming Jill Abramson didn’t write her own book. That’s why I wrote that John “questioned” if she did. That’s a distinction I thought was pretty clear, but apparently not. To that end, I’ve reposted John’s comment in the thread to make sure everyone sees his criticism. It stings a little but I appreciate him reading and taking the time to give constructive feedback. (itm)

As to the frequency of this sort of thing occurring in the industry, I’m not sure how that’s relevant. If anything, it just makes it worse that it’s happening all the time.