Earlier than Abramson, a Lengthy Line of Writers’ Crediting Errors


In journalism, there is no such thing as a worse crime than plagiarism. However when accused, even high writers are usually not at all times forthcoming with apologies or acknowledgments of wrong-doing. Just lately, Jill Abramson, the previous government editor of the New York Instances and a senior lecturer at Harvard, was accused of plagiarizing in her new guide, “Retailers of Fact.” Not solely does she not correctly credit score some authors, however she seems to elevate sure passages word-for-word from others. 

To date, her protection has been that she unintentionally did not credit score all authors. In an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, she didn’t apologize for what seem like verbatim quotations. In accordance with Abramson, if correctly credited in a footnote 300 pages later, that’s not plagiarism.

The historical past of high-profile plagiarism instances consists of many unapologetic responses on the a part of the accused, in addition to some expressing regret. Right here’s a sampler:

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Goodwin, a revered presidential historian, printed her second guide, “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,” in 1987. Fifteen years later, Goodwin confronted accusations of plagiarizing from different Kennedy books. She didn’t admit to this and known as it somewhat “a mistake in method. I’d prefer to consider that I’ll by no means make it once more,” in accordance to the Guardian.  Goodwin went on to put in writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, “No Atypical Time,” and lately printed “Management in Turbulent Instances.”

Stephen E. Ambrose

Ambrose, a prolific and well-liked American historian, was accused of plagiarism in 2002. In accordance with Forbes, he admitted to and apologized for copying “some phrases” and “a couple of sentences” in quite a few his books. In a single case, a test of his guide “Upton and the Military” discovered at the very least 11 instances of insufficient credit score.

Alex Haley

The celebrated American writer confronted plagiarism fees for his much-praised 1976 guide, “Roots: The Saga of an American Household.” In 1978 Haley settled a lawsuit, acknowledging that “Roots” included quite a few passages from an earlier novel by Harold Courlander, “The African.” In accordance to the New York Instances, Haley “denied that he had knowingly made any factual errors.”

Melania Trump

Maybe nobody has been accused of extra brazen plagiarism than the primary girl. Passages from Melania Trump’s speech on the Republican Nationwide Conference in 2016 had been virtually similar to Michelle Obama’s speech on the Democratic Nationwide Conference in 2008. Whereas not admitting to the accusation, the Trump marketing campaign issued a press release that Melania Trump’s staff of writers “took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some cases included fragments [of others’ words] that mirrored her personal considering.”

Joe Biden

Whereas not nicely remembered, former vice chairman Joe Biden was condemned as a plagiarist in 1988, main the Delaware senator to surrender his presidential run. Not solely did Biden elevate phrases from the speeches of British Labor Celebration chief Neil Kinnock, however extra egregiously he additionally borrowed biographical particulars about Kinnock that weren’t true of himself. The accusations didn’t cease there: In accordance with Slate, quickly after he was accused of plagiarizing Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. When heckled at a marketing campaign occasion, Biden defended himself by saying, “I believe I in all probability have a a lot larger IQ than you do.” Biden added that he “went to legislation college on a full tutorial scholarship.” This too, is fake.

Fareed Zakaria

Zakaria, the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and a columnist for the Washington Submit, acknowledged in 2012 that he plagiarized parts of one other author’s piece on gun management. Zakaria printed a proper apology, saying that his piece bore “shut similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay within the April 23rd subject of The New Yorker.” He known as this “a critical lapse and one that’s fully my fault.” And, in accordance with the Washington Submit, Zakaria confronted additional accusations of extra widespread plagiarism in 2014 – although neither the Submit nor CNN thought-about the examples cited by the web site Our Unhealthy Media to be critical journalistic offenses.

Rand Paul

In 2013, stories surfaced that the Kentucky senator had plagiarized the work of others in his speeches. MSNBC initially accused Paul of borrowing phrases from a Wikipedia web page for the movie “Gattaca,” in accordance with a Washington Submit report. BuzzFeed discovered similarities between a Paul speech on immigration and features from the film “Stand and Ship.” Politico reported that Paul’s 2013 response to President Obama’s State of the Union Deal with exactly echoed a 2011 report by the Related Press. When requested to touch upon the “Gattaca” accusation, Paul stated, “Nothing I stated was not given attribution to the place it got here from. … The remainder of it’s making a mountain out of a molehill from folks, I believe, principally who’re political enemies and have an axe to grind.”

John Walsh

Walsh, a veteran of the Iraq Warfare who was briefly an appointed senator from Montana, had his grasp’s diploma from the Military Warfare Faculty rescinded after an examination indicated he lifted a considerable a part of his thesis on American Center East coverage from different authors with out attribution, reported the New York Instances. After his diploma was taken away, Walsh stated, “Although I disagree with the findings made by the Warfare Faculty, I settle for its resolution with nice humility and respect for the U.S. army.” He additionally gave up his bid to win election to a full Senate time period.

Kaavya Viswanathan

Whereas only a sophomore at Harvard, Viswanathan was accused of plagiarizing from a number of sources, together with two books by Megan F. McCafferty. In accordance with the Harvard Crimson, Viswanathan lifted word-for-word passages for her 2006 younger grownup novel, “How Opal Mehta Bought Kissed, Bought Wild, and Bought a Life,” from McCafferty’s “Sloppy Firsts” and “Second Helpings.” Viswanathan seems to by no means have acknowledged this accusation. When the Crimson reached out to her, she stated, “No remark. I do not know what you might be speaking about.” Her writer, nevertheless, had a distinct response. Little, Brown recalled all copies of “Opal Mehta” and canceled a deliberate second guide and its $500,000 contract with the younger writer.

Jayson Blair

In what the New York Instances described as a low-point in its lengthy historical past, former Instances reporter Blair “dedicated frequent acts of journalistic fraud whereas protecting vital information occasions in latest months,” in accordance to the newspaper’s inner investigation. His fraud included making up complete scenes depicted in his tales and taking work from different information sources. In a press release, Blair talked about “private issues,” the Instances stated. Addressing college students at Duke College in 2016, Blair defined that he had undiagnosed bipolar dysfunction, and was getting over drug and alcohol dependancy, on the time.