Jill Abramson, Formerly of the New York Times, Has Both a Depraved Heart and a Social Intelligence Deficit

At one point, Jill Abramson formerly of the New York Times had something like this—the lead of an written by Jake Malooley—on her computer screen:

Vice cop

She then copied the text from "when..." to the second "...Darfur" and pasted the three sentences it into an editing window in her manuscript:

Vice cop

She then did not:

  1. enclose it in quotation marks,
  2. add "(quoted from Jake Maloolley: https://www.timeout.com/chicago/things-to-do/vice-cop)", or
  3. move it to a "scratch-sources" part of the document.

Instead, she first deleted the word "Jason":

Vice cop

Then she replaced "a" with "the Jinx" in front of "café":

Vice cop

Then she capitalized the "c" in "café":

Vice cop

Next, she replaced "(Jinx and" with "called":

Vice cop

After that, she took the passage ", respectively); he even" and replaced it with ". He":

Vice cop

and then deleted "a few" and "for this magazine":

Vice cop

She thus made seven changes to Malooley's first sentence, in the process dividing it into two.

She then replaced the second "Mojica" with "he":

Vice cop

She thus made one change to Malooley's second sentence.

She then left Malooley's third sentence alone. Clearly the effort of making seven discrete changes to the first sentence had exhausted her.

Malooley interviewed her. She does not think that failing to add "(quoted from Jake Maloolley: https://www.timeout.com/chicago/things-to-do/vice-cop)" was in any sense a bad thing to do:

I had no intention to take anybody’s work without credit...

Even though she took Malooley's work, and as she did so then decided not to credit him.

She does not think that this is plagiarism:

Q: Isn’t inadvertent plagiarism still plagiarism?

A: No, it isn’t. I mean, you can consult your own experts. It may be that not all agree with me, but I’ve talked to a number of respected eminent scholars who have said that this is not a venal mistake. It’s a venial mistake, which is unintended. So, I don’t know, I feel like I’ve answered all of these questions. So what else do you need from me?

Q: Which experts did you consult?

A. I’m not gonna say. I’m not going to, you know, drag other people into this mess. No...

Perhaps Abramson got closer to what she really thinks when she was interviewed by Sean Illing Vox:

I’m not lifting original ideas. Again, I wish I had got the citation right, but it’s not an intentional theft or taking someone’s original ideas—it’s just the facts...

She has just enough social intelligence to realize that people think that working the way she does is wrong. But she has not enough social intelligence to understand why people think that working the way she does is wrong.

#highlighted #journamalism #moralresponsibility