Daily Beast Reporter Suspended for Plagiarism

Gerald Posner's old techniques did him in

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Veteran reporter Gerald Posner has been suspended from his staff-writing position at The Daily Beast following claims of plagiarism. The allegations came from Slate columnist Jack Shafer who was tipped off by one of his readers. Shafer looked into Posner's work and discovered a variety of pilfered material from The Miami Herald, Texas Lawyer and a "health care journalism blog." Following the suspension, Posner issued this apology on his blog:

Today I found out that I am suspended from my Chief Investigative Reporter position at The Daily Beast. I now realize that a method of compiling information that I have used successfully since 1984 on book research obviously does not work in a fail safe manner at the warp speed of the net. Some of the incidents raised by Jack Shafer are not plagiarism, but are instances in which I received the same exact prepared quotation or statement from a police officer or press agent as other reporters. But others are mistakes I deeply regret. Rest assured, no one has been tougher on me than I have over this issue...

Here's how bloggers are responding:

  • I Don't Buy It, writes Joseph Cannon: "Is this an admission that he cribbed words in his books? Is this an admission that Posner is not really a writer but a compiler of information? How is it that I (and every other blogger) can deal with the net's warp speed but Gerry can't?"
  • Surprise, Surprise, clucks Margaret Soltan: " Plagiarized articles are like roaches. Find one, and ten others will come scurrying out of the plagiarist's past." This makes the case for "tougher editing," adds Gabriel Sherman.
  • Posner's Apology Has a Point, writes Kyle Munzenrieder at The Miami New Times: "Posner is often credited for his research skills in book reviews. He even wrote about the Novaks in Babylon. It's interesting he partially blames the net, though there's no denying there's a big difference between taking months to research a book and the never-ending deadline of the World Wide Web."
  • Don't Beat Yourself Up About It, writes Paul Brandus, a commenter on Posner's blog: "You have a good track record, Mr. Posner, and I think you're entitled to make a mistake every quarter century or so. I work in the White House as a reporter and the torrent of info is indeed difficult to deal with sometimes. Learn from your mistakes and move on - but don't beat yourself up. I have tremendous respect for your work and look forward to your next book. Best regards."
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