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Author Jill Abramson says she 'made some errors' in crediting sources in 'Merchants of Truth'

Updated 5:38 PM ET, Sun February 10, 2019

New York (CNN Business) - Jill Abramson continues to claim that passages from her new book, "Merchants of Truth," weren't plagiarized, but instead were improperly credited.

The Former New York Times executive editor told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday that she made "no purposeful attempt to not credit someone's work" and plans to fix the omissions.

"I made some errors in the way I credited sources, but that there was no attempt to pass off someone's ideas, opinions and phrasings as my own," she said.

Abramson became the target of plagiarism accusations last week when Michael Moynihan, a "Vice News Tonight" correspondent, pointed out several sentences in "Merchants of Truth" that appeared to have been lifted from other publications without appropriate credit.

Abramson denied allegations of plagiarism during a Fox News interview on Wednesday. At the time, she said, "I certainly didn't plagiarize in my book."

Hours later, she said on Twitter that she took the accusations "seriously" and planned to "review the passages in question."

On Sunday, Stelter, who previously worked for Abramson at The New York Times, asked her whether the errors in her book would meet the newspaper's definition of plagiarism.

"It would meet the Times' definition of things that should be promptly corrected," Abramson said.

Stelter pressed Abramson on whether she felt she had done enough to properly attribute material in the body of the text, rather than relying on footnotes.

Abramson conceded that some portions of her book do include language that is "way too close for comfort" to its source material "and probably should have been in quotes."

"This is my book. I'm very proud of it. I own every mistake, and every missed citation and badly done footnote," Abramson told Stelter.

On Thursday, CNN Business identified two additional sections of "Merchants of Truth" that contained apparent plagiarism. In some instances, the content is not credited to the original source, and in others, it is attributed in footnotes but not in the body of the text.

Moynihan, the Vice correspondent who broke the plagiarism story, appeared on "Reliable" just after Abramson.

Stelter asked: "How do you define plagiarism?"

"Merchants of Truth" is clearly an example, Moynihan said.

"One cannot cite something, even if they have copied it word for word, and it not be plagiarism," he said. "One cannot cite plagiarism away."

While defending against plagiarism claims on Sunday, Abramson said she gave Vice early excerpts of the book and invited the company's response. But she said she was warned that Vice planned to launch an "oppo campaign" against "Merchants of Truth."

Moynihan and other Vice journalists have taken issue with Abramson's portrayal of their company as embarking on opposition research.

"The plagiarism is there whether my motivations are ill or they're not," Moynihan said.


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