One might assume that Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, would place a great deal of value on the importance of fact-checking. However, recent criticism for her upcoming nonfiction book, Merchants of Truth—which her publisher Simon & Schuster calls “the definitive report on the disruption of the news media over the last decade”—indicates that Abramson may not have gotten it all right.
On Monday, Vice News Tonight climate and environment reporter Arielle Duhaime-Ross tweeted that she’d been made aware of a passage in Abramson’s book that mentions her specifically, and that “in that one paragraph there are SIX errors and several false implications.”
In the book, Abramson identifies Duhaime-Ross as trans, when in fact she identifies as queer and gender-nonconforming. “[Abramson] didn’t ask for an explanation. She didn’t ask for my pronouns,” Duhaime-Ross wrote.
Duhaime-Ross’ thread is worth reading in its entirety because Abramson’s alleged misreporting doesn’t end there. Abramson also writes that Duhaime-Ross had “no background in environmental policy” and “almost missed” a big story soon after being hired by Vice, two allegations that Duhaime-Ross and her colleagues reject as completely false.
“The graf paints a picture of a ‘hip’ outsider, who was about to go study snakes but was plucked from obscurity & plopped in front of a camera w/ zero experience in journalism or covering the environment. That doesn’t resemble my career trajectory in any way,” Duhaime-Ross wrote.
PBS NewsHour special correspondent Danny Gold also tweeted that Abramson had written a “straight-up lie” about reporting he’d done about Ebola in the Liberian capital city, Monrovia.
Abramson also apparently confused Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of the white nationalist Unite the Right protest that resulted in the death of activist Heather Heyer, with Charlotte, North Carolina.
Abramson’s book hasn’t been released yet—it’s out February 5—but the fact that other journalists are pointing out its various errors doesn’t exactly bode well for Merchants of Truth. But at least one person remains in Abramson’s corner: Donald Trump, who recently responded to some Washington Times and Fox News headlines about the book suggesting that Abramson thinks The New York Times is biased against the president. “Ms. Abramson is 100% correct,” Trump tweeted. “Horrible and totally dishonest reporting on almost everything they write. Hence the term Fake News, Enemy of the People, and Opposition Party!”
Simon & Schuster has not responded to Observer’s request for comment.