Gerald Posner didn’t mean to do it, but he admits he is a plagiarist and has now resigned from his reporting gig at the Daily Beast. His undoing, he writes on his blog, was the blazing pace of Internet journalism and his own naïveté. “For the Beast articles, I created master electronic files, which contained all the information I developed about a topic.” Then, in the “warp speed of the net,” he inadvertently claimed others’ writing as his own.
Posner likes to call his actions, which he says resulted from his experience as a book writer with years to puzzle out a story, “accidental plagiarism.” And it’s clear if you look at the “material copied—facts, figures, the most mundane information, not great prose from another writer.” Though he stands behind his articles, he notes, journalism is about trust. “Plagiarism is insidious because it rightfully violates that trust.”