Another Daily Beast columnist has been accused of uncredited borrowing. This time, it’s senior political columnist John Avalon, who, in his new Beast-published book Wingnuts, lifts quotes from Salon columnist Alexander Zaitchik’s reporting on Glenn Beck. Hamilton Nolan of Gawker lays out all the instances here. Basically, Avalon didn’t swipe any of Zaitchik’s own prose, but he just happened to find the exact same obscure quotes on the Stormfront.org forums, edit them the same way, and use them in the same order.
Asked for comment, the Beast’s PR guy fired back a scathing e-mail, calling Hamilton’s post “highly defamatory” and demanding a retraction. “Nolan has nothing to retract,” counters Joan Walsh of Salon; Avalon obviously borrowed “beyond the bounds of fairness.” She reveals that Zaitchik himself noticed the swipes weeks ago, and privately contacted the Beast, but didn’t get any response. Taken together with the Gerald Posner case, “TDB has a problem that blaming Gawker isn't going to make go away.”