Gerald Posner, an investigative journalist and contributor to Tina Brown‘s The Daily Beast (not to mention a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Hardball), has admitted to plagiarizing a juicy celebrity death story straight from the pages of The Miami Herald. Jack Shafer at Slate was the first one to notice the…well…lack of discrepancy. Here’s Posner’s article on Fontainebleau heir Ben Novak and his suspicious death for The Daily Beast on February 4th:
There is little doubt the Novacks had a volatile relationship. In 2002, 11 years into their marriage, Narcy and two others tied Ben Jr. to a chair, threatened to kill him and took money from his safe, according to the police report filed at the time.
“If I can’t have you, no one else will,” she told him, according to a divorce petition Ben Jr. filed and then dropped.
Narcy told police investigators at the time that the entire episode was part of a sex game. And she also showed them porno snapshots of women with artificial limbs having sex, claiming her husband had a fetish for them.
And here is the Herald article, written by Julie Brown only two days before:
The Novacks, who wed in 1991, had a tumultuous marriage. In 2002, Narcy Novack and two others tied Novack Jr. to a chair, threatened to kill him and removed money from his safe, according to the police report.
“If I can’t have you, no one else will,” she told him, according to a divorce petition he filed and later dropped.
At the time, Narcy Novack told police the incident was part of a sex game.
She also showed them pornographic pictures of women with artificial limbs, claiming her husband had a fetish for them.
Not exactly the same, but close enough to be considerered aggregation, not reporting. Posner has been suspended from The Daily Beast and apologized, ( in what must have been a weird phone call to Shafer, Daily Beast editors read aloud the definition of plagiarism from the dictionary and agreed that’s what happened here) and the article on the site now carries this note:
“In an earlier version of this article, five sentences were inadvertently copied from a Miami Herald report without attribution. The Daily Beast has removed the sentences and regrets the error. Two additional such sentences have also been removed,” read an editor’s note attached to the Beast story.”