The Daily Beast responds

John Avlon's book on Glenn Beck relied on his own reporting -- and he credited Salon where appropriate

Published April 2, 2010 4:40PM (EDT)

Dear Joan,

In response to your piece yesterday:

We hold ourselves to the highest journalistic standards which is why we expeditiously parted company with Gerald Posner, and then methodically and carefully reviewed every incident we found on our own or that others pointed out in his articles.

Avlon's book is entirely different. The passages you cite are certainly not plagiarism, though your piece implies otherwise by suggesting that Posner was "the first time around." John twice footnoted Alexander, including links in the e-version.

When it came to the quotations from stormfront, John correctly cited in repeated footnotes the original source material--a publicly available website referred to by many news organizations other than Salon. If reporters covering the same story read the same websites, books or other source material - and John read and the hundreds of other sources he quotes in his book and identifies in endnotes - they don't all need to identify every other story published elsewhere on the same topic. If those other stories are the source of facts or analysis that are relied upon, then of course they should be credited. But if they just include the same quotes from published sources, of course not. Otherwise, every story on a well-known topic would include paragraphs identifying other news organizations quoting the same passages of legislation, the same paragraphs of books and the same forum postings.

I have no doubt Alexander's book will be excellent; John obviously thought very highly of his Salon coverage, citing it twice in his own book. John's book is also excellent, and journalistically thorough, and he deserves better than he got from Gawker today. Through months of reporting and research for The Daily Beast and for his book, Wingnuts, John knows the subject of America's lunatic fringe as well as anyone in the country.

Edward Felsenthal
Executive Editor, The Daily Beast

By Salon Staff

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