Plagiarizing NYT Reporter Disparages Salmon Industry with Another Questioned Story

      You would think that after admitting to plagiarizing on two separate occasions, The New York Times and its reporter, Alexei Barrionuevo, would be more careful with what they put into print.


     However, that’s not the case, according to Eric McErlain, who wrote a letter to the Times dated May 2 on behalf of Salmon of the Americas Inc., a group that represents the salmon industry. The letter questioned a primary source for a story about the use of hormones and colorant in salmon.


     In a March 27 article, “Salmon Virus Indicts Chile’s Fishing Methods,” Barrionuevo quotes Adolfo Flores, identifying him as Port Director of Castro, ChiloeIsland.


     “In actuality, Mr. Flores is simply a security guard who works for a third party contractor,” McErlain wrote. “I’ve enclosed an English translation of a letter from Patricio Cuello, the general manager of the Port of Puerto Montt, which administers Castro, confirming this.” 


      McErlain also included photos of the port director and the security guard on the Salmon of the Americas Web site.


      Barrionuevo has previously admitted to plagiarizing stories in the past. A February 27 article posted on by Jack Shafer showed a Barrionuevo story published on February 23 lifted two lines from an Aug. 12, 2006 Miami Herald story about “paco,” an illicit drug with serious effects that’s plaguing Argentina.


      Shortly after that on March 5, Shafer discovered another instance where Barrionuevo plagiarized.


      “A second case of plagiarism by Barrionuevo has come to my attention,” Shafer wrote. “On July 15, 2005, Bloomberg News moved a story about the United States lifting "mad cow" import restrictions on Canadian cattle. On July 16, 2005, the Times ran a very similar story, also pegged to a conference call with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.”


      Shafer outlined the four times throughout Barrionuevo’s story where he echoed a July 15, 2005 Bloomberg News report. Shafer also pointed out the Times position on plagiarism.


      “Staff members or outside contributors who plagiarize betray our fundamental pact with our public. … We will not tolerate such behavior,” Shafer wrote. Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson sent an e-mail to Shafer saying: the “transgression does not seem to be as serious as the first instance on paco.”