Following recent objections by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman concerning a Business Insider article accusing his celebrity academic wife, Neri Oxman, of academic plagiarism, Axel Springer, Business Insider parent, is reportedly reviewing the process and motivations behind the article.
Bill Ackman is behind the Pershing Square Capital Management Fund PSHZF.
This move contrasts Axel Springer’s historical hands-off approach to editorial control since acquiring Business Insider nine years ago.
Through a series of posts, Bill Ackman expressed concerns to a BI director, urging the retraction of the article pending an investigation, alleging that the reporting might be influenced by anti-Zionism, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Axel Springer’s involvement in the review has startled BI staffers across different levels, believing the parent company’s intervention wasn’t warranted.
The outlet’s union also expressed disappointment publicly, defending the journalists’ integrity.
This scenario presents a challenge for Axel Springer, a German media group expanding its presence in the U.S. by acquiring outlets like Politico.
BI has faced legal challenges before, notably a defamation lawsuit by Barstool’s Dave Portnoy, which was ultimately dismissed.
The recent reporting on Oxman’s alleged plagiarism began with claims about improper citations, followed by accusations related to her MIT doctoral dissertation.
Ackman attributed the BI report to retaliation for criticizing Harvard University’s handling of certain issues, the WSJ report noted.
He highlighted BI’s alleged rush in seeking comments and speculated about their motives, which drew concern from Axel Springer’s top executives due to implications regarding the company’s principles.
Axel Springer’s decision to review the process and the ensuing tensions within BI’s newsroom highlight the delicate balance between editorial independence and corporate oversight.
Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.
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