‘Every single word they said was from my book’: WBUR host apologizes after men interviewed never credited female author
A recent WBUR segment on the history of tobacco regulation drew an online backlash for failing to credit the author of a forthcoming book on the topic, prompting the show’s cohost to apologize.
Jeremy Hobson, who hosts the syndicated radio program “Here & Now” with Robin Young, apologized after two guests appeared on the show last week and discussed material from “The Cigarette: A Political History,” a forthcoming book by University of Virginia historian Sarah Milov.
In a Twitter post Monday, Hobson said historians Nathan Daniel Beau Connolly and Edward L. Ayers, two hosts of the American history podcast “BackStory,” should have cited Milov.
In a statement Monday, Milov said she looked forward to appearing on WBUR.
“I’m glad to have a conversation with the folks at BackStory, and that this incident has resulted in a broader discussion of historians citing one another and engaging with the public,” Milov said. “I just saw Jeremy Hobson’s tweets and I look forward to speaking with him about my book when it comes out this fall.”
Milov had told The Lily, a publication of the Washington Post, that Connolly and Ayers relied on her book for virtually everything they said on the segment.
“Every single word they said was from my book,” she told the publication, noting that Connolly and Ayers didn’t quote directly from the book but referenced its facts. “Then I got to the end of a nearly 10-minute segment and did not hear myself credited at all.”
“BackStory” posted an apology on Friday.
“On this week’s Here & Now, Ed and Nathan used the work of Sarah Milov (@allofmilov) for the segment ‘America’s Complex History With Tobacco, From ‘The Marlboro Man’ To E-Cigarettes.’ However, neither Sarah’s name nor book were mentioned. We regret the omission,” BackStory wrote on Twitter.
“BackStory” also noted that Milov’s book, which comes out in October, was provided to Connolly and Ayers before the show.
“We appreciate that Sarah and her publisher made it available to us. . . . We want to be sure that BackStory always gives credit when it’s due. We are developing a more formal code of conduct and will make it available when it’s complete.”
While the BackStory hosts did not credit Milov by name during the segment, Connolly credited her Friday when he tweeted out a link to the WBUR interview.
“It took substantial government support to create Americans’ dependency on tobacco,” Connolly wrote before the WBUR segment aired. “@edward_l_ayers and I talk with @jeremyhobson about the regulation of tobacco on this week’s @hereandnow. (Shout out to @allofmilov and Nan Enstad for this history!)”
That link now sends readers to an update from WBUR.
“Sarah Milov, assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia and author of the forthcoming book, ‘The Cigarette: A Political History,’ provided extensive research material for historians Ed Ayers and Nathan Connolly,” the station wrote.
Kristen Holgerson, a WBUR spokeswoman, said that “as soon as we learned that historian Sarah Milov wasn’t given her due credit, we worked to remedy the situation.”
“The correction was made to the segment online,” she said in a statement. “In addition, we’re reviewing our editorial process, as accurate reporting is always a top priority at WBUR.”