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The Times and the War on Women

The Times and the War on Women

Or rather, on this woman:

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was abruptly fired from the paper Wednesday, sources familiar with the news informed POLITICO.

Managing editor Dean Baquet will take over as executive editor, effective immediately…

“I choose to appoint a new leader for our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom,” Sulzberger said. “This is not about any disagreement between the newsroom and the business side.”…

Throughout her tenure, Abramson suffered from perceptions among staff that she was condescending and combative…

The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reported that Sulzberger had grown frustrated with Abramson after she pushed for more pay upon learning that her salary was significantly lower than that of her male predecessors.

Abramson apparently alienated some of those with jobs above her and below her. The key figure above her appears to have been Sulzberger. Among the ones positioned below her was the man who has ended up replacing her, Dean Baquet, an African-American who is reported to have been well-liked at the Times and in his previous job.

The Abramson firing has caused a big brouhaha and engendered many articles and much blog commentary. But perhaps the most informative is a piece that appeared in New York Magazine. It describes a situation in which Sulzberger never wanted Abramson anyway and gave her the job reluctantly at the outset, only to become more annoyed by her. Much of his annoyance seems to have stemmed from her bluntness in telling some people (one of them being Baquet, whom Sulzberger seemed quite tight with) that they weren’t doing their jobs all that well:

“Her relationship with Dean [Baquet] was never ideal,” a senior staffer said. The complicated relationship spilled into public when Politico published a controversial piece last April that detailed Baquet punching a wall in frustration after one encounter with Abramson — an outburst instigated by some front-page stories Baquet had approved, which Abramson critiqued with one word: “boring.”

The popular Baquet let it be known that he just might be leaving the Times for a more pleasant job elsewhere, and Sulzberger was loathe to lose a man he liked and felt he could work well with, as well as a member of a favored minority (black) which trumped even Abramson’s favored minority (female). Baquet seems to have played his cards exceedingly well.

Why care about the Times? After all, it’s an oft-lying servant of the Democratic Party and the left, and has been for quite some time. It’s also not doing so well financially. So this action is more or less the equivalent of arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nevertheless the Times is still highly influential in shaping the opinions of vast numbers of people, and so what happens there still matters.

The Times’ hypocrisy is also hardly news. But here’s a particularly interesting example of it:

After a prolonged search in which the Times was without a CEO, casting an uncomfortable spotlight on Sulzberger, he finally chose former BBC director general Mark Thompson. After Thompson had been hired for the job but before he’d started, Abramson sent Matthew Purdy, a hard-charging investigative reporter, to London to examine Thompson’s role in the Jimmy Savile scandal at the BBC. Abramson’s relationship with the two executives never recovered. “Mark Thompson was fucking pissed,” a source explained. “He was really angry with the Purdy stuff.” So was Sulzberger. “He was livid, in a very passive-aggressive way. These were a set of headaches Jill had created for Arthur.”

In other words, Abramson did her job—if her job is supposed to be investigating important stories. If her job is supposed to be covering up for the Times and making all its decisions look good, and kissing the posterior of all the higher-ups there, then Abramson failed, big time.

This is unintentionally funny:

In his remarks, Sulzberger stressed that the shakeup was in no way a reflection of the Times’ editorial quality.

“It is not about the quality of our journalism, which in my mind has never been better,” he said. “Jill did an outstanding job in preserving and extending the level of excellence of our news report during her time as executive editor and, before that, as managing editor and Washington bureau chief. She’s an accomplished journalist who contributed mightily to our reputation as the world’s most important news provider.”

So it comes down to the fact that Abramson couldn’t get along with the rest of the guys, and they didn’t like her style. Which of course is their prerogative. Even Sulzberger doesn’t seem to be pretending otherwise.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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DINORightMarie | May 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

From what I’ve read about this, which is definitely biased on most sides, she was a meanie who made people work. And she didn’t take the word of others about people when they claimed innocence in a possibly criminal, very scandalous, potential news story.

#BanBossy #WarOnWomen

NYT, heal thyself. It starts with YOU.

So the ”white privilege” dude moved the “black privilege” dude into a position held recently by a female who, in Sulzberger’s words “ did an “outstanding job in preserving and extending the level of excellence of our news report during her time as executive editor?’

Hmmmm. “Boy’s club” membership has its privileges.
There is nothing new under the sun or the NYTimes.

rorschach256 | May 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was the fact she involved a lawyer to inquire about the pay inequity from the beginning. that implies she was not only willing but looking forward to a EEOC lawsuit. I realize this site is run by and frequented by lawyers, but from an employer’s point of view continuing to employ someone itching for a lawsuit against you is a recipe for disaster. Lawyers and lawsuits should be a LAST RESORT. And where employment is concerned, quitting and getting a different job is above that on the options list.

I’m having trouble getting excited about this. It seems to be nothing more than the Clash of the Entitlements. Abramson is entitled to the same salary as somebody else, because, well, that part’s not clear. And Baquet is entitled to the job because, well, that part’s not clear either. But Sulzberger isn’t entitled to have anything to say about it because, well, maybe because it’s only his money they’re wasting.

The only thing noteworthy about it all is that Sulzberger seems to be hemmed in – apparently it’s important that the Executive Editor be a person with the Affirmative Action seal of approval. But only a decade ago, that wasn’t so. In 2003, Howell Rains was Exec Editor, and I can’t see that he had any Entitlement qualifications at all.

“Sulzberger had grown frustrated with Abramson after she pushed for more pay upon learning that her salary was significantly lower than that of her male predecessors”

Just how much is her pay? Is it safe to assume that her salary was still significantly higher than the male subordinates on her staff?

Let this be a case study of Leftist greed and hypocrisy.

While I appreciate the irony of the left having their pants pulled down, I’m no fan of workplace bullies with position power and ZILCH in leadership skills.

I say let the invisible hand do its thing. If she has chops, she will land on her feet. If she’s a bully who has finally got what has long been coming to her, don’t get your spanks caught on the door jam on the way out.

Henry Hawkins | May 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

A large company has changed out a top leadership position, a very common event in business. But look at how it works at a dedicatedly liberal company like the NYT – everything is tangled up in identity politics of gender and race and questions of ‘fairness’, and all of it devolves from rampant political correctness. No wonder such a business is fast going broke.

Didn’t we see ‘this movie’ a few weeks ago when there was some theater prep for a Hilliary Clinton Presidential campaign ?

Isn’t this the Editor who stated that “The Obama Administration is the most secretive White House she ever covered” or something like that?

I say that statement is more than a enough to try to find a way to get rid of her! And she provided the perfect opportunity when she started playing the “War on Women” game against the very people promoting the Democratic agenda!

Too good a journalist for the Times? That seems like a fairly large pool. She certainly does seem to be good at her job and got fired for it.

She should look for a job at Fox. She sure wouldn’t be the only top notch liberal there.

She was marginally qualified at best for the managing editor position, surely not at all for executive editor. Abe Rosenthal was the executive editor. Abramson might be qualified to have been Abe’s secretary. If she could put a lid on the attitude.

“It’s also not doing so well financially.”

Talk about understatement! Just before Mexican telephone monopolist billionaire Carlos Slim began to bail them out with loans and stock purchases a few years back, NYT was a serious takeover target. The value of all its stock was less than the value of its prime NYC real estate, vehicles, equipment, and other assets if sold separately.

Think about this: if a newspaper company’s value as a newspaper, the market valuation, is less than the value of its assets sold separately, that means the existence of the newspaper actually DECREASED the value of the assets to the marketplace. NYT as a newspaper was less than worthless.

And still is, sans Señor Slim.

Hmmm…hadn’t read anything about Baquet being well-liked, just about him punching the wall. It appears that Baquet may be much liked by Sulzberger, but there hasn’t been anything in the press about his leadership skills or how popular he is with the rank and file staff.

“In other words, Abramson did her job — if her job is supposed to be investigating important stories. If her job is supposed to be covering up for the Times and making all its decisions look good, and kissing the posterior of all the higher-ups there, then Abramson failed, big time.”

I think you may just have identified why it is Basquiet is so ‘well-liked’….