Eleanor Clift of The Daily Beast profiled former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, and suggested she’s best known for asserting “the Obama administration is the most secretive of any she has covered, and in 22 years in Washington, that covers a lot of White Houses. She got plenty of grief from President Obama’s top aides in the aftermath, and while other journalists made the same observation, Abramson’s words carried weight, coming as they did from the prestigious newspaper’s first female top editor.”
Clift added “Two months after leaving the Times, in case anyone is wondering, she isn’t backing down from that assertion, but backing it up with concrete examples and inside anecdotes."
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I pointed to the track record of Dean Baquet, who has ascended to the hallowed perch of executive editor at the New York Times, and observed that "someone who has clearly been a troubling and disruptive presence is now in charge."
Two incidents spanning seven years support my contention. The first occurred in 2006 at the Los Angeles Times, where Baquet, then that paper's editor, petulantly refused to make budget cuts the paper's Tribune Company parent demanded, took his complaints public in the paper itself, metaphorically barricaded himself in his office, and dared the Trib to fire him (they did, two months later). The second occurred in April of last year, when Baquet, now at the New York Times, got into an argument with now deposed Executive Editor Jill Abramson, "burst out of Abramson’s office, slammed his hand against a wall ... stormed out of the newsroom ... (and was) gone for the rest of the day." Now we learn from David Carr at the Old Gray Lady itself that, in essence, Baquet did an "it's her or me" number on Abramson (HT Ann Althouse) to grease the skids for her firing.
Appearing as a guest on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative publication the Weekly Standard, mocked liberals’ outrage over the firing of Jill Abramson as editor of The New York Times.
Speaking on Sunday, May 18, Kristol remarked that liberals should be angry at one person, Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times: “Who is the they that's treating them [women] that way? Arthur Sulzberger. Mr. liberal, Mr. Democrat, Mr. political correctness.” [See video below.]
Via Mediaite, we learned New York Times publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. issued a new statement Saturday on the controversy over the dumping of executive editor Jill Abramson. He said the issue wasn’t pay, but Abramson’s management style causing a loss of “the support of her masthead colleagues.”
“Equal pay for women is an important issue in our country — one that The New York Times often covers,” Mr. Sulzberger wrote. “But it doesn’t help to advance the goal of pay equality to cite the case of a female executive whose compensation was not in fact unequal.”
Although NewsBusters has documented The New York Times’s commitment to pushing a liberal agenda for years, it took a discrimination scandal inside the paper itself for the MSNBC network to air a liberal journalist admitting what everyone already knows but liberals are loath to confess: The Times has a left-of-center tilt, despite its dogged persistence in claiming to be objective.
On the May 15 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, former Times reporter Leslie Bennetts, author of the The Feminine Mistake, expressed her outrage at the allegation of wage discrimination among Times executives coming to light as a result of the sudden sacking of executive editor Jill Abramson. [see video below]
Is “The Gray Lady” that way because the sexist owners of The New York Times won’t pay her enough for a proper dye job? This and other delightfully schadenfreude-alicious questions are worth pondering now that the paper has “unexpectedly” fired executive editor Jill Abramson on May 14.
Abramson stepped into that role on September 2011, becoming the first female executive edtior at the Times, according to AdWeek. And according to several reports at least part of the reason was because she made a fuss about being paid less than her predecessor.
Jill Abramson of the New York Times denied that her newspaper has a liberal bias during a Monday interview with Marlo Thomas of Huffington Post. Abramson asserted that the Times "reflects a very cosmopolitan, inclusive outlook, which can strike some readers as liberal," and later claimed that "the news pages are not ideological."
The executive editor zeroed in on the issue of gun control as her example of how the New York Times is supposedly balanced: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Thursday was a busy time for White House press secretary Jay Carney. First, he claimed that the toughest interview president Barack Obama had in 2012 was moderated by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, he later stated that “there has never been a more transparent administration,” a situation that “creates headaches for us and ridiculous stories on Fox News.”
It didn't take long for Greta van Susteren, host of that channel's weeknight On the Record program, to come out swinging and post a message asking: ”White House delusional? Obsessed with Fox News Channel? Thinks we are the only ones that spotted this BS?”
Every Obama fan wanted on the guest list of the state dinner for French president Francois Hollande. So it was an extra-special favor for media figures to get the invite.
On the president’s very exclusive guest list Tuesday night: Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC, fake-conservative Stephen Colbert, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, and two White House correspondents: AP's Julie Pace, and Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman. That wasn’t all.
In an interview set to air Sunday on al-Jazeera America, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson told the Arab network’s John Seigenthaler than the Obama adminisistration “is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush's first term.”
She complained “The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It's on a scale never seen before.” She also denied the Times had much of a liberal bias, but perhaps it had an important “cosmopolitan” tilt that needs to be shared:
CBS This Morning brought on New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson on Friday with all the honors, with Charlie Rose lauding her for leading her paper to four Pulitzer Prizes this year as “the first female” in the top job, and asking her how she’d put an “Abramson imprint” on the paper. But the interesting part came later.
Abramson agreed with her reporter David Sanger that the Obama administration is worse than the much-criticized Bush administration when it comes to cracking down on reporters seeking interviews with government sources. It was almost funny, as three different CBS hosts asked the question, like they could not accept the answer:
See no scandal, report no scandal. Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times, came down to DC on Sunday to defend President Obama on the scandals and the economy, stressing the leaks cases is the only supposed scandal she cares about as she contended “I’m just not sure” the leaks cases, IRS and Benghazi “come together and create, you know -- quote, unquote -- ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
An atmosphere the New York Times is working to prevent.
This looks like a perfect exhibit of intimidation combined with insufferable arrogance.
Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner reports that Democratic Party spokesperson Brad Woodhouse, apparently temporarily assuming the role of White House Press Secretary, is really upset that the New York Times refused to meet yesterday for an off-the-record discussion about Attorney General Eric Holder about recent revelations and admissions that the Justice Departmet has been conducting secret sureillance of reporters for several years (bold is mine):
Politico media reporter Dylan Byers stirred up media indignation with an unflattering article Tuesday on Jill Abramson, the New York Times executive editor, "Turbulence at the Times", based largely on anonymous Times sources who snipe that Abramson is detached, brusque, and a "very, very unpopular" presence in the newsroom.
One Monday morning in April, Jill Abramson called Dean Baquet into her office to complain. The executive editor of The New York Times was upset about the paper’s recent news coverage -- she felt it wasn’t “buzzy” enough, a source there said -- and placed blame on Baquet, her managing editor. A debate ensued, which gave way to an argument.
In a 1,700-word report on conflict and office politics at the New York Times, the Politico's Dylan Byers omitted critical context about the apparent personality clash between Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor, and Dean Baquet, its managing editor.
Byers could have remedied the situation by including these seven words at an appropriate point: "Baquet, who has a history of insubordination ..." This history is not a secret, as illustrated in the following writeup at the (I'm not kidding) New York Times in September 2006 (bolds are mine):
The shocking developments in the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) raise disturbing questions about Mark Thompson, the former BBC director general who was named the new president and CEO of The New York Times Company in August. Given what has come to light thus far, Thompson is at the very least "guilty of gross professional incompetence" and at worst involved in "an indefensible cover-up," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell charged in letters sent yesterday to New York Times publisher Jill Abramson executive editor Jill Abramson and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
"If you did conduct a background investigation during the hiring process, what were your findings? If you knew about Mr. Savile’s alleged crimes while Mr. Thompson was director general, why did you decide to go ahead and hire him anyway?" Bozell inquired in the letters, which he is making public today, "because the public deserves to know the truth." "I want to give you the benefit of the doubt in this matter, and therefore the opportunity to respond," the Media Research Center founder added, concluding, "Your response will be reproduced in full." [You can find the Sulzberger letter pasted below and the nearly-identical Abramson letter is linked here ]
New York Times reporters Mark Landler and John Cushman Jr. covered President Obama's plea to women's voters disguised as a commencement address at Barnard College, a woman's college in Manhattan: "In Graduation Speech to Women, Obama Leaps Into Gender Gap." What the paper failed to bring up was that according to its own polling, the female "gender gap" is currently Obama's problem, not Mitt Romney's.
New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena wrote Tuesday about the low-brow fight that's broken out online between high-brow Columbia University and the women's college it's affiliated with, Barnard, over President Obama's politically motivated decision to speak at Barnard's commencement in May. Another wrinkle: Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson was the original graduation speaker at the women's school, but was bumped when Obama big-footed the invitation.
Occupy the New York Times! In January Times Watch noted that Times staffers who were members of the Newspaper Guild of New York were protesting the New York Times Co. for freezing pensions for some employees, even as it granted a $15 million golden parachute to former chief executive Janet Robinson after she departed in 2011. An open letter to Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has so far been signed by 592 Times staffers. (Photo courtesy of New York Post.)
Just don’t expect this particular battle between the “1 Percent and the 99 Percent” to appear in a sanctimonious liberal news report in the Times.
New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane devoted his Sunday Review column on the future of the paper's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement (it ran before Mayor Mike Bloomberg ousted the OWSers from Zuccotti Park). Brisbane also quoted Executive Editor Jill Abramson sounding sympathetic to Occupy’s goals, promising to produce more stories on the group’s signature cause of income inequality.
Jill Abramson, the paper’s new executive editor, talked with the Times’s public editor Arthur Brisbane on Sunday, and touched on the paper’s perceived liberal slant. Abramson didn't quite deny it.
Brisbane: The legendary Times executive editor A. M. Rosenthal once told a colleague he felt the need to steer The Times to the right to compensate for the leftward political leanings of some staff. Will you do that?
"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." – Managing editor Jill Abramson as quoted by Times media reporter Jeremy Peters upon her ascension to the executive editor slot, replacing Bill Keller, in a story posted at nytimes.com the morning of June 2. The quote disappeared later that day and did not make it into the next day’s print edition.
David Mamet, Far-Right Playwright
"David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right." – Subhead introducing Andrew Goldman’s May 29 interview with playwright David Mamet in the Times Sunday magazine.
Ominousspeculation from Women’s Wear Daily (which has robust media reporting) about the management style of Jill Abramson, the New York Times’s executive editor in waiting -- she reminds one anonymous senior editor of the notorious Howell Raines!
Abramson also told an interviewer for The Guardian she was most proud of providing a "sceptical take on the motivations of" Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton. And could liberal feminist columnist and Abramson friend Maureen Dowd become the next Washington bureau chief?
Some time on Thursday, the New York Times scrubbed a very telling quote from its website. "In my house growing up," said the paper's new executive editor, Jill Abramson, "The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."
Well isn't that nice. The paper's new head honcho was indoctrinated in Times-ology from childhood. When someone says they read the paper "religiously," we tend to think of it as a figure of speech. No so for Abramson. The paper was apparently her veritable scripture.
Does she still feel that way? Well, since being tapped for chief editor, Abramson said it was like "ascending to Valhalla."
Liberal replaces liberal at the top of the New York Times masthead. The paper announced today that Jill Abramson would become the Times’ new executive editor as of September 6, replacing Bill Keller, whose liberal record at the paper Times Watch documented earlier.
Abramson likened the paper to holy writ, telling the Times's Jeremy Peters this morning that being named editor was like "ascending to Valhalla":
"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion," she said. "If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."
Abramson’s bias goes back to her days as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Commenting on Bill Clinton’s upcoming inauguration on C-SPAN's Journalists' Roundtable program of January 8, 1993, she enthused:
In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.
Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."
Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, in a piece aired on Thursday's Today about Virginia Thomas' call to Anita Hill, made a point of tying the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to "conservative causes" but offered no ideological label for Hill. Mitchell also offered two sound bites from Hill supporters, but only featured a brief clip of an old audio-book excerpt from Clarence Thomas expressing sympathy for his wife.
After the NBC correspondent noted that Hill and her "allies" claimed Thomas' request for an apology was "inappropriate" Mitchell aired Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree calling Thomas' behavior "bizarre." Mitchell also featured Jill Abramson, the New York Times reporter and author of the Clarence Thomas bashing book, Strange Justice, questioning the timing of the Supreme Court justice spouse.
Mitchell did play a clip of Clarence Thomas reading from his book My Grandfather's Son, in which the Justice relayed how the two "shared the pain" during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings, but then went on to bemoan that this new controversy "interrupted the secluded life Hill now leads at Brandeis University."
It's clear that the Times hates the idea that corporations may have a say, however indirectly, in democracy. But one would at least think that a journalist comparing the perfectly legal corporation donation tactics of today to illegal fundraising by past political campaigns would look for the most recent examples. Perhaps the Clinton administration’s corrupt 1996 fundraising from China, or the indelible image of Al Gore raising money in a Buddhist temple.
Instead, Abramson traveled all the way back to 1972 to link the anonymous corporate donations of 2010 to that quintessential example of Republican corruption, Richard Nixon.
Even as Abramson briefly admits today’s allegedly Nixon-style fundraising is legal, she strained to set up a parallel between this pro-Republican election cycle and the illegal donations of 1972, specifically the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CREEP), and handily exploited a single loose link from the past to the present, one Fred Malek. Abramson began with Nixon:
To old political hands, wise to the ways of candidates and money, 1972 was a watershed year. Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign was awash in cash, secretly donated by corporations and individuals.
Appearing on the September 28 "Fox & Friends," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher mocked the New York Times's admission that it was "slow off the mark" in reporting on the recent ACORN prostitution sting video scandal (audio available here):
It's just like [ABC's] Charlie Gibson days after the fact saying in an interview that he has no idea what ACORN is all about, that he was out yachting. These people just don't get it. When we say that they live in their little world somewhere between the corridors of Washington, D.C., and New York City, it's true.... When they see the real world, they see it through the lens of those right-wing zealots up to no good on Fox television.
"Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Bozell how the Times, which most certainly monitors cable news networks for breaking news, "how could they not be aware of those undercover videos?" Bozell answered: