Well, that didn’t take long. The New York Times, often criticized (or lauded, as the case may be) for its liberal bias, has fired Jill Abramson, its first-ever female Executive Editor, after only three short years.
And why did the New York Times fire her? Apparently, she was “pushy.” Whatever that means. I was under the impression that “pushiness” was a desirable trait in a newspaper man, er, woman. Apparently not in this case.
The problem was that Abramson wasn’t just pushy about getting stories. She was also pushy with her superiors … about money. Especially contentious was the fact that she wanted a pay raise in order to make her compensation commensurate with the former male general editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller.
And that really puts an interesting spin on the situation:
Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said that Jill Abramson’s total compensation as executive editor “was directly comparable to [former executive editor] Bill Keller’s”—though it was not actually the same.
Hmmm. What exactly does “exactly comparable” mean, anyway? And good job hiring a woman as your spokesperson for this announcement, New York Times. That softens the blow just a little bit. And on top of that, it was a veritable master stroke of PR management to replace Jill Abramson with a black man, Dean Baquet. It would be terrible, of course, if he were just a man. But at least he’s black.
The real issue here is that the New York Times probably made more of a financial decision than a political one. It’s likely that they’re suffering, along with all print media, in a digital world, and paying an executive editor more just doesn’t make much sense in that scenario.
But isn’t it interesting how, even for a liberal paper, economics ultimately trumps political correctness—when it’s not someone else’s money you’re spending, that is.