Jill Abramson, the first woman editor of the New York Times, fired abruptly, with no official reason given — and the unofficial reasons leaked fast and furious for the rest of the evening to friendly reporters at Politico, each more petty and smaller-seeming than the last?
There must be a back story there indeed. Pulitzers all around, Howard Kurtz!
Now, we know Jill Abramson wasn’t terminated for having her lawyer approach Times execs about the pay gap she’d discovered — a significant (and since seemingly rectified) chasm between her pay and that of her predecessor, Bill Keller. After all, the Times spokesman explained that her pay was simultaneously not less than, not “meaningfully” less than, and directly comparable to his. (The spokesman did not address The New Yorker’s assertion that as managing editor, she was also paid less than her deputy.) We know it is not those things because the Times says so, and that is good enough for us. Instead it is things like “she went on panels without asking her boss first,” and “she tried to hire someone, which made her male subordinate mad,” and (this is a favorite, as Jill Abramson is universally acknowledged to be like “lol so lazy I don’t even care about standards at all”) “she liked having the title more than the job” and another one, “LOOK OVER THERE!”
NPR’s David Folkenflik has splainered it nicely for you, and the good folks at Vox have “curated” it here.
The person who probably comes off smelling the very rosiest is New York Times Co. chief executive Mark Thompson, who seems like a really great guy and super not shady in the least. Next best-smelling is Sulzberger himself, who definitely does not seem like a banty little rooster Napoleon shithead who’d sooner fire an excellent colleague than have someone confront him or have his (possibly illegal!) actions questioned.
If you haven’t read the long New Yorker profile (first link above) of Abramson, do. One of its many (many) interesting asides is that Abramson, for all her “brusqueness,” promoted people who were the best for the job even if they personally clashed.
But you know, Jill Abramson was a pushy harpy shrill mean bossy superbitch, so don’t let the door hit you in the ass.