Sunday, May 18, 2014

Arthur Sulzberger Has His Say

I would like to think that this is the last word about the firing of Jill Abramson as Executive Editor of The New York Times, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

As Abramson wished, her firing has become a public drama. Yesterday, publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger explained his decision. He fired Abramson because she was doing a lousy job. Incompetence, not gender did in the first woman editor of the Times:

I decided that Jill could no longer remain as executive editor for reasons having nothing to do with pay or gender. As publisher, my paramount duty is to ensure the continued quality and success of The New York Times. Jill is an outstanding journalist and editor, but with great regret, I concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out.

During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues. I discussed these issues with Jill herself several times and warned her that, unless they were addressed, she risked losing the trust of both masthead and newsroom. She acknowledged that there were issues and agreed to try to overcome them. We all wanted her to succeed. It became clear, however, that the gap was too big to bridge and ultimately I concluded that she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back.

Being a journalist and editor is not the same as managing a newsroom. Perhaps Abramson’s inadequacies did not appear until she took over the leading editorial job at the Times.

And yet, competent chief executive—that would not be Pinch Sulzberger—should know enough about the people he employs to make good hiring decisions.

As always, the buck stops at Pinch.


Anonymous said...


Trey Gowdy


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Amazing... thanks for the link.

Sam L. said...

"As always, the buck stops at Pinch."

Annnnnnnd, he waves it off!

Anonymous said...

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. must be the least sympathetic media character I can think of. This man has been at the helm of the New York Times' accelerated decline into madness since 1992. I hope his PR nightmare goes on for a very, very long time.


Dennis said...

I cannot help but see the humor in all of this kerfuffle at the NYTimes. Here one has a woman who tried to destroy an "angry" black man, Clarence Thomas, having a black man ultimately helping to destroying an "angry" white woman. There seems to be a bit of poetic justice at work here.
If enjoying women in the nude is pornographic then much of the art in most museums is at risk for being the same thing. I have to admit I just love the way life comes back and hoists us on our own petards.
A little history will denote that this is humorous at so many different levels. An owner calling everyone a sexist being accused of being a sexist. You name the issue. Just a little time looking at the hypocrisies that are the part and parcel of the NYTimes is enough to keep a good comedian in material for quite some time.
Suffice it to say that I cannot stifle a giggle when I look at the NYTimes and the far left "betters" of which the Times is a wonderful example try to extricate themselves.

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

I forgot to add the above mentioned video of October 2013 from Trey Gowdy is just another example of the NYTimes hypocrisy. Quite a bit of time has passed and the NYTimes, and most "media" outlets, have yet to answer one of the questions asked. Where were you Jill if you truly were an executive editor? It would seem that maybe there was some incompetence there though I doubt that Sulzberger would have allowed it to appear in the NYTimes. One cannot help from laughing every time one mentions the "paper of record."

Anonymous said...

Good point, Dennis. When the "paper of record" is mentioned, will we hear the chorus of Lefty reporters chant monotonously back? Can't you hear it now? Something like, "The New York Times is not the paper of record. The New York Times is SEXIST! The 'paper of record' cannot be sexist." (Repeat, on every show and interview)

Ultimately, we are being asked to take Sulzberger at his word and his track record as a businessman. I shall afford him neither courtesy nor any other privileges. Such things are earned. Sulzberger has demonstrated time and again that his organization's journalistic integrity is not above board, and the economic fortunes of the "paper of record" have declined precipitously, and had done so well before the bottom fell out on newspaper advertising in 2006.

Abramson may not be a heroine, but Sulzberger is a villain. I for one am happy he is getting his comeuppance, and delight in the media coverage. Perhaps the scrutiny will go beyond equal pay and unjust termination -- to the horrid slant in reportage, as flagged several times by the NYT's own ombudsman. The British papers seem to be doing a better job covering American politics and global news than the NYT. Their editorial page is both a farce and a disgrace. They've held their noses so high for so long, I'm sure the sharks are circling. I hope some media organization does a deep, penetrating news piece on the depth of this rot.

That, and the bar for "incompetence" has reached a new standard in the past five years. What makes Abramson incompetent? After all, she's a woman who is head of a mighty news organization. She is a symbol of the aspirations of so many. She promised "hope and change." Doing anything, even speaking negatively about her, is sexist and bigoted. The New York Times has actively aided and abetted such non-thinking in the Age of the Obamatrons. I'd say they're fair game for the same level of "scrutiny" as they have dispensed.

I'd love to see a question like this: "Mr. Sulzberger, you're on the record saying Jill Abramson could 'no longer remain as executive editor for reasons having nothing to do with pay or gender.' Isn't that what all sexist chauvinists say? Defend yourself."

Followed up by: "Mr. Sulzberger, were you not also on watch as the New York Times' Publisher during the time of Jayson Blair's antics? It seems your corporate culture has a rather destructive take on affirmative action. Defend yourself."

Absolutely delicious journalism, if we had a truly vibrant Fourth Estate that spread it's filth equally. Alas, we do not. Sulzberger is not a Republican. Could you IMAGINE what this story would be like if it was Roger Ailes?

By the way, has anyone heard from NOW? I did a google search and found one (yes, one) citation from a MSNBC piece from 17 hours ago quoting Terry O'Neill, NOW's president. I clicked it, and the page said "you are not authorized to read this page." Indeed. Where, oh where, is the mass furor over this grave injustice??? Where are the rent-a-mobs? Where are the congressional hearings? Why is our national conscience, Harry Reid, not in the well of the Senate blaming the Koch brothers for this outrage?