Ed Driscoll

Quotes of the Day, Gray Lady Down Edition

Subsequent investigations by British authorities uncovered hundreds of teens, both girls and boys, that were sexually abused and exploited over the decades by [Jimmy] Savile and a handful of other BBC employees. It was a scandal that shocked the country.

It was also discovered that several officials at the BBC assisted Savile in his actions, some of which occurred in BBC facilities, perhaps with the knowledge of BBC executives.

As it happens, during the last seven years that Savile worked with the BBC–he died in 2011–Mark Thompson was the director of the government-owned broadcasting agency. And during his tenure, critics charge that Thompson quashed internal investigations into the mounting charges of Savile’s sex abuse.

By 2012 when Thompson was making ready to quit the BBC to cross the ocean and become The New York Times’ CEO, he swore to the paper’s board of directors that he had no prior knowledge of Savile’s crimes, nor did he do anything to cover it up to keep it from the British public.

But, apparently, Abramson didn’t take that claim for granted and sent Matthew Purdy, a tough investigative reporter, to Britain to verify Thompson’s claims. According to New York magazine, “Mark Thompson was f***ing pissed. He was really angry with the Purdy stuff.”

The magazine went on to say that Thompson “was livid, in a very passive-aggressive way. These were a set of headaches Jill had created for Arthur (Sulzberger).”

“NYT’s First Female Executive Editor Fired in Part for Investigating Paper’s CEO?”, Warner Todd Huston, Big Journalism.

•The Times is in trouble. If the business were a booming success, this would not have happened. But the paper is struggling to adapt to a changing media environment. Money for things other than severance packages for high-ranking women executives who can’t get along with Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (see the case of Janet Robinson) is tight. So perceived management faults are magnified more than they would be in a growing business with plenty of money to paper over minor grievances.

•Never mistake your job for your religion. Jill Abramson told the Times for the article announcing her promotion: “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion.” She reportedly got a tattoo of the stylized “T” in the Times newspaper banner. Enthusiasm and loyalty for the company you work for is great, but unless you or your family own it and aren’t going to sell it, you probably want to think very carefully before you worship it or make it a core part of your identity.

“Jill Abramson,” Smartertimes.com.

The mascot-type thinking at work in the Times story — Ms. Abramson is not an editor but a female editor, Mr. Baquet is not an editor but a black editor — is distasteful, but typical of the way the business operates. Newspapers are managed by a collection of overly emotional people from the newsroom, business-school types who neither know nor care how newspapers actually work, and a fair number of gentlemen who inherited the business from their fathers. Mr. Baquet is a highly regarded reporter, and a winner of the Pulitzer prize for investigative work, but he also served as the editor of the Los Angeles Times, which seems to me as much a disqualification as a qualification for advancement, given that he failed to stop that scandalously incompetent newspaper’s descent from mediocrity. Los Angeles is a fascinating city, but its newspaper reads like it belongs to a town of 100,000. (It does have lovely typography, though.) But to anybody who has followed his career, his ascent seems almost preordained. In either case, I wish him the best of luck.

We conservatives like to beat up on the New York Times, and it gives us many, many reasons to do so, not least its sanctimony, which is on unfortunate display during this episode. But cities and countries need newspapers, and we criticize the Times as much for what it fails to do as for the offenses it gives. I only wish that the paper were as excited about its intellectual standards as it is about the genital configuration of its editor.

“Sanctimonious Times: The Grey Lady gets her comeuppance,” by Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Online.

We’ve also just suffered through a goofy left-wing crusade to ban the word “bossy” from the English language because it’s supposedly a sexist slur.  But here’s the Times hierarchy, loaded with males, criticizing Abramson for being “pushy.”  Maybe she was, but that wouldn’t stop the Times from mummifying the executives of any other company in outraged editorials for daring to characterize an ousted female manager that way.  None of those heated editorials would have much patience for rational explanations of how the woman’s vision for the company disagreed with what the top brass wanted, or how her personal style seemed abrasive to those who worked under her.  They wouldn’t want to hear any noise about a general drive to scale back excessively generous compensation packages in tough times, either.

After enjoying a frothy mug of schadenfreude over the pickle the New York Times finds itself in, we might reflect that this is really a story about cloistered liberals growing up, and learning how their ideology is a poor fit for the real world, where complex situations cannot easily be reduced to cartoons about patriarchy, sexism, and racism.  Can you blame Abramson for wanting to be paid as much as her male predecessor?  Was it utterly unreasonable for the top brass at the New York Times to offer valid reasons why he was paid more, or to say that they needed to control payroll costs in a time of financial crisis?  Was it out of line for Abramson’s superiors to decide her abrasive manner was alienating the people beneath her, or that her plans for the newsroom were inconsistent with theirs?

“New York Times fires female editor for being bossy and demanding equal pay,” John Hayward, Human Events. 

Found via Twitchy, which quips that “The NYT is totally ‘pro-skirt’ … ‘now where’s my sammich?’”, this Photoshop sums up the distance between the Times’ holier-than-thou rhetoric and the real world the rest of us inhabit:

Headline inspired by Bill McGowan’s rather prescient 2010 book. For my interview back then with McGowan on the Times’ myriad — and mounting — woes, click here to listen:

Update: This makes for a rather nice Allahpundit-esque exit question:

Heh, indeed.™