Re: But It's A Very Pretty Glass Ceiling

1

I thought it was interesting the quality that Baquet chose to praise in Abramson, and the implicit contrast here with Carroll:

Mr. Baquet thanked Ms. Abramson, who was not present at the announcement, for teaching him "the value of great ambition" and then added that John Carroll, whom he worked for at The Los Angeles Times, "told me that great editors can also be humane editors."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:41 AM
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2

By "interesting" you mean "barely in code"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:51 AM
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3

She wanted more money and got scoped on the video of Jay Z getting slapped. What did she expect?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:52 AM
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"[S]coped"? What happened to getting pwned? Damn it I am not that old.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:58 AM
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5

I wonder if she's going to get her NYT tattoo removed now.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:08 AM
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+ o.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:09 AM
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She could go to the LA Times and meet a boy editor out there with a tattoo too. The future is wide open.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:11 AM
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8

Apparently, she was a martyr to the cause.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:16 AM
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9

Is she the woman whose voice is supposed to be really weird and annoying?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:20 AM
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10

Melanie Griffith?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:25 AM
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11

She can add more letters so it says "OTT" in the same script.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:28 AM
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12

2: Say what you will about those NYTers, they have a way with the language. A lesser wordsmith would have just called her a bitch.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:29 AM
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13

You know, her voice is weird and annoying. Objectively! I mean, I don't think this is pure sexism, whatever that would mean--there were similar stories about what a big jerk Howell Raines was, and Jayson Blair was his responsibility, but even he wasn't kicked to the curb in the middle of the day.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:33 AM
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Yeah, apparently Raines got a pretty respectful sendoff.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:42 AM
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I always suspected that Howell Raines knew where plenty of bodies were buried.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:44 AM
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12: exactly, my god the #1 word you think they'd avoid is "pushy".


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:49 AM
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16: I thought "bossy" was the term of art.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:51 AM
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18

"Slut" is a good word to avoid, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:52 AM
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19

On the other hand, it's never a bad idea to call a woman a bossy slut.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:55 AM
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20

What if she's really more of a cock-tease? I believe in speaking accurately.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 7:58 AM
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21

Has anyone else read Nan Robertson's book on women at the NYT and the eventual class action lawsuit? I finally got around to it last fall and learned a lot. Not sure the NYT had, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 8:06 AM
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Last thing all those shrinking 97 # weakling male journo editors could tolerate is a bossy boss!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 8:29 AM
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23

I misread 20 as cock-tosser, and would like somebody to explain to me what that is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 8:38 AM
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24

If you use the British slang definition, it's pretty clear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 8:41 AM
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25

I found Farhad Manjoo's take on this utterly unconvincing, since I don't believe male bosses should be assholes either. If a male boss is praised for being an asshole and a female boss is fired for it, where is the sexism problem -- the woman getting fired or the man being praised?

The glorification of the asshole boss is a sign of the general sadomasochism of American life, where we secretly identify with how the .1% gets to crap on everyone else. In most cases, most of the time, being an asshole is a sign of being a bad manager. Bosses occasionally have to bite the bullet and do unpleasant things that make people dislike them, but being nasty when it's unnecessary is a sign that you're indulging your personal sadism at the expense of the organization.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:02 AM
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The problem with thinking like that is that everyone's an asshole sometimes. Or not necessarily an asshole, but everyone has real, significant, flaws. It's exactly Bella Abzug's point about the male versus the female schmeiel: there will never, never be a world where flawed, annoying, mean, incompetent people aren't rewarded, because human beings are universally flawed, annoying, mean, and incompetent. So looking at differential treatment and saying that the problem is that the man was unjustly rewarded, rather than the woman was unjustly punished, is useless unless you have a pool of prelapsarian, flawless human beings to do all the work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:07 AM
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27

People don't have to be flawless. We actually don't know the level of flawed-ness of either of the two people Manjoo cites in his anecdotes, because we don't work with them. Obviously people could retail an anecdote or two that's an exception to their ordinary behavior and try to bring them down. All I'm saying is that 'not being an asshole' is a legitimate job requirement for a boss, and 'being an asshole' is a legitimate reason to fire them, regardless of gender.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:12 AM
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where is the sexism problem -- the woman getting fired or the man being praised?

Is this a serious question? I'm going to go with option 3: the differential treatment of the same behavior.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:13 AM
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26: relevant, ISTR someone noting in a previous thread that competent men were not significantly more likely to get promoted than competent women; the problem was that incompetent men got promoted all the time as well and incompetent women didn't. Not so much a Glass Ceiling as a Dopey Bint Gap.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:13 AM
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Well, right. All Manjoo was pointing out was that the same behavior was praised from a man and blamed from a woman. If you accept his facts, what's "utterly unconvincing"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:14 AM
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31

This is a distraction. The difference in interpretation is the sexism, regardless of whether one is being unjustly rewarded or punished.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:16 AM
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32

What's utterly unconvincing is that Tim Cook works for Apple and Jill Abramson works for the NY Times. If Apple is improperly accepting asshole behavior from a high-level manager, the NY Times is under no obligation to do the same just so people can feel that all U.S. corporations are gender-consistent in tolerating bad bosses.

To the extent that Manjoo is making a point about the sexism of how stuff is reported in the press, he's probably right there, but it doesn't say anything about whether the Times was right or wrong.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:19 AM
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25: I would love if the firing of Abramson started a new norm that asshole bosses should all be unceremoniously fired. I suspect what is more likely is that anyone who says so will soon be fired by his or her asshole boss.

Jarvis Cocker, using a technical term reserved for Knifecrimers, gets it exactly right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:25 AM
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32: If Apple is improperly accepting asshole behavior from a high-level manager, the NY Times is under no obligation to do the same just so people can feel that all U.S. corporations are gender-consistent in tolerating bad bosses.

No two situations are similar enough that they can usefully be compared. We can suspect that it is possible that sexism might sometimes be a factor in employment decisions, but really, there's no conceivable way to ever know, or even have a strong opinion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:29 AM
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35

34 is straw-manning. I was in fact positing that the two situations were similar (in that both people were being a jerk) but that similarity would lead to the conclusion that the Times did the right thing in firing Abramson. (Proviso as above that these are just anecdotes so who knows).

But what Manjoo is really talking about is the overall opinion/narrative climate about men and women, not whether the Times did the right thing. And he has a point there. So we can reach comity, here's a passage I agree with from This Guardian piece :

The issue is not what is going on in the New York Times newsroom, but how we choose to talk and write about it....What Politico did not cover was the sense that there is widespread and ingrained sexism in journalism, where a woman's character traits are central to a critique of she does the job. Men, who are equally awful in just as many ways, are judged more on output and success. At no point are we asked to stop and consider whether Abramson's abrasive attitude has actually led to the Times becoming a better newspaper, even though the subjective view suggests it has.

The piece ends by implying that nasty people may make better newspaper editors but I'm not sure I agree with that...the worst possible editors would be nice milquetoasts who can't give negative feedback, but being nice is not synonymous with that at all.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:41 AM
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36

Complain of differential treatment of assholes isn't the same thing as praising assholishness as a quality.

Also, it's not just an Apple/NYT distinction. Baquet is described as punching a wall during a contentious meeting with Abramson, and that's not taken as a strike against him.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:43 AM
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37

Right. The guy who punches the wall is the easy-going nice one who everyone wants to work for. I can even see how this could be true! But it speaks to a deep, underlying sexism in our culture. This is good on this point.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:48 AM
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38

I can't get drafted even by the Bills.


Posted by: Opinionated Straw Manning | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:49 AM
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39

35: I also think your reaction is weird, in that the particular matched story -- supervisor tells subordinate to do something and then says "why are you still here", implying that the subordinate should have left already to go do it -- is pretty weak sauce in terms of asshole behavior. Less than perfectly polite and conciliatory, but not a story I'd consider telling as evidence of what an asshole someone was unless it was part of a long string of worse behavior.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:50 AM
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40

I have a suspicion that what happened here is that Sulzberger didn't like Abramson, because she was a little pushy, and he's an idiot and sexist, and that he really wants to also appoint their first black executive editor, and was afraid that Baquet would leave for Bloomberg. So Sulzberger was double extra primed to can her, for whatever reason he could gin up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 9:52 AM
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41

using a technical term reserved for Knifecrimers

especially in the sexist-firing context.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:06 AM
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42

Abramson writes well, if this is anything to go by.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:13 AM
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43

Amanda Hess has a good piece in slate, except that the last para is wrong - what happened to JA proves that women whose achievements equal those of men are in fact rewarded less than men $$ wise and if they complain they are vulnerable to being fired.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:14 AM
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44

he's an idiot

I believe the canonical epithet is "soigné ditz".


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:28 AM
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45

44 - Why was Judith Miller infamous in 1992? Was she publishing Curveball agitprop back then, too?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:35 AM
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44 - Also, the soigné ditz in that story was Pinch's dad, Punch. (PS we are ruled by idiots.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:39 AM
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47

If a male boss is praised for being an asshole and a female boss is fired for it, where is the sexism problem -- the woman getting fired or the man being praised?

Howell Raines was such an asshole that he managed to intimidate his subordinates into knowingly publishing the ludicrously flawed work of Jayson Blair (among Raines's many other offenses). What exactly is the rap on Abramson?

Pretty much every boss on the planet is going to be derided as an asshole by someone, so there's no content to those accusations at all. And all we've got regarding Abramson is insults - not even anecdotes. "Why are you still standing there?" Are you fucking kidding me?

So yeah, if you want to posit that Abramson was as bad as Raines, you can do that. But that would be begging the genuinely interesting question here, and substituting a rather boring one.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:45 AM
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48

Why was Judith Miller infamous in 1992?

Here's something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:50 AM
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45: RTFSpyA. (Here, here, and here for a start. Some of it rather apt in this context, actually.)

46: Argh, yes. Looks like Pinch was "soft, anxious".


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 10:54 AM
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Here's the Politico hit piece on Abramson. The only stuff that rises to the level of anecdata is here:


In one meeting, Abramson was upset with a photograph that was on the homepage. Rather than asking for a change to be made after the meeting, she turned to the relevant editor and, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting, said bluntly, "I don't know why you're still here. If I were you, I would leave now and change the photo."

In another meeting, an editor asked about The Times Company's recent decision to rename the International Herald Tribune as "The International New York Times." Abramson reportedly snapped: That issue has been settled, she said. Why would we even bother getting into that?

I ask again: Are you fucking kidding me? Where do people work, that this sort of thing qualifies you as a noteworthy asshole? I read Politico every now and then, and it's got an editorial vision that simply can't be implemented without some pretty hardcore top-driven authoritarianism.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 11:02 AM
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Are you fucking kidding me?

If women could be funny, they might be.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 11:06 AM
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rename the International Herald Tribune as "The International New York Times."

That's some bullshit right there.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 12:36 PM
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53

I read Politico every now and then

Does this ever end well?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 2:50 PM
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54

I have a suspicion that 40 is right.

What's curious is that Abramson was managing editor of the Times from -- from what I can tell -- 2003 (after the Jayson Blair scandal) to 2011 (when Keller left as executive editor). That's quite a few years for people to determine whether her management style was unacceptable; this doesn't add up.

Yeah, I'm guessing the issue to do with Baquet was central.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:00 PM
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Auletta has some numbers and more details. I think I might be right: Baquet held all the cards, and I'm not even sure he realized it: when he complained about Abramson, it was game over for her.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:25 PM
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Oh god. What a clusterfuck. Too much inside baseball for me: sure, Baquet was apparently pissed about the prospect of a co-managing editor. Auletta's choice of passive voice here:

Another episode that added to the characterization of Abramson as hard to deal with came after a decision was made to hire a second managing editor to oversee the Times' digital endeavors. Abramson led that hiring effort.

does not add clarity. Oh well.

I'm surprised with myself for being as interested in this as I've been.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-14 6:46 PM
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The next Media Talk podcast should be interesting, given that Gibson is a regular guest/host.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-16-14 5:31 AM
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There is much excitement about the angle most recently mentioned here. I trust I am not obtuse


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05-16-14 6:09 AM
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55 - Got to admit, the actual numbers there bring out my inner sports-radio call-in jerk: Oh, half a million a year is an insult, is it? I can see how that would be tough to live on.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-16-14 7:12 AM
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59: I was surprised, almost shocked at how low the figure was. I was figuring 2-3 times that. Jon Hamm makes half that per episode of MM.

Truly a dying industry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-16-14 8:02 AM
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