Jill Abramson, appointed less than two years ago as the first woman executive editor of The New York Times as well being a Jew, apparently has become too uppity for others, no less than the Times’ managing editor Dean Baquet, who stormed out of a meeting with her earlier this month.
Abramson had summoned Baquet to her office to scold him for what she considering less than exciting news coverage, according to the Washington-based Politico website.
Baquet not only burst out of the office in anger, he also did not show up for the daily 4 p.m. editor’s meeting.
Baquet later told Politico he felt “bad” out the temper tantrum, but the website added that Abramson “has become a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times’ newsroom.” Some staffers called her stubborn and difficult to work with.
Baquet insisted after the altercation that he has a good relationship with Abramson, and the whole incident may simply be a tempest in the teapot that could be relegated to the gossip sheets.
Abramson’s presence at the newspaper has not made it any more Jewish and certainly not any more pro-Israel, if not more anti-Israel. Abramson once said that when she grew up in her Jewish home, the Times was the family’s’ “religion.” “If the Times said it, it was the absolute truth,” she said.
That was before the days of Thomas Friedman, and Judi Rudoren.
For the record, the Times covered Abramson’s wedding in its “Style” section in 1981, when she married a man with the very non-Jewish name of Henry Little Griggs III, who was an NBC producer at the time.
It is doubtful that the Times will print a blurb on the spat with Baquet, and on the surface it has little news value.
However, the tension may represent something much deeper and beyond the realm of a personality clash at the Times.
Under Abramson, the newspaper has won four Pulitzer prizes in this month alone, but the bottom line – money – is not as green as it used to be.
Its revenues sank in every quarter the past year, reflecting the dismal state of most newspapers in the day of Internet and Smartphones.
Analysts expect that its earnings for the first quarter of this year will be only 5 cents a share, slightly more than half of what it earned for the same period in 2012.