Now, it's his turn: New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr responded yesterday to the wave of outrage over the firing of former executive editor Jill Abramson, saying "she had lost support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back." In a statement, Sulzberger said her compensation package equaled that of predecessor Bill Keller—was 10% higher in her last year, in fact—and played no role in her firing, Politico reports. Sulzberger blamed the dismissal on her "arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult" with colleagues, poor communication skills and "the public mistreatment of colleagues." He even discussed the issues with Abramson "several times" and she "agreed to try to overcome them," but eventually it was too late.
Sulzberger's mea-non-culpa is only fueling more debate, reports Salon—starting on Meet the Press, where former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Abramson's firing announcement mentioned nothing of her accomplishments and left her "excised from history." Senior Times editor Carolyn Ryan said, however, that the newspaper is no "bastion of sexism," and worried that "frustration" is being "transferred onto the story that isn’t accurate." (Worth checking out: Susan Glasser's Politico article on how forceful women editors are characterized as "off-putting and threatening.") Conservatives, meanwhile, are eating up the story as "liberal media thrash and squirm, caught on the hook of identity politics," writes Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post. In the future, "their knee-jerk accusations of bias might just be met met with a tad more skepticism."