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Harris Faulkner dug into former New York Times executive director Jill Abramson over her flimsy defense of the publication after a now-former op-ed staff editor’s scathing resignation letter went viral.
The fiery indictment from Bari Weiss captivated Twitter and created some unlikely bedfellows. The likes of former Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson agreed with President Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., uniting them in their calls for change at this historic media outlet. The accusations themselves read like a scandal of censorship, workplace hostility, and “Mean Girl”-esque behavior toward those holding moderate-to-right-leaning political opinions.
At the beginning of the “Outnumbered Overtime” segment, Faulkner asked Abramson about the implications of the letter and “the importance of now your wider public understanding, potentially, that there is a quieting of centrist and conservative views in the opinion section of “The New York Times.”
(Source: Fox News)
With the initial pleasantries out of the way, Abramson did what is likely expected of someone who used to work for the publication: She spun the facts. Almost immediately she downplayed Weiss’ role at NYT, and dismissed the idea that there is a “crisis” at the outlet. For good measure, she even called President Trump a liar.
“I think that the departure of one junior-level opinion editor at the New York Times is really a molehill compared to the mountains of news developments that you’ve just been talking about on your show. Bari Weiss’ letter was a strong letter, certainly, and it was bound to get some reaction, but in the scheme of things, it does not spell crisis for the New York Times,” she scoffed. “And what the president – as he often says – said is just untrue. People are not fleeing from the New York Times. They had the unfortunate departure of the opinion editor, James Bennett, who I think is a fantastic journalist. Now this resignation. But the Times is doing just fine. The truth is it has more subscribers than ever in its history, and more readers. That’s really the measure of success, not who is coming on staff and who is departing.”
But Faulker was not about to let that non-answer slide and admonished Abramson for her abject lack of interest in the supposedly hostile work environment that is driving out diversity.
“I appreciate you wanting to compare it to what’s happening today with the NYPD top uniformed officer being attacked. We all know the difference between that and an employee leaving the New York Times,” she explained. “I don’t know that we needed a lesson on that as much as we need to understand from someone who led so many at the Times how valuable it is to have voices from everybody. If that is not happening there, post your departure, what is your response to it?”
Abramson rejected the idea that liberals are running the show at her former job, calling it a “ridiculous charge.”
“Well, number one, I think it is happening. Before my departure, I spent an awful lot of my time as executive editor, when I would speak publicly, defending the times from charges that it was a big supporter of the Iraq War and was carrying water for George W. Bush’s administration,” she said. “So, that was a ridiculous charge, and the idea that the New York Times is edited by a cabal of left-wing journalists is just not true at all.”
Faulker wondered aloud why there are seemingly no supportive voices coming from the New York Times right now, bolstering calls for change and condemning the alleged behavior of the colleagues as outlined in Weiss’ resignation. She even suggested that there may be legal recourse for the allegations of harassment and bullying, asking Abramson what advice she would give the former employee at this moment.
Naturally, Abramson insinuated that Weiss should be able to “take it” if she’s willing to “throw some punches” on Twitter.
“I would say to her, as I just said to you, that I am very sorry if she was bullied by any of her colleagues. That should not be tolerated in any organization. The Times does not tolerate it. They have a set of written rules of the road which prohibits that kind of behavior So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry if she had a rough time,” she explained, before essentially calling the treatment karma for her Twitter interactions.
“Bari Weiss is someone, she has thousands of Twitter followers herself. She has been in there on Twitter, throwing some punches herself at people she disagrees with. I’m not saying she is a bully, but if you are going to dish it out, you’ve got to be ready to take it. I learned that a long time ago.”
Faulker, visibly irked, rebuked the suggestion that people with opposing viewpoints and strong convictions should accept bullying by their peers. She calmly and without missing a beat, responded, “Actually, legally, we don’t have to be ready to take harassment on the job. That’s already established.” Then she dropped the proverbial mic.