Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

Ousting Jill Abramson

by

In light of the fact that the New York Times fired its first female executive editor on Wednesday, I was reminded of what happened at Time magazine in late December of last year. I read this article in the NYT at the end of last year: “Time Inc. Is Preparing to Head Out on It’s Own.” Flanked by a nice photo of Mr. Joseph A. Ripp—the new boss at Time magazine—it’s ostensibly a piece about the US’s largest magazine publisher breaking off from its parent company, Time Warner. That’s if you just read the headline, or simply skim over it. If you scrap the headline and actually digest the article, the story is about Wall Street swallowing up the newsroom of one of the country’s oldest and most well-respected journalistic institutions and forcing its first female executive editor to resign.

Time Inc. has…shown signs of instability. It has churned through three chief executives in the last three years, and lost a star editor, its former editor in chief Martha Nelson. To combat these negative forces, Time Inc. will abandon the traditional separation between its newsroom and business sides, a move that has caused angst among its journalists. Now, the newsroom staffs at Time Inc.’s magazines will report to the business executives. Such a structure, once verboten at journalistic institutions, is seen as necessary to create revenue opportunities and stem the tide of declining subscription and advertising sales.

This bit is up-front, but the article’s author is guilty of one egregious subterfuge. She makes the controversy seem peripheral when, in fact, it is central. The truth is, Time Inc. didn’t give the newsroom over to it’s business side because of “negative forces” like Nelson’s resignation. We find out later in the very same article that Time Inc.’s “star editor” quit because of the takeover:

Among those who expressed concern was Ms. Nelson, the recently departed editor in chief. Before Mr. Ripp came aboard…the magazines’ editors all reported to Ms. Nelson, who was seen as a staunch defender of newsroom autonomy. Late last summer, Mr. Ripp invited Ms. Nelson to Nantucket to discuss his plans, according to several current and former Time Inc. executives. Troubled by the idea of reporting to the business side, she resigned.

Given this bit of info—that a “star editor” and a “defender of newsroom autonomy” quit her post when businessman Mr. Ripp threatened to take over—I’d say the NYT article is more than misleading. It’s a falsification. It puts events in the wrong order and gets the cause and effect wrong. Perhaps the article would have made more sense if the NYT had already reported that Nelson resigned. But this article titled “Time Inc. Is Preparing to Head Out on It’s Own” is the report about Nelson getting pushed out of her newsroom by the magazine’s financial side. The stakes aren’t low. Journalism is under attack from the corporate sector on all fronts and a coup at such a large magazine strikes me as a front page story. But the problem is, how do you talk critically about the corporatization of media from within a corporatized media? The New York Times, like Time Inc., is a big business with similar anxiety about women set on defending journalism from private interests, an anxiety that surfaced this week. On Wednesday, just over four months after Nelson’s resignation at Time, the NYT announced the ouster of their own first female editor, Jill Abramson.  A New Yorkerpiece gives an explanation for why the paper’s publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., forced her to quit:

Sulzberger’s frustration with Abramson was growing. She had already clashed with the company’s C.E.O., Mark Thompson, over native advertising and the perceived intrusion of the business side into the newsroom.

Officially, the reason was her “management style.” But since when was a gruff editor seen as a threat to the paper? Since that editor was a woman. A woman who didn’t want Wall Street to determine the content of the news. Amien Essif can be reached through his blog The Gazine.

July 07, 2015
ANDRE VLTCHEK
In Ecuador, Fight for Mankind; In Greece, Fight for Greece!
Nile Bowie
Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Trails Behind China’s Development Vision
Binoy Kampmark
Warrior Economist: the Varoufakis Legacy
Shamus Cooke
Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow
Dave Lindorff
The Greek People Have Voted ‘No!’ to Austerity and Economic Blackmail
Bruce K. Gagnon
Sanders Bullshit Meter Goes Off the Charts in Portland, Maine
Mateo Pimentel
The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima
Raouf Halaby
Beware Those Who Speak With Forked Tongues
Ron Jacobs
The Grateful Dead: The Ship of the Sun Bids Farewell
Jonathan Cook
Hasbara Industry: Why Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat
Rev. William Alberts
Charleston: a Reality Check on Racism in America
Ellen Brown
A Franciscan Alternative: the People’s Pope and a People’s Bank?
Colin Todhunter
The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist
John Wight
Who Will Join With Greece?
W. T. Whitney
Colombia’s Fensuagro Union is Revolutionary, Persecuted, and Undaunted
Mel Gurtov
Keep It in the Ground, Obama
July 06, 2015
MICHAEL HUDSON
Greece Rejects the Troika
Steve Hendricks
Will FIFA’s World Cup Sexism Ever Die?
Binoy Kampmark
Oxi in Greece
Gareth Porter
How US Spin on Access to Iranian Sites has Distorted the Issue
Peter Bach
ISIL and Ramadan in the Rag
Paul Craig Roberts
A Rebuke to EU-Imposed Austerity
Robert Hunziker
Looking Inside Fukushima Prefecture
Quincy Saul
The View from Mount Olympus
ADRIENNE PINE, RICHARD JOHNSTON, FIONA WILMOT, et al.
Seven Reasons to Scrap the USA’s $1 Billion Aid Package to Central America
Norman Pollack
Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices
David Macaray
Could Justice Scalia Be the One to Rescue Labor?
Linn Washington Jr.
Storm Smashes Chris Christie’s Presidential Candidacy
Benjamin Willis
US and Cuba: What Remains to be Done?
Robert David Steele
The National Military Strategy: Dishonest Platitudes
Joan Roelofs
Whatever Happened to Eastern European Communism?
Weekend Edition
July 3-5, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World
Jason Hirthler
Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg
Rob Urie
Greece and Global Class War
DIMITRIS KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
The Future of Greece Without Illusions
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites
David Rosen
White Skin Crisis
Jerry Lembcke
Nobody Spat on American GIs!
Stavros Mavroudeas
The Greek Referendum and the Tasks of the Left
Andrew Levine
Dumping on Dixie Again
Richard Pithouse
Charleston (It’s Not Over)
Arun Gupta
What Does It Mean to Call Dylann Roof a “Terrorist”?
Michael Welton
The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada
Brendan McQuade
The Right Wing Resurgence and the Problem of Terrorism
Victor Rodriguez
Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.