It is almost as if Karl Rove secretly took over the New York Times for sheer delight in mocking liberals. If so, he really is the mad genius whom liberals fear. The New York Times-Jill Abramson story, more like a farce, has become something only conservatives could dream up.
Consider the following scenario: The most revered liberal media outlet in the country fires its first woman executive editor. Then this bastion of gender politics and wage-gap obsession is accused of firing her in retaliation for her complaints that she was paid less than males who have held the job. Liberal media pundits buy this hook, line and sinker and viciously turn on the Times. The Times is outraged, sputtering mad that an aggrieved ex-employee should make such a scurrilous charge. There are explanations, context and nuance in these cases, the Times discovers — and besides, aggrieved ex-employees will make up all kids of excuses to explain their terminations. (Defense attorneys everywhere nod, knowingly.)
Finally, the Times, in a fit of pique, lets it rip. She was the boss from hell in their telling. And then they dump the story in Politico’s lap. According to the Times she deceived her boss on a key hiring move, prompting a key co-worker (now her successor) to threaten to quit.
According to the Times, their colleagues in the liberal media are a bunch of rumor-mongering saps who are prone to accept any accusation of gender bias as the gospel truth; their iconic ex-editor who became a role model for women in journalism is, well according to the Times, a liar playing victim to disguise her own dishonesty. If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, perhaps a responsible newspaper is a liberal one that got smeared in the gender-victim game. But don’t get your hopes up that the Times, editorially speaking, will address gender bias with a more skepticism. Compartmentalization is essential for ideologues (too many messy facts!).
The Times may have it wrong, of course. In Jill Abramson’s version (via her leak to the New Yorker and then her fans in MSM-land) she was tough and accomplished, vilified for the same behavior tolerated in men. She too was a victim of gender bias and like Joan of Arc was burned by the Times, a martyr to her cause. Lying? Bullying? What a bit of nonsense, she would claim. But here too the irony is palpable. She co-authored a book and rose to fame on her demonization of now-Justice Clarence Thomas. Could it be that powerful people’s slight flaws and occasional behavior gets exaggerated, magnified and distorted in the retelling so they become in the public eye someone barely recognizable to them and those who know them best?
Either way, there is much for conservatives to enjoy as the liberal media thrash and squirm, caught on the hook of identity politics. Whatever you believe and whichever telling is the truth, it should be a lesson for reporters who reflexively side with everyone with a good yarn about victimhood, for liberals who confuse the Times for their religion and for those who reduce every human encounter to race, gender or sexual orientation. (As an aside the Times recently ran a piece bemoaning the lack of openly gay CEOs at big companies. Before leading a new diversity quest, maybe the Times should see how many openly gay people run media outlets and if there are none, consider if this factual nugget is meaningful.)
Conservatives can enjoy this comedy while it lasts. After they finish ripping each other’s reputations to shreds, the liberal media will be back to attacking conservatives in the “war on women,” running interference for Democrats and pursuing the next quest to show Justice Sonia Sotomayor had it right in the recent affirmative action case (i.e., American rubes are hopeless bigots). But their pristine image of moral superiority will be a bit blemished and their knee-jerk accusations of bias might just be met met with a tad more skepticism.