Jill Abramson has addressed the circumstances surrounding her May firing as executive editor of the New York Times, though just glancingly. As the Daily Beast reports, Abramson responded as follows when asked about the episode:
Asked why she was fired, she quoted what has been publicly said by the Times publisher: “I was fired because of my quote-unquote management skills—and to be honest with you, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that means.”
Surely Abramson is sufficiently intelligent to grasp the rationale. Because if there’s one thing that the media frenzy over her dismissal didn’t spare, it was specificity and clarity. As recounted in this post, Ken Auletta of the New Yorker wrote a series of stories that raised questions as to whether the New York Times and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger may have ditched Abramson in part over a pay-equality issue that the executive editor had raised with her bosses.
Disclosures of that sort forced Sulzberger to really, really defend his decision. He did so in a statement that included the following paragraph:
During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues. I discussed these issues with Jill herself several times and warned her that, unless they were addressed, she risked losing the trust of both masthead and newsroom. She acknowledged that there were issues and agreed to try to overcome them. We all wanted her to succeed. It became clear, however, that the gap was too big to bridge and ultimately I concluded that she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back.
Abramson may well dispute this characterization of events. But it hardly defies comprehension.