The Corner

Paying Jill Abramson

The New York Times is denying that compensation issues had anything to do with her firing. But what if they did? The assumption of a lot of commentary has been that it would be terrible, “Paleolithic,” “retrograde,” etc., if she were paid less than her male predecessor. Why? John Hayward makes the right point at Human Events:

After enjoying a frothy mug of schadenfreude over the pickle the New York Times finds itself in, we might reflect that this is really a story about cloistered liberals growing up, and learning how their ideology is a poor fit for the real world, where complex situations cannot easily be reduced to cartoons about patriarchy, sexism, and racism.  Can you blame Abramson for wanting to be paid as much as her male predecessor?  Was it utterly unreasonable for the top brass at the New York Times to offer valid reasons why he was paid more, or to say that they needed to control payroll costs in a time of financial crisis?  Was it out of line for Abramson’s superiors to decide her abrasive manner was alienating the people beneath her, or that her plans for the newsroom were inconsistent with theirs?

The fun part will be when the folks at the Times, and other liberal writers currently stepping forward to defend them, forget how complicated these decisions are and giddily assault some private-sector operation outside of the sainted media-government axis for violating liberal dogma.  It’ll probably happen before the last personal items have been cleared from Jill Abramson’s office.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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