Since New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. unceremoniously fired the paper's first female executive editor, Jill Abramson, he's been losing the PR war. Even the Times' media critic, David Carr, wrote Monday, "It is one thing to gossip or complain about your boss, but quite another to watch her head get chopped off in the cold light of day. The lack of decorum was stunning."
Now, Sulzberger is clapping back in an exclusive interview with Sarah Ellison atVanity Fair (not the Times' own media reporters?), stressing the point that Abramson was not fired because of her gender. To do that, unfortunately, he has to talk at length about how bad she was at her job. Ellison writes of their interview, "There was something slightly haunting about Sulzberger, whose own manner some have found it difficult to connect with, critiquing others on grounds of personality." Few have been sympathetic to the publisher — Alex Pareene instructed Sulzberger in The Awl last week to "fire yourself today."
Sulzberger defends himself and how he fired Abramson this way: "When you are making a decision to do this, you do it. You don’t cut off one arm, and then wait and cut off the other."
Meanwhile, Abramson delivered Wake Forest's commencement speech on Monday to generally positive reviews. Her daughter, Cornelia, has begun an Instagram campaign of sorts, in order to show "the real Jill Abramson." She's posted photos of her mom boxing, snuggling with a dog, and learning to walk again after being hit by a delivery truck.
In one Instagram, she wrote, "Big thank you to all the #pushy #bossy #polarizingwomen and men who get it. The story isn't over, not even close." That's true, unfortunately for Sulzberger.