Tom McGeveran at Capital on the editorship of Jill Abramson Tom McGeveran takes stock of Politico's controversial examination of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson: "Why, 18 months into her editorship, does the Politico story appear just now? For what it's worth, I have probably heard at least a dozen people at the Times complain about Abramson's bedside manner since she was promoted to executive editor. But something has happened recently which Abramson herself has acknowledged: The cost-savings at the Times, achieved in a recent round of buyouts, included one strategy that was doubtless correct but which had real consequences for the paper." McGeveran batted down the idea that the article, or Politico reporter Dylan Byers himself, is sexist: "Dictatorial editors of all stripes are written about rather routinely, male and female. ... A few copyedits here or there would have absolved Byers of most of these criticisms and left them on the doorstep of his anonymous sources instead. ... The article, though poorly edited, isn't the real problem. Instead we have a real cultural artifact here: The question of whether expectations of women leaders are different from those of men." McGeveran pointed to The Guardian's Emily Bell, who argues that Politico ignored journalism's legacy of sexism. "If one redacts 'Jill' from Politico's piece and replaces it with 'Jack', the absurdity and sexism becomes all the more obvious," Bell writes, adding, "Fewer women will want to even try if the expectations of them in power are so completely different from men in the same jobs and the public judgment so arbitrary and misogynistic." In response, Byers addressed each avenue of Bell's piece, and ends by quoting an unnamed reader: "The idea that a woman should be able to reach the highest levels and then, because of her gender, be completely immune to criticism when she fails sets the worst kind of precedent for women."
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Forbes on the politics of teaching children To whom, exactly, do children belong? After contemplating a recent MSNBC ad, in which host Melissa Harris-Perry argues that "we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents ... and recognize that kids belong to whole communities," Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry tries to articulate the widespread negative reaction to it. "What [Harris-Perry] said is — to make a charitable restatement — that a significant problem with American contemporary culture is that it sees the responsibility (and therefore choices) of educating children as falling primarily to families, and that this is a problem, and that the correct view is that children [primarily] 'belong' to communities." He continues: "Is Ms Harris-Perry unaware that families are seeking political asylum in the US for wanting to homeschool their children in their home countries where it is illegal? ... Is she unaware of the many historical instances of governments using schools as tools of domination and ideological indoctrination? .... Melissa Harris-Perry said something that has a whiff of the totalitarian, and then doubled down on it, and then dismissed as insanity any detection of any whiff." Geoffrey Reiter at Patheos was more charitable: "Melissa Harris-Perry chose her words poorly. But ... people do not always choose the best words to communicate their ideas. ... Harris-Perry is simply not advocating the removal of children from their homes, nor is she making some claim that the state owns children or has an authority equal to individual parents. She is contending that families in communities ought to have the best interests of all the children around them at heart."