Jill, Jill, Jill: Why did the NYT fire her? Everyone's asking the question
It is always hard to say what causes a final break—a firing, a divorce—but, clearly, a last straw came a few weeks ago, when Abramson, who made little secret of her displeasure with Sulzberger, decided to hire a lawyer to complain that her salary was not equal to that of her predecessor, Bill Keller.
But no! It wasn't the money
, we read. It was...something else. We're not sure what.
Naturally, there's a feminist spin
on all this.
In 1987, a group of researchers theorized that there is a “narrow band of acceptable behavior” for women leaders—actions that are not too feminine, but not overly masculine, either. This is the idea behind Sheryl Sandberg’s advice that women should “smile— even when they don’t feel like it” and substitute “we for I” whenever possible.
Yeah yeah yeah.
Look, it would be easier to be upset about all of this if I had any great admiration for what the NYT has been doing. But let's be realistic. Lately, neocons within and outside of this administration have been trying to gin up a New Cold War -- and the New York Times has been playing along with the propagandists, just as they did in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.
(By the way: If you Google the words "Worst decision in the history of the United States," Iraq makes the top ten list in the first two links. Thank you, Judy Miller! Thank you, NYT!
Fortunately, the truth about what's really
going on in Ukraine is finally starting to spill over into the mainstream. I don't know if you consider Salon "mainstream," but they published a piece by Patrick L. Smith
which I strongly urge you to read. It's a superb
piece of writing. The title: "They’re lying about Ukraine, again: Primitive prejudice, stupidity and the reflexive compliance of the New York Times."
I have asserted previously in this space that Moscow’s account of the Ukraine crisis is more coherent than Washington’s. Each time, the argument provokes a certain shock-horror syndrome among many readers — and, of course, numerous accusations that the writer of such things must be a shill for the Russians, an FSB agent, a Putin groupie, and so on.
To be honest, I greatly enjoy advancing this view. First of all because it is true, and second because so many of my fellow Americans choke on it. The default position, name-calling, is a boring but common ruse in the American conversation, always an indication that there is no comeback other than to invoke beliefs as opposed to thoughts.
Yeah. "Choke on it." Those gagging, sputtering sounds are so sweet, aren't they?
All is in place. The West is the light side of the moon, Russia the dark. Russia has aggressed in Ukraine: We have no evidence but it must have, as this is what Russians do. If Putin says it, it has to be wrong: Russian autocrats are never right or truthful.
No Ukrainian could possibly want to live within the dense weave of his or her historic ties with Russia. This last is an assault on the American sensibility. The American inheritance makes this information indigestible, foreign food. So the Russians must be pulling the strings, manipulating millions of minds as they always do.
Here, just one example.
Last week, Vladimir Putin publicly urged those in revolt against the provisional government in Kiev to step back from their planned referendums on their future arrangements with Kiev. How did the New York Times report this? “It remains unclear what Mr. Putin’s motives were for suggesting the delay,” its correspondent in eastern Ukraine told us in Sunday’s editions.
Good example. I'll give you a better one: The infamous Victoria Nuland "Fuck the EU" revelation.
reported it fairly. Now look at how the NYT treated the same story
. Look at how determined they are to present Putin
as Darth Vader, even though Nuland was the one caught red-handed plotting the covert takeover of a foreign land.
Ever since, the NYT has refused to allow the implications of the Nuland revelation to color any subsequent reportage of the Ukraine controversy. NYT readers can't understand why Crimea -- and now a large, Russian-speaking chunk of Ukraine -- wants no part of the Banderist madness in Kiev. Well, Nuland's "Fuck the EU" phone call certainly provides one clue.
You want an even better example? Look at the NYT's coverage of the infamous incident when Right Sector neo-fascists set fire to a Trade Union building with people inside.
what really happened there. We know not just because Russia Today showed incontrovertible video evidence (as posted in this space previously), but because Kiev's own Ukrainian-language newspapers
reported the incident with a grudging honesty.
But to the New York Times, all was vague and questionable. Just look
. He said, she said -- gosh, looks like we'll never know the truth.
But at the same time, anything said by the Russians should be dismissed as "dinsinformation."
Earlier, the NYT had published a completely bogus story about photo evidence allegedly showing Russian spies engineering events in Eastern Ukraine -- a story proven false by several contributors to Reddit. Eventually, the NYT had to issue a formal retraction.
Here's a good piece
on the NYT's as-it-happened coverage of the fire:
Thus it is not surprising that the Times responded to the fascist murder of 38 people in Odessa on Friday by burying the story and deliberately obscuring the identity of the perpetrators. The only mention of the torching of the Trade Unions House and murder of 38 people holed up inside occurred in a story on page A7 of the Saturday edition of the newspaper—on the fourth page of the International section.
The reference to the massacre, moreover, was a fleeting mention well down in the article, carefully formulated to avoid attributing blame. The authors, C.J. Chivers (Who else?) and Noah Sneider, wrote: “Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists.”
The Sunday Times published a front-page on-the-spot report by Chivers and Sneider from Slavyansk on the anti-Kiev government insurgents. Despite being unable to produce any evidence of the presence of Russian spies or troops, the authors wrote that “one persistent mystery has been the identity and affiliations of the militiamen.”
On May 3, Robert Parry asked if Ukraine will be the NYT's "Waterloo."
But the Times’ prejudice over the Ukraine crisis has reached new levels of extreme as the “newspaper of record” routinely carries water for the neocons and other hawks who still dominate the U.S. State Department. Everything that the Times writes about Ukraine is so polluted with propaganda that it requires a very strong filter, along with additives from more independent news sources, to get anything approaching an accurate understanding of events.
This happened on Jill Abramson's watch.
You want to know what I think about the firing of Jill Abramson? Fuck Jill Abramson
. That's what I think.
I just wish someone could give me reason to believe that her replacement will be an improvement.
So do not mourn the loss of Jill,
For she's the one who fed us swill.
I fear, alas, though Jill be gone,
The smell of swill will linger on.