Former New York Times executive editor vigorously defended her the newspaper against the charges that opinion writer Bari Weiss leveled against it in a scathing resignation letter issued on Monday, calling it a “molehill” in today’s news cycle and that it doesn’t “spell a crisis” for the paper.
Abramson appeared on Outnumbered Overtime on Fox News, hosted by Harris Faulkner, to discuss Weiss’ explosive letter.
“I think that the departure of one junior-level opinion editor at The New York Times is really a molehill, compared to the mountains of news developments that you have just been talking about on your show,” said Abramson. “Her — Bari Weiss’ letter was a strong letter, certainly. And it was bound to get some reaction, but, in the scheme of things, it does not spell crisis for The New York Times.”
Continuing on Abramson lamented about the departure of editorial page editor James Bennett, whom she called a “fantastic journalist.”
She did not mention that Bennett was forced out after liberals complained about his publishing an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that called for troops to be used to quell the violent protests and looting following the death of George Floyd.
Abramson also told Faulkner that the Times is “doing just fine,” and that President Donald Trump is wrong when he says that people are “fleeing” the paper.
“The truth is, it has more subscribers than ever in its history and more readers,” Abramson said. “And that’s really the measure of success, not who is coming on staff and who is departing.” Abramson did not address the claims made in Weiss’ letter.
“You know, I appreciate you wanting to compare it to what’s happening today with the NYPD top uniformed officer being attacked,” Faulkner said. “And, of course, we all know the difference between that and an employee leaving The New York Times.
“So I don’t know that we needed the lesson on that, as much as we need to understand from someone who led so many at the Times how valuable it is to have voices from everybody.”
Faulkner then asked Abramson whether the Times values the diversity of voices in its pages.
“Well, number one, I think it is happening,” Abramson said. “And before my departure, I spent an awful lot of my time as executive editor, when I would speak publicly, defending The Times from charges that it was a big supporter of the Iraq War and was carrying water for George W. Bush’s administration. So that was a kind of a ridiculous charge now. And the idea that The New York Times is edited by a cabal of left-wing journalists is just not true at all.”
“So, you think this woman is lying when she said she was bullied?” Faulkner asked.
“No. I regret, of course, if anyone is bullied. That’s terrible,” Abramson said. “But I don’t think it’s true that moderate voices are being hushed at The New York Times. Most of the opinion columnists at the Times are centrists. They are center-to-liberal.”
That led Faulkner to ask Abramson where those voices were to support Weiss.
Abramson said if she were still at the Times, she would apologize to Weiss for any bullying that may have occurred. She added that Weiss has thousands of Twitter followers and that she has “thrown some punches herself” with people she disagrees with.
“I’m not saying she’s a bully, but if you know if you’re going to dish it out, you have to be ready to take it,” Abramson said.
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