Thursday, 03 January 2019

Former Top Editor Jill Abramson Notes Anti-Trump Bias at New York Times

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In her upcoming book, Merchants of Truth, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said that the prestigious newspaper had a financial incentive to attack President Trump in its pages.

“Given its mostly liberal audience, there was an implicit financial reward for the Times in running lots of Trump stories, almost all of them negative: they drove big traffic numbers and, despite the blip of cancellations after the election, inflated subscription orders to levels no one anticipated,” Abramson writes.

Abramson was the Times’ news chief from 2011 until 2014, when publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. called her in to his office, fired her, and handed her a press release announcing her resignation.

The former executive editor wrote this about her successor at the Times, Dean Baquet: “Though Baquet said publicly he didn’t want the Times to be the opposition party, his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump.”

Abramson writes of the Times under Baquet: “Some headlines contained raw opinion, as did some of the stories that were labeled as news analysis.” She said the paper’s coverage of President Trump conflicts with the principles espoused by former Times publisher Adolph Ochs in 1896 — to report the news impartially “without fear or favor.”

A Fox News report about Merchants of Truth noted that Abramson describes a “generational split” at the Times, with younger staffers, many of them in digital jobs, favoring an unrestrained assault on the presidency, writing: “The more ‘woke’ staff thought that urgent times called for urgent measures; the dangers of Trump’s presidency obviated the old standards.”

A New York Post story about Abramson’s new book noted that since Trump took the White House there has been what is called a “Trump bump” that saw digital subscriptions increase by 600,000 to more than two million during the first six months of the administration, as liberal subscribers flocked to the digital edition. However, notes the Post: “Despite the paper’s recent windfall under Trump, Abramson claims there has been ‘brewing backlash’ as copy editors have been laid off, a ‘cult of novelty’ has taken over and new publisher A.G. Sulzberger, Arthur’s son, has seized the reins.”

 Image: Haxorjoe / Wikimedia Commons

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