- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2014

Alas. Whenever The New York Times has troubles, a certain giddy schadenfreude descends upon onlookers who relish the spectacle. This time, The Times has had a seismic disturbance on par with the plagiarism episode 11 years ago that yielded resignations at the highest levels and prompted management to call all 1,200 employees together to talk about it. For hours. That didn’t happen after Executive Editor Jill Abramson was abruptly fired and instantly replaced with Dean Baquet, the managing editor and the news organization’s top black executive.

A memo was issued; there was a perfunctory story explaining of the matter — all that’s needed for bombastic buzz in the 24/7 media marketplace. The news quickly morphed into several narratives far beyond control of The Times, once called “The Gray Lady” in a gentler age. Here’s how the rest of the press clan described the aftermath:

“Gray lady boots its top lady” (Daily Beast); “Delicious: New York Times accused of underpaying top woman” (National Review); “New York Times again sidesteps issue of diversity” (MarketWatch); “The New York Times owes the audience an explanation” (Poynter Institute); “New York Times shares drop amid executive shakeup” (Wall Street Journal), “To young women at The New York Times, Jill Abramson was everything” (Slate Magazine); “Did the NY Times fire Abramson for being too bossy?” (Forbes); and “Abramson bests NYT in PR fight” (Politico).

SEE ALSO: Harry Reid says NYT firing of Abramson shows need for pay equality legislation

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There will be a red carpet, good will and a certain intensity about this event, which brings together a noteworthy but unusual combination of luminaries. On Sunday comes the second annual “Champions of Jewish Values International Awards,” staged at an immense and opulent space in midtown Manhattan where the style is Italian Renaissance and the ceilings soar 65 feet.

Among the guests: uber-Republican fan Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam; Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Christie of New Jersey; Democrats Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S.; Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel; human rights activist John Prendergast; master of ceremonies and organizer Rabbi Shmuley Boteach; philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and his wife Judy; and actor Sean Penn.

Mssrs. Booker, Dermer, Penn and Prendergast will be honored for their efforts toward justice and human spirit. The rabbi is also celebrating his 25th year in the rabbinate. But there will be something to ponder later.

“Governor Christie is planning to give a major speech on Israel and the Middle East. Governor Perry will also be speaking,” a source advises.


Of note: The aforementioned Mr. Christie has clarified that the persistent Bridgegate matter will not derail his presidential aspirations, as many pundits suggests. The roadway scandal, he says, will have no effect.

“A far as the impact on my political future, I think it will have none — because I didn’t do anything,” the governor told a crowd at an economic summit this week in the nation’s capital.


Now there’s a thought. Two outspoken women of a certain age on the campaign trail. In the endless dream team matchups of potential presidential hopefuls comes this pairing from HBO host Bill Maher, of interest to those who follow one Massachusetts senator in particular, along with Hillary Clinton.

“I think somebody like Elizabeth Warren, one of the most gutsy people I’ve seen in politics in a long time — she’s somebody, I think, who would really say what she feels. And she may not ever win anything, but I’d love to see her run with Hillary. How about that? A granny ticket,” Mr. Maher tells Larry King during an encounter on “Politicking,” the veteran host’s Ora.tv talk show. It aired Thursday night.

And in another creative pairing comes this suggestion from outgoing ABC daytime contributor Barbara Walters. She has a suggestion for Monica Lewinsky, who recently re-emerged on public radar after penning an expose for Vanity Fair about her relationship with former President Bill Clinton.

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