- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2014

This is what happens when a news organization has positioned itself to be the nation’s role model in all things media. The New York Times insists that fairness, integrity and truth make up its standards. There is a 57-page guide to “ethical journalism” for employees, a “commitment” to diversity and let us not forget the 117-year-old motto declaring “all the news that’s fit to print.” With what’s going on, it’s no wonder that press and pundits continue to pursue The Times, currently in a public relations battle after executive editor Jill Abramson was fired five days ago over a salary dispute. And out in the heartland, there are likely many grass-roots Americans who ask “The New York what?” and “Jill who?”

The Manhattan media in particular have ramped the story up into a dramatic tableau for gender discrimination, equal pay issues and the brittle follies of elite journalism at its elitist. But wait. There’s more.

“If the pay discrepancy charge is accurate, The Times’ hypocrisy is showing. Since Abramson became executive editor, the newspaper ran 90 pieces mentioning ‘equal pay,’ not including many more blogs on the subject,” says Julia Seymour, an analyst with the Business and Media Institute who did the counting. The 90 articles included 21 op-eds or editorials and 69 news stories. The total doesn’t include articles that were about equal pay but used other phrasing such as ‘wage gap’ or ‘gender pay,’ she says, adding, “Maybe when it comes to their own business and bottom line, The Times isn’t quite as liberal as it would have people believe.”

Oh, but it’s complicated.

“I love the idea that the liberal elite is not very worried about the persecution of Jill Abramson, who made only $750,000 a year last year at The New York Times,” Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol observed Sunday on ABC’S “This Week.” “I think you guys should be much more upset about Arthur Sulzberger Why does he run The New York Times? Because he inherited it.”

MR. SULZBERGER HITS BACK


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Meanwhile, the aforementioned Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. — who took over for his father Arthur Ochs Sulzberger as chairman and publisher of The Times in 1992 — has issued a statement to explain all. Sort of. Here is part of it.

“Perhaps the saddest outcome of my decision to replace Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times is that it has been cast by many as an example of the unequal treatment of women in the workplace. Rather than accepting that this was a situation involving a specific individual who, as we all do, has strengths and weaknesses, a shallow and factually incorrect storyline has emerged,” he said, disputing reports that “Jill’s compensation package was not comparable with her predecessor’s.”

Mr. Sulzberger instead drew attention to the former editor’s job performance, citing “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.”

He continued, “We are very proud of our record of gender equality at The New York Times. Many of our key leaders — both in the newsroom and on the business side — are women. So too are many of our rising stars. They do not look for special treatment, but expect to be treated with the same respect as their male colleagues. For that reason they want to be judged fairly and objectively on their performance. That is what happened in the case of Jill.”

ON THE ADVANCE RADAR

“L” stands for “liberty” rather than liberal in this case. Now in the planning stages, it’s LPAC 2014, organized by the Campaign for Liberty — a grass-roots group whose chairman is Ron Paul — and scheduled for Sept. 18-20 at a site just outside the nation’s capital. Mr. Paul, of course, plus his son Sen. Rand Paul are among the 40 speakers on the podium. Grappling with “establishment” officials and motivating grass-roots folk is on the agenda.

“Entrenched politicians and special interests clearly benefit from the status quo and voter apathy,” organizers say.

REALITY CHECK

“China has evacuated more than 3,000 of its citizens from Vietnam and is sending ships to retrieve more of them after deadly anti-Chinese violence erupted last week over a territorial dispute between the two countries,” a CNN report issued Sunday said.

“Dudes, you wanted to be a world power. This is how it looks,” writes PJ Media’s “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds, responding to the matter. “I find it highly ironic that the rioting Vietnamese mobs spared factories flying the American flag.”

THE VETERAN’S ‘RIGHT TO CHOOSE’

Care of the nation’s military veterans has become a battleground itself, and one which has yielded casualties, collateral damage and revealed those missing in action. Investigations are underway, much talk is in progress and reports loom.

“My fellow veterans can’t wait the many months it may take to issue its report. They need answers, accountability and leadership from this administration and Congress now,” Sen. John McCain pointed out in the Republican Party’s weekly address.

The Arizona Republican faulted the culture within the Department of Veterans Affairs and the loss of its focus on the primary directive to look after those who have served their country with honor.

“Congress must also give VA administrators greater ability to hire and fire those charged with caring for our veterans. Most importantly, we must give veterans greater flexibility in how they get quality care in a timely manner,” Mr. McCain said. “Veterans have earned the right to choose where and when they get their medical care. And it is our responsibility to ensure that they are afforded this option.”

KOCH-APHOBIC

Political fundraising is relentless, complicated and partisan. And now it’s more personal: “You can tick off the Kochs,” announces a new Democratic Party fundraising email with tycoons Charles and David Koch as a handy hook, adding splashy claims that Democratic candidates are leading in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky.

“That means the Koch brothers can kiss their dream of controlling the Senate goodbye,” the Democrats say, adding, “We could help Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell retire.” Ironically, that is what tea party groups hope for, but no matter.

“Republican super PACs and shady special interest groups will spend millions of dollars this year to defeat Democrats, obstruct President Obama’s agenda, and dismantle Obamacare. But we can cut through the noise if we have the resources we need to win. Chip in right now to elect more Democrats,” the outreach concludes.

POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans support tougher sanctions against Russia for intervention in Ukraine; 71 percent of British citizens, 69 percent of French, 72 percent of Italians, 74 percent of Spanish and 61 percent of Germans agree.

66 percent of Americans say the sanctions will not have any impact to curb “Russia’s behavior;” 80 percent of British citizens, 82 percent of French, 67 percent of Italians, 75 percent of Spanish and 80 percent of Germans agree.

52 percent of Americans say U.S. and European Union response to Russia has been “about right;” 43 percent of British citizens, 29 percent of French, 32 percent of Italians, 28 percent of Spanish and 34 percent of Germans agree.

37 percent of Americans say the response has been “too weak;” 45 percent of British, 59 percent of French, 55 percent of Italians, 63 percent of Spanish and 48 percent of Germans agree.

Source: A Financial Times/Harris Poll survey of 5,206 adults in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain, plus 2,046 U.S. adults conducted May 8-12. “Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding,” the pollster says.

Squawks, crowing to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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