In the wake of the NYT‘s firing its first female executive editor Jill Abramson and release of her specific salary numbers by New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta, the Grey Lady is seeking a correction.
But has she lost her mind or is she just trying to cover her ass?
Auletta reports: “As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes. She also learned that her salary as Washington bureau chief, from 2000 to 2003, was a hundred thousand dollars less than that of her successor in that position, Phil Taubman.”
Last night, NYT spokeswoman Eileen Murphy went to Politico late Thursday night to, ahem, clear things up. In a bizarre game of semantics, she declared that Auletta had misquoted her, saying Abramson talking to her bosses and subsequent hiring of a lawyer about the pay disparity was part of a pattern that led to her being terminated, was false. Except what she says she said sounds an AWFUL like exactly that.
Murphy told Politico: “I never ‘conceded’ that the issue of a lawyer being brought in to discuss pay was a contributing factor to her firing. It was not, and I never said it was.” The story continued, “Murphy says she was instead conceding that Abramson’s decision to hire a lawyer was seen as a hostile act, and part of a pattern of frustration. She says she never stated that it was a factor in the decision to fire her.”
So Abramson’s decision to hire a lawyer was seen as a “hostile act” and “pattern of frustration” that, what, didn’t contribute to her firing?
Here’s the update Auletta added to his story as of 9 a.m. today. In his first story, Auletta reported that Murphy said Abramson’s salary was “directly comparable” to Keller’s, even though it, well, wasn’t.
Clearly he’s not buying her bullshit.
“(Update: Murphy wrote to me after this post went up to dispute this. Her quote is accurate and in context, as I’ve confirmed in my notes. However, she now e-mails: ‘I said to you that the issue of bringing a lawyer in was part of a pattern that caused frustration. I NEVER said that it was part of a pattern that led to her firing because that is just not true.’)”