In an ostensibly straight news article which makes Glenn Beck’s The Blaze look like a paragon of objectivity, The New York Times repeatedly presents the ouster of former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao as a case of rampant Silicon Valley sexism — even though the newspaper treated a female executive the same way just last year.
“It’s Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0: Fighter of Sexism Is Out at Reddit,” the Times headline reads. The paper assigned two reporters to the story. (Still a third contributed).
“Ms. Pao’s abrupt downfall in the face of a torrent of sexist and racist attacks, many of them on Reddit itself, is likely to renew charges that bullying, harassment and ugly behavior are out of control on the web — and that Silicon Valley’s well-publicized lack of interest in hiring anyone who is not male and white is contributing to the problem,” the Times pontificates.
The three reporters also cheerlead in favor of Pao and her gender discrimination lawsuit against another company. Pao lost the suit because a duly empaneled jury believed her claims were meritless.
The litigious CEO “failed to sway a jury,” is how the Times sympathetically puts it, while damning the technological sector in Silicon Valley as a place where “machismo” is “prized” and women appear “relegated to secondary roles.”
The text of the 1,055-word story in the Times fails to mention the fate of Jill Abramson, a former executive editor of The New York Times who found herself abruptly kicked to the curb in circumstances similar to Pao’s.
Pao lost her job after content creators at Reddit (who generally work for free) revolted because Pao had fired a paid employee who managed Ask Me Anything, the website’s famous celebrity question-and-answer series. The sacked Reddit employee is female. There were a number of other dustups as well, which many Reddit users believed amounted to corporate censorship.
Abramson, the first-ever (and only-ever) female executive editor in the 164-year history of The New York Times, lost her job in May 2014 — just over a year ago.
Abramson’s mistake was to express unhappiness after learning that she was receiving considerably lower compensation than the man she replaced — Bill Keller — had received for the same work. Also, other employees at the Times found her difficult and hard-charging. And she once tried to hire an editor without consulting ownership.
The ouster of Abramson involved were all kinds of furtive meetings (at fancy restaurants) among Times management. There was much backstabbing.
Abramson’s direct underlings “were frustrated by her approach to management,” explained The New Yorker contemporaneously. This is so even though media editors “are not meant to be popular.” Sometimes, they need to “tell reporters or editors that their work needs improvement, that they need a second and a third source, that they need another rewrite.”
“It’s an unpleasant tale — one of bruised relationships, conflicting accusations, and a wounded, essential institution,” The New Yorker summarized.
Regarding Pao, the Times notes that Reddit is a private company, owned largely by the same group which owns Condé Nast. In 2014, the same year the Times fired Abramson, Reddit raised $50 million in venture capital.
Revenue in 2013 for The New York Times media conglomerate was approximately $1.58 billion.
An archived version of the story in the Times about Pao shows that the story has undergone tremendous and complex revisions since it was first published late on Friday afternoon.
The Times does not appear to acknowledge any changes to the article anywhere in the article itself.