As I woke up and scanned the headlines, I was jolted into consciousness when I read that Jill Abramson, executive editor of the paper of record, was suddenly and unexpectedly gone from the newsroom of the New York Times. Not just gone, but fired.
Ken Auletta speculated that the NYT‘s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.was put off by Abramson’s complaint that her pay package was considerably less than Bill Keller’s, her predecessor. Auletta also raised the gender flag by noting that Abramson, the first woman to head the editorial side of the Times, has been called brusque and “pushy,” a term usually reserved for forthright and ambitious women. (Did you ever hear a man called “pushy”?)
Photo: Emily Genzlinger
Have you caught the staid, old Gray Lady cracking a smile? Have you heard her chuckle? Can it be that somebody is really writing funny stories at The New York Times? Well, if you’re reading a Neil Genzlinger piece, pretty soon you’ll be laughing too.
The New York Times is not a humorous publication — heaven forfend! — but Neil Genzlinger, a television (and occasionally film and theater) critic, has what amounts to a special dispensation from the Gray Lady to write humorous reviews. His editors, he says, are willing “to make a leap of faith: If we run this particularly ridiculous Genzlinger piece on our pages, people will read it and they’ll understand that it’s humor, and they’ll like it.”
The reviewer of other people’s performances is now about to leap out of the critic’s seat and onto the boards himself. Continue reading
The executive editor of the National Enquirer writes an oped.
What will it take to wrench America back to the principles and ideals that seemed immutable in the mid-twentieth century? We believed in America the Beautiful because it really was, before the oil spilled, the great forests fell to loggers’ saws and strip miners decapitated the mountains. We believed in Justice and Freedom even as the South lived under the rule of Jim Crow, much of the North had de facto segregation and the Greatest Generation fought World War II in segregated units. Fifty years ago we were bloodied by the struggle for civil rights. In the following decade women fought for the privileges men had always enjoyed.
Was there ever a time when the rich were considerate of the poor and politicians weren’t corrupt? Were we ever less venal than other countries? Were we ever justified in feeling morally superior to the rest of the world? Despite the self-deception (or lack of self-awareness) that blinded us to the inequities all around us, we believed that American democracy would save us and show the way to the rest of the world. We strived to form a more perfect Union.
A “historian’s dream” and a “diplomat’s nightmare.” British historian and columnist Timothy Garton Ash succinctly framed the duality inherent in the latest data dump of over 250,000 classified American diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks, an organization dedicated to exposing official secrets, announced it will release them in stages over the coming months. The first week saw the publication of 800-plus documents. At this rate, it will take over five years before we have them all.
We’ve seen but a very small fraction of the State Department’s confidential communications, yet a great debate is raging between those who condemn WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, for destroying the trust and credibility of the foreign service to America’s peril, and others, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who believe the exposure may be embarrassing and awkward, but not significant, because very little has been published that wasn’t either known or assumed before.