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Dear Son: I’m Spinning In My Grave


Portrait of NYTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr

A message from the ancestors of NYTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr

What the hell are you thinking? Is your memory really that short? Your male pride that excessive? Or your desire to become the pet of the government that irresistible?

I gotta tell you, Junior. When the rumors first surfaced up here on Wednesday, I had my doubts. My own flesh and blood – practically weaned on the First Amendment and exposed to countless applications of its tenets throughout his life – had just fired the Times’ first female editor because… she’s pushy???

Son, just what the hell do you think the Times’ consistent Progressive stance, maintained throughout my tenure as publisher for almost 30 years, was all about? You think I published the Pentagon Papers for my health? Oy.

You do realize that newspapers have always played a key role in our society in general and politics in particular — right? Because from what I’ve seen and heard about your tenure, I really can’t be sure anymore. I should have had my suspicions back when your colleagues nicknamed you “Pinch.”

And today, this tripe about Abramson’s management style. Really? Do you have any concept of how that looks to women? For Christ’s sake, pushy, abrupt — wait, make that tyrannical — male editors are the stuff of journalism legend! And you fire the first woman in the role at our once-great paper over management style? To put it in the current vernacular, son, WTF?

Maybe the other storyline is accurate, that you were pressed by government officials to replace her. At least that wouldn’t offend an entire gender; it would merely subvert the Times’ mission of government watchdog to that of Administration lapdog.

Either way, son, I am EXTREMELY disappointed in this decision. In less than three years Abramson brought you eight Pulitzers. She was righting the ship. Did you seriously expect that to be anything like smooth sailing, given its chronic foundering with you at the helm?

In less than a generation you’ve managed to rip apart what took me, your grandparents, and MY grandparents several generations to build. Not merely an organization, but its reputation.

Please, son. Make at least this one thing right.

— Punch

Photo by Financial Times released under a Creative Commons license.

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Anthony Noel

Anthony Noel