Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Jill Abramson Firing: A Story of Income Inequality and Gender Bias?

America's newspapers, especially those that have the most liberal editorial staff, love to write stories and opinion pieces which expose all of the nation's social ills.  This year was no exception when those same liberal news organizations, in following the Obama's politically motivated lead, decided to write an onslaught of stories regarding widespread gender bias and income inequality for women in this country.  So, its almost laughably ironic that the queen of all liberal newspapers, the New York Times (aka the Grey Lady), is ensnared in a controversy of its own gender bias and income inequality with the firing of its first-ever female Executive Editor, Jill Abramson.

Rumors are flying all over the place as to why she was fired.  The New Yorker claims she was terminated for asking to be paid equal to that of her predecessor, Bill Keller.  There's also the rumor that she was let go for stating that this White House is the most secretive she has ever seen in her many years of covering Presidents.  Then, too, feminists believe that there is proof of gender bias because it was reported by The New Yorker that she was ousted for being too "pushy" and "bossy"; two adjectives that would never be used to describe a male.  Lastly, fuel was added to the fire when she was quickly replaced by a man.

Now, I can't address issues of her management style because only the people who worked for her can; and, that has to be a consensus of many and not one or two disgruntled personnel.  Nor do I have any inside track on whether or not her White House comment was the reason for her dismissal, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't partially true.  What I can address is this "equal pay for equal work" nonsense that appears to be swirling around her dismissal and which has been continually stirred up by the President and the Democrats as a means of garnering votes this coming Fall.

The concept of "equal pay for equal work" is too simplistic. It assumes that everybody will do a given job equally.  But, that is a fantasy; especially when you are talking about Abramson's Executive Editor's position at the New York Times which entails deciding what stories will be written and in what order or priority they will be given.  The concept of equal pay completely ignores self initiative and achievement, performance on the job, education and background, seniority, and so many things that determine what someone should be paid in our merit based system of pay.

First of all, there's the experience levels of Bill Keller versus Jill Abramson.  Keller was the "Times" Executive Editor for 8 years before he gave notice that he wanted to leave in 2011.  He apparently was well liked.  Jill was only on the job for 3 years; ultimately ending in a firing.  Keller was also a Pulitzer Prize winner.  So, in essence, Keller should have been paid more for his years of experience and background. That brings us to the reason why American female journalists, in general, are paid less.

According to a recently released study titled "The American Journalist in the digital Age: Key Findings," women journalists are only paid 82% of what their male counterparts are paid; and this is about the same as the general working population of women.  Now, as that report aptly points out, the disparity between men and women is only 2.4% for journalists working less than five years.  But, with 15 to 20 years of work experience, women are paid 21.4% less than men.  While the report gives no direct reason for this, another section titled "Female Journalists Tend To Leave Profession Earlier" indirectly explains the very reason for the increasing pay disparity. Simply, by leaving their profession early, they don't build up their salaries through years of compounding raises. Thus, when averaged in the aggregate, women are paid less.

Lastly, there's the issue of Abramson being replaced by a man.  This is simply ridiculous.  What this implies is that, once a woman is elevated to high level position, all successors should necessarily be  women.  Its like saying, Hillary Clinton should not be President because when Obama leaves he should be replaced by another Black.

New Yorker: Why Jill Abramson Was Fired: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2014/05/why-jill-abramson-was-fired.html

Jill Abramson: 'This is the most secretive White House I have ever dealt with': http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/01/jill-abramson-this-is-the-most-secretive-white-house-181742.html

Did the NY Times Fire Jill Abramson For Being 'Bossy'?: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ruchikatulshyan/2014/05/14/did-the-ny-times-fire-jill-abramson-for-being-pushy/

The American Journalist in the digital Age: Key Findings: http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2014/05/2013-american-journalist-key-findings.pdf

Equal Pay Day Theatrics: A Comedy Or A Tragedy: http://cuttingthroughthefog.blogspot.com/2014/04/national-equal-pay-day-theatrics.html

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