Fired New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson continued her media tour on Thursday with a sit-down with Katie Couric for Yahoo News, where they rehashed, once again, the details of her ousting from the news organization.
This time around, Abramson downplayed the gossip that arose after her firing. When Couric referenced Abramson’s former colleague David Carr, who described the newsroom as “Game of Thrones”-like, Abramson shot it down, saying, “Now we’re really in the grassy knoll, Katie, and I don’t want to jump in there with you… It’s a newsroom. Most of the people there are trying to report on great stories. All of this, like, palace intrigue is really not the main event inside The New York Times, it just isn’t.”
Abramson concedes that there are moments at any large news organization that are “interesting to dissect,” but says of the details of her own firing, including whether she was being paid less than male counterparts, “at this point in time, I don’t really see what’s in it to do yet more autopsy on what happened. I see nothing positive in that.”
It’s a curious stance for a woman who’s been hitting multiple media outlets to talk about the very subject she claims to no longer want to talk about.
When confronted with some of the adjectives that people have used to describe her management style, such as mercurial and brusque, Abramson defended her eight years as managing editor and three years as executive editor: “I put out a terrific news report and led the kind of journalism that I believe in. I am hard-charging, I was certainly aware that some people had already described me as tough, and I have high standards. I push very hard for the reporters and editors who worked for me to get the real story, or what I always call the story behind the story. I think a lot of people who worked for me found that inspirational. Some people didn’t like it. That is how it is at every news organization that makes a difference.”
Abramson also refused to blame her firing on gender politics alone. “It’s certainly possible,” she answers Couric’s question of whether a male who exhibited all her personality traits would have been fired too. “I don’t see gender as being the whole explanation by any means.”
And no, says Abramson, she probably won’t write a book about everything that happened, citing that only 20 people would be interested.
However, she clarified why she insists on calling her leaving the company a firing even when publisher Arthur Salzberger, Jr. wanted to keep it amicable: “I have spent my life seeking the truth and reporting on the truth and that’s what happened, and I thought it should be described as it was.”
Also read: Jill Abramson to Teach at Harvard This Fall
The Couric interview comes on the heels of a weeklong media blitz for Abramson. On Tuesday morning she gave an interview to WABC-AM 770’s drive-time radio show, “The Ride Home,” with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby, while an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, conducted six weeks ago, was also published Tuesday. On Wednesday she stopped by Fox News and gave her thoughts to Greta Van Susteren.