"I've known Arianna Huffington since the early '90s in Washington — she is an inventive person," said Abramson in an interview Thursday with CNN. "I certainly don't want to be in a war with her."
Abramson was grilled on last night's "John King, USA" program, hours after the Times named her the paper's first-ever female editor.
When asked by national political correspondent Jessica Yellin if sites like the Huffington Post were hurting journalism, Abramson replied, "I wouldn't go that far. I think the aggregation of pieces of journalism that other news organizations have paid dearly to get the story, get it right, tell the story behind the story poses a threat to us in some ways. But I respect the fact that an awful lot of people like to read that way."
This is a major shift in thinking at the top of the Times masthead, given that Keller wrote a column for the paper in March slamming aggregators like Huffington. "In Somalia, this would be called piracy," he wrote.
Abramson also dutifully refuted the notion that new aggregators and other online journalism outlets, including the Times' own popular Internet home, will soon make the print edition of her paper obsolete.
"There are 840,000 people who pay a lot of money for the privilege of getting the print paper every day," she said. "I think that audience is going to survive for quite some time."