During a sit-down interview with Al Jazeera America’s John Seigenthaler, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson didn’t mince words about her harsh feelings for President Obama, calling his administration the “most secretive White House” that she’d ever covered throughout her journalistic career.
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“I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush’s first term,” Abramson sniped.
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“I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations,” Abramson added. “The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.”
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Abramson may still be harboring ill will towards the president for unceremoniously bumping her as Barnard University’s commencement speaker in March 2012. Abramson had been announced ahead of time to be the featured commencement speaker but the White House called the college and offered up Obama instead which the college promptly accepted, displacing Abramson.
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Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren criticized the president at the time for not being considerate of the New York Times doyenne. “Of course Abramson can’t criticize this – so I will for her and for other women. This is positively rude. I think less of Barnard for “trading up” and of the President for ‘big footing.; He could easily find another college to speak at (I bet he has dozens of open invitations) and Barnard? Well…I would be embarrassed to be part of Barnard.”