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2 Jan, 2019 20:38

Former NYT editor calls out paper of record for ‘anti-Trump’ bias in new book

Former NYT editor calls out paper of record for ‘anti-Trump’ bias in new book

Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson has reportedly slammed the newspaper’s biased coverage of US President Donald Trump in an upcoming book, saying that it is “unmistakably anti-Trump.”

Abramson, who edited the Times from 2011 to 2014, writes in the book titled ‘Merchants of Truth’, that the editors have a business incentive to criticize Trump as much as possible because of its mostly liberal readership.

“Given its mostly liberal audience, there was an implicit financial reward for the Times in running lots of Trump stories, almost all of them negative: they drove big traffic numbers,” writes the veteran journalist, who was also the paper’s first female editor.

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Abramson said in the excerpts, which were first published by Fox News, that despite the fact that some people cancelled their subscriptions to the paper after the 2016 presidential election, the anti-Trump coverage ultimately “inflated subscription orders to levels no one anticipated.”

Abramson also takes a dig at younger “woke” members of the Times staff who believed that “urgent times called for urgent measures” and that the “dangers of Trump’s presidency obviated the old standards” of journalism.

The former editor went even further, suggesting that Dean Baquet, the executive editor at the Times, had turned it into the “opposition party.” She said some of the paper’s news headlines and analysis pieces “contained raw opinion,” something which she said was also true at Times rival the Washington Post.

Abramson has other reasons to be angry at Baquet, however, since it was a heated argument with him over the hiring of another top journalist which led to her firing by then-publisher Arthur Sulzberger. When Sulzberger gave her a press release announcing her resignation, she reportedly told him she would not agree to it and announced she had been fired instead.

Abramson’s candid analysis of the paper’s Trump coverage does not seem to have gone down very well with some current Times employees. Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s current public editor, tweeted that she disagreed with Abramson’s comments and said that “being pro-truth should not be mistaken for being anti-Trump.”

The excerpts split opinion across Twitter in general, however. Conservatives, including Trump’s son Donald Jr., celebrated what they saw as Abramson’s straight-talking and honesty.

Liberals, on the other hand, were more likely to take the Times’ side, suggesting that Abramson had simply been trying to get even after her firing. One even went so far as to suggest that she had become a “Russian asset.”

In the book, Abramson also criticizes the paper's coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, saying that it “made some bad judgement calls” and blew some stories on Trump's opponent “out of proportion.”

But her criticism isn’t just reserved for her former employer. She also calls out Trump for overusing the phrase “fake news,” saying it is a “cheap way of trying to undermine the credibility of the Times’s reporting.”

Following the publication of the excerpts by Fox, however, Abramson appeared to backtrack somewhat on her criticisms of the Times. In an email to Politico, she said the author of the article took her comments “totally out of context” and was trying to “Foxify” her book. She also said that Trump “deserves the tough coverage and he makes it impossible" to follow the old rules of journalism.

Trump has repeatedly hit out at the Times for its coverage of his presidency, calling it the “failing New York Times” on multiple occasions, so it is likely he will welcome at least some of Abramson’s take on the matter.

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