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Former New York Times editor rips ‘narcissistic’ paper: ‘It’s making horrible mistakes’

Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, criticized the paper on Twitter and in comments to The Daily Beast. Abramson said she believes the Times is an essential organization in media, and she wants it to remember its mission. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women)

A former New York Times editor unleashed a torrent of unfiltered criticism on her old employer on Twitter and in an email to The Daily Beast.

Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the Times, said the paper needs a "course correction" and knocked it for being too self-absorbed.

"I fear sounding like a jealous old-timer. I've resisted critiquing the place publicly, but this s*** is bad," Abramson wrote to The Daily Beast.

Abramson was fired from her post in 2014, a move former publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said was to "improve some aspects of the management for the newsroom."

What did Abramson say?

Abramson compared The New York Times' situation to one she had with her son years ago:

"I'm feeling about the NYT now like I did when my son cheated on a test in 10th grade. I loved him to death, believed he was a thoroughly wonderful young man, but he needed a course correction. So I left my desk at The NYT, where I was the DC Chief, met his school bus and read him the riot act. He needed a course correction. So does the NYT...it's making horrible mistakes left and right."

She went on to list a few particular examples:

  • The lack of coverage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leading up to her primary upset of incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York.

  • An in-depth feature on NYT reporter Ali Watkins, who is involved in an investigation related to her relationship with a former high-level staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she covered.
  • An upcoming television show planning to focus on NYT journalists.

Abramson called the television show "more narcissism" by The Times.

"It's always about us," she wrote to The Daily Beast. "Yikes. Distance is part of journalism's discipline."

Is Abramson angry with The Times?

Abramson said she doesn't harbor anger toward the Times for her firing. She even attended Sulzberger's retirement party. But she said that she believes the Times is an essential organization in media, and she wants it to remember its mission.

"It's not about us," said Abramson, who teaches creative writing at Harvard. "It's about the world, and covering the world."

(H/T Business Insider)

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