Jill Abramson, the now-fired New York Times executive editor, was paid less than her male predecessor, according to a report from the New Yorker.
This, coming from an organization that champions the left's "equal pay" rhetoric.
But why was Abramson paid less than her male predecessor? Was it sexism?
In this case, no.
Abramson was paid less than her predecessor, Bill Keller, because she had been with the Times “far fewer years” than him.
“[Times publisher Arthur] Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity,” the New Yorker reported.
There it is. The paper was struggling -- as it has been for several years -- and Abramson had not been with the company as long as Keller.
Oh, and when Abramson complained about the discrepancy — the Times fixed it.
Where Abramson did have a better claim of discrimination was an issue involving a male deputy managing editor that made more money than her when she was managing editor. Whether the discrepancy came from overt sexism or was another question of experience with the company is unknown. But still, a deputy probably shouldn’t make more than the boss, regardless of the amount of time they’ve worked for the company.
Those continuing to fly the flag of pay discrimination will look to Abramson as a prime example — but they’d be wrong.
Equal pay for equal work still has to take into account experience and talent. Abramson did a lot of good work at the Times, but was she better than her predecessor? The New Yorker report seems to indicate that Abramson was difficult to work with. Even some women had problems with her.
Equal pay advocates need to take caution when holding Abramson up as a victim rather than a less-experienced worker at a struggling company who clashed with employees.