If you just picked up the Jill Abramson story this week, you might think her dismissal from the New York Times sparked a national conversation about the stigma that surrounds being fired. Abramson already “broke her silence” by giving a commencement speech less than a week after leaving The Times, but now she’s finally making the media rounds. (And even sounding off on Girls in Cosmo.) On Wednesday night she made her first TV appearance since her firing, sitting down with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
While they touched on sexism, Abramson seemed far more focused on setting an example for everyone who’s lost a job they loved. The word “fired” was uttered dozens of times, and Van Susteren pointed out that she wasn’t using the word “former” at the interviewee’s request. “I’ve devoted my whole career to truth-telling, so why hide that?” Abramson said.
While Van Susteren asked an obligatory question about The Times‘ alleged liberal bias (Abramson insisted that’s “dead wrong”) the interview was very friendly. It helped that Abramson mainly focused on a topic Fox News viewers could appreciate: The Obama administration’s lack of transparency.
The conversation about Abramson’s former employer wasn’t nasty either, but she admitted that her dismissal was “hurtful,” and she didn’t see it coming. “But I would say I had my bumps and some difficult situations with some of the people I worked for,” she explained. When asked why exactly she was fired, she noted that others have pointed to her management style. “I’m a hard-charging editor and I’m sure that there were some people who worked for me that didn’t like that style,” she said, adding that she thinks many other people “liked the fact that I was a stand-up editor.”
When asked about sexism, she initially pivoted to firings in general. “Plenty of guys get fired, plenty of editors and news executives that I think were distinguished have lost their jobs in this media environment,” she said. But while it seems Abramson is mainly interested in being the poster girl for post-firing resilience, she’ll accept some feminist anger on her behalf. “What I do think, broadly, is that definitely women in leadership roles are scrutinized constantly and sometimes differently than men,” she said.