Gloria Steinem Says Jill Abramson's NYT Firing Represents 'Huge Double Standard' (Audio)

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Gloria Steinem

The feminist activist says on a radio show that "people expect better" from the newspaper but argues that it has had a history of gender discrimination.

Gloria Steinem has weighed in on the suggestion that Jill Abramson's firing from the New York Times last week, reportedly due in part to her aggressive behavior, was a case of sexism.

Speaking on the weekly radio show from the Women's Media Center that she co-founded, Steinem calls Abramson's firing a "huge double standard," pointing to difficult male editors at The Times.

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"It's obvious it is a double standard -- a huge, huge double standard. We've all known editors of the New York Times. I'm thinking specifically of Abe Rosenthal, who was so difficult that it was legendary. So it's clear there's a double standard."

But, Steinem adds, there's also a double standard in that "people expect better behavior" from "the paper of record."

"So they are going to engender much, much more anger and outrage and disappointment than say a network or some other journalistic body might," she says. "And they're going to have to deal with this."

She goes on to say that what happened with Abramson reflects a larger problem at The Times.

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"I also think backstage the New York Times has always been extraordinarily hypersensitive," she adds. "It's not a problem of a woman who's being too critical. It's a problem of a newspaper that's incapable of taking criticism … It's both a typical case and a special case. Special in the sense that wherever power is greater, the discrimination against out groups is the greatest."

Steinem along with host Robin Morgan and the show's female roundtable panelists also pointed out instances of gender discrimination on the publishing side at The Times in the past, with Steinem saying, "The New York Times itself has been inherited in a very patriarchal way and dismissed talent within its own family."

Listen to the full show here