'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable II

Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan, Rep. Keith Ellison and Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm on the executive editor of the NY Times fired this week.
5:47 | 05/18/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable II
to get the job done. "The New York times" has fired its top editor, Jill Abramson. She's out. Some say it's because she thought she wasn't paid the same wage of men in her position. Some reports have suggested that bosses and underlings found her too pushy, which as we all know, can be a loaded turn. What "The times" has done is undermined their reporters and handled this phenomenally bad. "The New York times," exploding on the front page, after the first female editor in its history, Jill Abramson, fired by the publisher, Arthur sulzberger. Some reports that she was not paid as much as her predecessor, bill Keller. This has drawn a sharp response from the publisher. He said -- I decided Jill could no longer remain as executive editor for reasons having nothing to do with pay or gender. Ultimately, I concluded she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back. Jennifer grand Granholm, Mr. Sulzberger having a hard time convincing a lot of women, particularly women in the media, that this is true. They handled this totally poorly. And he comes out today with a whole other series of stories from people who are supportive to him, sort of leaked through. And my guess is, she's going to come back, perhaps with some other stories. Maybe there is a lawsuit in this. But the reality is, for every female journalist, she knows very well that across the board, women journalists make less than men. 83% of the male salaries, what the female journalists make, according to an Indiana study. To me, this is just an example of something. The reason why this has been so hot is because it's so -- it touches a nerve that is so real for women. Yeah. You see it. A lot of women say -- when a woman displays the same kind of temperament issues that men display, being brusque or rough a little bit, around the edges, they get punished. But Arthur sulzberger's response was, what this shows is that women are fired, sometimes, just as men are. Well, that's reasonable enough. And yet, somehow, the attention and criticism I think was focused on the woman in this story, Jill. And not on, say, the fellow who runs the paper, who has had a heck of a lot of executive editors in the past decade who has hired them and who has fired them. So, perhaps there's some temperament going on there. You know? We don't know the exact facts. It seems to me, all of the exact facts about money. But has there been a little pushing around of a woman here? I suspect so. Well, here's what's real. You know, it's not just journalism. Women on average are paid less in every sector. And when women are assertive and commanding leadership, people call them names like pushy. Nancy Pelosi has been remarkably successful as a speaker. John Boehner hasn't gotten anywhere close. And yet, people don't draw the comparison. And she gets roughed up by the right a lot. I guess we just see it too much to isolate this from so many other things where women are just -- even in the low-wage workers, minimum wage workers. Women would benefit more if we raise the minimum wage. Whether it's at the top of the scale or the bottom, it's just not there. I love the idea that the liberal lead is not very worried about the persecution of Jill Abramson who made only $750,000 a year, last year at "The new York times." I mentioned the minimum wage workers. Yeah. Let's mention -- The point is -- I think you should be more upset about Arthur sulzberger. He's the one that lost -- he can have a conversation with his masthead colleagues. Why does he run "The New York times"? Because he inherited it. Shouldn't you be upset about that? Upset about the top 1%. If they can treat Jill Abramson this way, what about the other women? What about the younger journalists? What about -- it's a real problem. And it's sort of a symbol -- Who is the they? Who is the they that's treating them that way? Arthur salzburger. It's not a limited thing. It's a societal problem we must confront. Not one of the top ten newspapers around the country are run by women now. That's the thing. This is a systemic issue. Look at the CEOs of the fortune 500 companies. There's only five women who are governors in this country. It is just a systemic problem. But the issue about her pay. He can say she was let go for other reasons. But he can't explain the pay issue. I mean, from the Numbers that were released, granted, it's a big salary. No question about it. But it's a systemic issue from the top to the bottom. She was earning $475,000. Her predecessor was earning $559,000. She was earning $100,000 less when she was the bureau chief of the Washington, D.C. Office than her predecessor. What is going on, that systemically, even very high earners are earning significantly less? If one report is true, she hired a lawyer to make inquiries about that. And that created problems. Yes. Look, you know what I think we're actually talking about? There's a form of power in the world that is, wow, I'm very important right now in this fabulous job. I hire and fire people. I am important. I am powerful. And then, you realize, no. You can be removed tomorrow. The person who owns the institution is the powerful person. And that is part of the inherent unfairness and yet movable factuality of life. It goes back to bill's point. Can I -- Go ahead. We live in a two-income world nowadays. When women are underpaid because of their gender, it hurts the whole family. Men need to get on top of this issue, too. It's a problem for all of us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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