Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Thu May 15, 2014 9:00 pm

In fact, Jill Abramson and her lawyers are contemplating a suit against the Times based on Abramson's claim that the Times was paying her.less than previous executive editors have been.paid. And a recent study revealed that the female.White House employees are paid 12% less than the males. If two bastions of liberal enlightenment -- The New York Times and the Obama White House -- are sexist, then who isn't?
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Thu May 15, 2014 10:42 pm

Interesting items, but I'm not seeing either thing in any of the news reports today (or last week).

I wasn't aware that Abramson or her lawyers had made a statement on her intentions. I just checked and don't see the reference anywhere. According to most sources I saw (Washington Post, CNN and the LA Times -- I looked at the NY Times website but consider them biased) it is reported the dispute was more over the direction and management of the newsroom and conflicts with the owners. Where did you get the item regarding pay?

(And there may be legitimate reasons for the pay discrepancy, depending upon what the sources cite.)

And where did you get the stats regarding the White House pay schedule? There are a bunch if possible variables, so would want to see their sources and approach before commenting.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Thu May 15, 2014 11:40 pm

The piece on unequal pay for female White House emiyees appeared on April 3rd in -- well waddaya know -- The New York Times:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/us ... ?referrer=

On Jill Abramson's salary being less than her male predecessors, and her possible suit against the Times:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... alary.html

... as well as reporting in The New Yorker, Forbes, the International Business Times, the Washington Post, and much more.

A Republican War on Women? The left's hypocrisy has no bounds.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Fri May 16, 2014 6:16 am

Thank you, looking forward to reading these once the morning coffee kicks in. I checked the Post and only saw an oblique reference.

I am wondering, however, if it isn't a case of negotiated salary and accepted salary in Abramson's case. At her executive level it's very rare that you're given a salary figure and told to take it or leave it. Plus, is she referring to starting salary, or salary when her predecessors left? Hopefully the articles are clear.

My own salary, in my first year in my current job, is less than my predecessor's. Perhaps I ought to sue as well.

Again, hope the articles are clear on the difference.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Fri May 16, 2014 8:25 am

Okay, this is why Mark Twain made the comment that there are "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".

In your rush to condemn liberals, you missed a number of points made in both articles.

First, you missed the story entirely with the White House pay issue. It isn't that women are paid less, it's that there are fewer women in executive (and therefore more highly paid) positions. That IS an issue and valid criticism, but the pay is a deliberate red herring. I completely agree they should do better by putting women in executive roles, and am not sure why such an easy conclusion was missed by the writers of the article.

Secondly, as I suspected there are missing facts regarding Abramson's pay. This is a he said, she said...and she never said anything. All speculation. However her publisher did release the following clues:

"It is simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors," Sulzberger wrote in a memo obtained by The Huffington Post.

"Her pay is comparable to that of earlier executive editors," he continued. "In fact, in 2013, her last full year in the role, her total compensation package was more than 10% higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as Executive Editor, which was 2010. It was also higher than his total compensation in any previous year.

Sulzberger said that comparisons between executive editors was difficult because pension benefits are based on years at the Times and the plans themselves were frozen in 2009. He also insisted that compensation didn't play a part in the decision to fire her and promote managing editor Dean Baquet as her successor.

"The reason – the only reason – for that decision was concerns I had about some aspects of Jill’s management of our newsroom, which I had previously made clear to her, both face-to-face and in my annual assessment," he said.


The key is "total compensation package", which measures total benefit -- pay, deferred pay (pension, 401k), benefits, etc -- in the mix.

Was her salary lower? Perhaps, though nobody has said anything specifically. My salary is lower than my predecessor. Ought I claim sexism? Of course not.

Again, in your rush to show liberal hypocrisy...which DOES exist...you're missing the mark here. And as far as the war on women? If you'd care to discuss medical issues, House of Representatives votes on reproductive rights, or any of a handful of other issues, I'd be happy to engage.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Fri May 16, 2014 10:11 am

Steve, I'm just wondering if you'd be so willing to accept Abramson's publisher's explanation for her discrepancy in salary if her boss wasn't the New York Times but, say, Wal-Mart. Interesting that you're taking management's side in this conflict. Imagine the flak I'd get here if I did the same with another female employee in another situation.

The fact that there's a dearth of women in executive positions in the White House.perfectly mirrors the situation in America at large, and hence is responsible for the disparity.in wages between men and women that the part is so exercised about.

Personally I have a hunch that part of Abramson's departure is attributable to her personality, which I've been observing for over twenty years, when she was pushing her book which eviscerated Clarence Thomas. (That she's been replaced by an African-American editor may be poetic justice.) The moment I heard she was made Executive Editor of the Times I thought, "Surely this is the boss from hell." I gave her a year at most. I'm astonished she lasted as long as she did.

For the record, some of the best bosses I ever had were women.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Fri May 16, 2014 10:39 am

As Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post said today, "When you've got the first woman editor of the Times getting a salary that's less than her male predecessors' and she complains about it and is then fired shortly after, at the very least you've got an atmospherics problem."
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri May 16, 2014 11:34 am

IMO this is less of s gender issue thsn it is an issue of corporate prerogative. It is still against many coporate policies for workers to discuss pay. That's right, companies all over the spectrum can fire either gender for just telling anyone they work with what they get paid.

So, if I can't even be sure I'm making what other women in my position are making, how the hell can I make sure men aren't making more? It's one reason the Lilly Leadbetter Act was so important. It was a small step forward.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby markabaddon » Fri May 16, 2014 1:12 pm

Robert, we don't know each other but others on the board can confirm that my job is to manage Compensation for a large University & I have been doing this for many years. The issue of gender pay inequity is a real one, but it is generally not statistically valid to use one data point to draw a conclusion. Yes, it is true that her pay was less than her predecessors, but there are many factors that enter into that equation, including past experience, technical expertise, and length of service.

The Lilly Ledbetter Act is hugely important (and by the way, hi Lori), but (and I confess I have not read it for a while), I am fairly certain it looks at overall trends within a company, such as if there are 50 engineers within a company and they are paid 10% less than male counterparts who do the same work.

Looking at exec pay data can get wobbly because you do not have enough data points to draw a trend line
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Fri May 16, 2014 1:31 pm

I'm sure that right now the owners of the New York Times are saying exactly that...
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Fri May 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Robert Nason wrote:I'm sure that right now the owners of the New York Times are saying exactly that...



That's a little unfair to the points being made by Lori and Mark, all of which are valid. You earlier asserted I was taking the Management's line. Surprise: Abramson was Management. I was stating truims according to current standard corporate practices. Abramson would have negotiated a salary, and whether that was higher or lower than her predecessors is largely irrelevant if we don't know the remainder of her compensation package. Was she due a bonus based on circulation numbers? Was she compensated with company stock? We already know the company pension was frozen in 2009, which automatically skews the percentile.

Lori is correct that discussing salaries is highly frowned upon, regardless of gender. We all make our own deals. There is no obligation for the company to disclose how others are compensated so long as they adhere to a set guideline for a position (a scale of some kind). If Abramson came in at the low end, then the company felt her background, not her gender, reflected it.

Then, as Mark attempted to demonstrate, salary is only one -- though major -- element of compensation in corporate America. And we also have considerable background, both independent and Corporate, indicating ongoing problems with her style of management. All of the pay gap commentary is based on a single assertion from writer Ken Auletta at The New Yorker, who himslef only references "I'm told".


Then, to add insult to injury, you're holding this up as an example of Leftist hypocrisy, which is an even-further-from-the-mark allegation.



Several weeks ago, I'm told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs.


To jump to a conclusion that Abramson herself has not even publicly commented upon is kind of like declaring the Universe is 10,000 years old because the Bible says so. It foregoes a vast amount of evidence in the intent to arrive at one specific conclusion.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Fri May 16, 2014 3:03 pm

Steve, I just wonder why all this intricate and detailed analysis is dismissed when offered as an explanation of why women make less money than men in all other discussions. In fact women are less likely to ask for higher salaries, less likely to ask for raises, less likely to leave a secure job for a riskier one that offers more money, more likely to choose a position that offers less
money but more personal satisfaction...and so on. Multiply that by millions and you see why there's a gap between men and women's wages -- not the feminist ideologues' "75% of what men earn" but actually 95% of what men earn according to the Dept. of Labor's statistics. If you want to change that, you're going to have to change women; a feminist would say you have to change men too. Probably you'll have to change both men and women, and culture as well. Good luck with that.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Fri May 16, 2014 5:15 pm

Robert -

It's simply this: you have an issue which is of deep importance to a lot of people and we recognize it as a significant and ongoing problem. Women do not earn as much as men, nor do they have as much opportunity. It's better than it was, but not nearly where it needs to be.

Then, in order to demonstrate "Liberal Hypocrisy", you pounce upon a woman who is not representative of the issue in an effort to score political points. HAD you made the example a woman who works at WalMart for a pittance and is fired under the same circumstances, you bet I'd be on your side. But in this case, when you're arguing sexism when there is an example of only ONE well-compensated woman, you're doing a disservice to the argument that there's something unfair in the way America treats its women.

What you are doing, at least from my perspective, is clicking your tongue on a singular issue which, to you, demonstrates that everyone on the left are hypocrites. This "poor" woman, who could have been fired for any number of other circumstances, found out she was making less income -- in some way yet uncodified by anyone making the argument -- than her predecessor (and denied by the employer), MUST have been fired because she was uppity enough to ask for more money. It couldn't be because she has=d a three-year history of clashes with her boss. The fact it was so sudden indicates to me there was a specific incident that triggered the firing, rather than a simple wish to move her out.

(I've been in management and have had to fire people of both sexes. You don't get this kind of sudden termination without a specific action/reaction.)

Part of being an uninvolved observer -- or a good journalist, for that matter -- is understanding that in this sort of situation people are trying to score political points by claiming something that is not in evidence. It is, at best, rumormongering.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Fri May 16, 2014 5:51 pm

Steve,

Christina Hoff Sommers is an academic for whom this issue is as important as it is for anyone:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... n-men.html
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Fri May 16, 2014 7:40 pm

Robert Nason wrote:Steve,

Christina Hoff Sommers is an academic for whom this issue is as important as it is for anyone:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... n-men.html


You're ducking my points and trying to deflect the core here. It's not the issue itself, on which we (evidently) agree. Women aren't paid as well as men. It's a statistical fact.

However, you posted all of this originally as an example of leftist hypocrisy, and tried to implicate me in that mix. It's the way you're using it as a way to score political points against evil Libruhls by concocting an example out of an unclear situation that I take exception.

Let's stick to the examples you provided, which were Abramson and The White House, both of which I maintain are red herrings to inflict political damage rather than legitimate examples of women being discriminated against.
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