Former executive editor for the New York Times Jill Abramson created headlines last month when she admitted that her former paper has become “unmistakably anti-Trump.” She appeared on The View Wednesday to talk about this very topic, detailed in her new book, “Merchants of Truth.” But co-host Joy Behar was visibly peeved that Abramson was out speaking about the Times in an unfavorable way and grilled her about her motives for doing so.
Before this, the conservative-leaning co-hosts asked Abramson about how Americans could trust the media, and if the Times was “guilty of liberal bias.”
Abramson wouldn’t go so far as to say her former paper was biased, but if they are “anti-Trump,” what else would you call it?
I don't know that I'd use the word bias but there's no question that The New York Times is a liberal paper. It's headquartered in New York. It reflects the interests of people who live on the blue coasts of this country. Sometimes I think it's a matter of just there are too many Trump stories all at once…
Abramson was more concerned about the media’s knee-jerk reaction to Trump’s tweets.
“The thing most of all, rather than political bias that worries me, is the news media is so reactive to President Trump and all of his tweets.” She added, “He knows how to manipulate the news media. He is the master.”
After co-host Meghan McCain wondered how NYT reporters could relate to middle America, Abramson admitted that reporters often reflected the liberal viewpoints they agreed with, but that when she was there, they opened bureaus in other parts of the country. Joy Behar was getting visibly irritated throughout these exchanges and gushed, “You're not saying that The New York Times blurs the front page with the opinion page, are you?”
“No,” Abramson struggled to respond, adding, “I find in a certain kind of story that's usually labeled news analysis that some of the conclusions that are written border on opinion.”
She went on to argue that Twitter was the real problem, because journalists let their “unmeasured” opinions be known on that platform, which led to distrust from “Red America” readers. Behar took that as her opportunity to ask Abramson if she had ulterior motives for writing this book:
BEHAR: In 2014 I believe they fired you, right?
BEHAR: I'm not saying this is true. I'm just asking for a friend, do you have an axe to grind?
Abramson rambled on about how she’s always idolized the paper, growing up in the city and had no axe to grind, even weirdly complimenting the person who fired her, as the hosts quickly wrapped up the interview and cut to commercial.