Pro-Israel Group and Men’s Rights Activist Jump on Jill Abramson Story

Billboard outside the Times' office compares Abramson firing to Middle East 'bias'

Some unlikely outside groups are starting to jump on the buzz-worthiness of the New York Times’ firing of Jill Abramson as a way to push their agendas.

This morning, an organization called the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), posted a billboard on a building just outside the Times’ offices that reads: "The New York Times: Unfair to Jill Abramson? Definitely unfair to Israel."

The sign appears to be part of CAMERA's larger "Stop the Bias" campaign against the Times' alleged anti-Israel bent in its coverage of the Middle East. On its website, the group claims that the newspaper "treats Israel with a harsher standard, omits context, and shows a clear preference for the Palestinian narrative." (CAMERA includes a long list of grievances on its site.)

The Abramson billboard isn't the first that CAMERA has installed outside the Times' offices. Earlier this year, the group posted a sign claiming that the Times was "slant[ing] the news against Israel" by "misrepresenting facts," "omitting key information" and "skewing headlines and photos."

The "men's rights" movement has also managed to provide its own spin on Abramson's firing, despite the fact that coverage of the story has more commonly focused on questions of anti-female gender bias and equal pay in the workplace. Yesterday, the New York Post's Page Six published a column by longtime gossip writer Richard Johnson claiming that Abramson "might have been fired—at least in part—because she was systematically getting rid of male editors and replacing them with women."

Johnson went on to quote the National Center for Men founder Mel Feit: "The New York Times has a point of view: 'Women are victims, we need to remedy that, we need to promote them preferentially.'" To this, Johnson himself added, "But Abramson went too far in some eyes. The victims were the talented, hardworking male editors who were forced out, or passed over, in Abramson’s campaign of affirmative action."

Gawker writer Michelle Dean, apparently intrigued by this rather contrarian take on the issue, discussed it further with Feit. After admitting that he's "not an expert in journalism," Feit went on to offer up such nuggets of wisdom as,  "I think there's a sexual caste system…women are increasingly occupying the glamorous intellectual jobs, men are occupying the jobs that are dirty and deadly and dangerous." He later added, "maybe [Abramson] was hiring women who are very sympathetic to men, but it doesn't seem that way."