Saturday, November 10, 2007

Racism and Sexism at the `New York Times' Historically

During the 1970s, the New York Times was sued by its African-American employees who charged the Sulzberger Dynasty’s newspaper with “racial discrimination in hiring, job classification, salaries and other issues,” according to Fit To Print: A.M. Rosenthal And His `Times’ by Joseph Goulden. New York Times managers were accused by New York Times columnist Roger Wilkins in a deposition of running a “racist paper” and the case was eventually settled out-of-court by the Times. The African-American Times employees covered by the settlement received substantially more than $250,000 in legal settlement money.

Although some U.S. women still like to spend their Sundays and their evenings wading through the Sulzberger Dynasty’s New York Times, U.S. women were not treated as equals by the Times during most of the 20th Century. As Women And The Mass Media by Matilda Butler and William Paisley noted in 1980:

“In November 1974, six women sued the New York Times. Approximately one year later, the U.S. District Court ordered that the Times release salary information from its computer tapes. In February 1977, the suit was granted a class action status. One year later, analysis of the computer tapes was submitted to the Federal District Court. Although most findings focus on salaries, the report notes that women are 41 percent of the editors and reporters in the United States. However, they are only 16 percent of the editors and reporters at the Times

“In 1978, the Federal District Court heard testimony that the New York Times pays males more than $3700 more than women. This difference is attributable to sex discrimination…

“When John Aboud analyzed 10 years of salary data from the New York Times, he was able to assess the relative promotion patterns of males and females. He found, for instance, that 84 percent of the women versus 70 percent of the men who were in the lower salary group (one to eight) in 1965 were still there 10 years later. Among those individuals hired in that 10-year period, 71 percent of the women and 49 percent of the men were still in the lower salary levels in 1974.”

(Downtown 4/14/93)

Although the Ochs-Sulzberger Dynasty’s New York Times sometimes poses as being against institutional sexism, the historical practice of the Ochs-Sulzberger Dynasty’s Times in relation to women has never been too democratic. Times publisher Sulzberger’s great-grandfather—Adolph Ochs—“fought personally and in his paper’s editorials against women’s right to vote” and “during the four decades that Adolph Ochs held sway, only four women worked as reporters in the Times’ city room,” according to The Girls In The Balcony: Women, Men and the `New York Times’ by Nan Robertson. The same book also revealed the following news about the Times that is not often seen as being “fit to print” by the editors of the New York Times:

“In 1987 the average salary of men in the news division hired within the previous five years was $13,000 higher than the average salary of women hired during the same period…In 1987 men in the business division with 6 to 10 years of experience earned, on average, $25,000 more than women with the same experience…The masthead, at the top of the editorial page, tells people where the real power lies within the New York Times…By early 1991, only two women were listed there…

“By early 1991 in the newsroom—23 percent of the reporters, correspondents, and critics were women—only 10 percent higher than in 1972, when the women of the Times began organizing. In 1990, the new hires of non-minority women reporters amounted to only 18 percent of the total.”

(Downtown 6/9/93)

Next: The CIA and The 1988 Election of Ex-CIA Director Bush I