Former New York Times newsroom boss defends Dean Baquet, says readers want tough coverage of President Trump

Days after a leaked transcript of an internal meeting at The New York Times between the executive editor and staffers caused controversy for exposing a controversial strategy for covering the White House, former Times newsroom boss Jill Abramson told Fox News the paper's readers want tough reporting on President Trump.

Praising current Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet for “doing a brilliant job” presiding over the meeting, Abramson told "America's Newsroom" Wednesday  the “circumstances, in terms of covering the White House, [are] more difficult than when I was executive editor.”

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“Let’s face it, [Baquet] is criticized all the time by you at Fox News and conservatives for being way too hard on Trump and being biased against him and yet its readership, which is quite liberal, wants the paper to be even tougher on President Trump,” said Abramson, who became the Times executive editor in 2011 and was replaced by Baquet when she was fired three years later.

Abramson said she was “impressed” that Baquet explained to his staff “that the job of The New York Times is first and foremost to be independent and to hold power accountable and to report the news accurately. Not everybody at the Times was thrilled about hearing that. But I think that’s exactly right.”

Abramson denied the notion that Baquet said he would cover Trump as a racist, saying it’s a “mischaracterization.”

“What he was explaining was that the paper had been set up to cover a deep investigative story out of Washington and now they were pivoting to coverage of the general election, where the job of The New York Times is to be out in the country, figuring out how people feel and what they think. It was not telling people to get ready to cover a racist administration,” she said.

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Abramson insisted that The New York Times covers Trump fairly, though the president himself “makes it very difficult to cover him.”

“How do you cover a president who, according to the Washington Post, just this week, has said (he made) more than 10,000 falsehoods, or misstatements, or outright lies?”