05/23/2014 09:43 am ET Updated May 23, 2014

Jill Abramson's Firing Was About Gender. And Also Not About Gender.

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When it comes to identity politics in America, we’re always asking the wrong questions. It happened when people talked about Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President of the United States. It happened when people talked about Christine Quinn’s run for Mayor of New York. And it’s been happening, more or less non-stop, as critics and reporters perform forensics on Jill Abramson’s 32 months as executive editor of The New York Times.

The stories are different, but the template remains the same. It’s one we developed in 2008, when Clinton couldn’t lose until she lost. In the wake of her exit from the race, the media erupted in stories that seemed to pivot on one simple question: Did Hillary lose because of sexism?

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