The episode electrified the newsroom, and details of what staffers described as “the altercation” — Baquet called it “a disagreement” — spread to other Times bureaus. But once the story had made the rounds, it wasn’t Baquet the staffers were griping about. It was Abramson.

In recent months, Abramson has become a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times newsroom. More than a dozen current and former members of the editorial staff, all of whom spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, described her as stubborn and condescending, saying they found her difficult to work with. If Baquet had burst out of the office in a huff, many said, it was likely because Abramson had been unreasonable…

Just a year and a half into her tenure as executive editor, Abramson is already on the verge of losing the support of the newsroom. Staffers commend her skills and her experience but question whether she has the temperament to lead the paper. At times, they say, her attitude toward editors and reporters leaves everyone feeling demoralized; on other occasions, she can seem disengaged or uncaring…

Caricature or portrait, such feelings are starting to drain morale in a newsroom that is already anxious about the changing nature of the media industry and scarred by the recent round of buyouts, which saw the departure or reassignment of many high-level editors. To add insult to injury, Abramson has been notably absent — or “AWOL,” as several staffers put it — at key periods when the Times required leadership.

“The Times is leaderless right now,” one staffer said. “Jill is very, very unpopular.”