The story broke last night at Buzzfeed, and of course I was up to catch it. You know it’s my job now to track and speak out against injustice against women. Meet Liz Benjamin. She’s a New York journalist who’s been working for a number of years, and now she’s Editor-in-Chief at a big New York political blog run by NY1 called State of Politics, and has a weekly show by the same name on YNN. The story, according to Buzzfeed, is that Cuomo aide Richard Bamberger (it’s always Dick, ain’t it?) assembled a 35-page dossier of Benjamin’s work that was construed as critical of the Gov. That’s bad enough, but then this is what happened to that dossier:
Bamberger said the document was prepared for a meeting last fall between Bamberger, generally viewed as the most media-friendly of Cuomo’s aides, and a top Cuomo confidant and campaign pollster, Andrew Zambelli; and senior executives at YNN, a Time Warner Cable subsidariy [sic] that provides local cable news programming to most of New York State, on which Benjamin hosts the public affairs show Capitol Tonight, also the title of her blog.
Bolding mine. The paragraph, like the article, is sloppily written (and filled with typos) and it’s necessary to parse what actually went down. He took this dossier to her bosses so he could go over and complain about every inch of it with them. To what purpose, we can’t know right now. Was it to get her fired? Or just reign her in? I’m calling this as a significant case of sexism and an example of why Obama and his brand of Democratic politics must be stopped in its tracks. Don’t think this was a case sexism, huh? Think maybe there are other dossiers on other journalists, some of whom might be male? We have a confession straight from the horse’s mouth:
Bamberger said that there are not files on other reporters. He also denied that the Benjamin document constituted a “file.”
So, if this is true, we have a case of a male-heavy, jocular New York governor’s team going after one woman in a sea of male journalists. How does that sit in your craw today? It’s sticking all up in mine.
Even if you aren’t convinced it’s sexism in action, you must admit that it’s a rather authoritarian, bully thing to do. And it paints Cuomo in a creepy light. His team is pushing back hard, with Bamberger simultaneously suggesting it’s a garbage file he threw away and that the leak of it is “dangerous.” Which is it, big boy? It’s only dangerous because you got caught.
The dossier itself is worth checking out. It’s a collection of her articles with snippets highlighted, and if these were the comments Cuomo’s or Bamberger’s complaints centered around, they have to be the thinnest-skinned men in politics alive today. Here’s an example, in a story about the aftereffect of Hurricane Irene:
Cuomo declined to put even a ballpark figure on the cost of the storm clean-up, but he did say there will be “significant” economic impact at the end of the day.
See what I mean about thin-skinned? The dossier is littered with such objections. And Benjamin isn’t exactly a hostile, right-wing journalist. She’s pretty mainstream.
I remember when I used to read stories about Bush and his lackeys doing this sort of thing. I remember one particular scene I read in a biography of Bush himself walking over to a journalist who was dining with his family in the same restaurant as then-Governor Bush and Laura. According to the biography, Bush opened his mouth and out flew a diatribe about the reporters reporting punctuated by threats and f-bombs. Right in front of this guy’s children and his wife. That’s the way Team Bush was with journalists , and anybody who was paying attention knows that the liberal media was compliant with him exactly because the strategy worked. The end result was that Democrats adopted this strategy and now it’s SOP for presidents. Now put that together with Obama’s penchant for beating up on women in the public sphere via his own lackeys.
This is exactly why Obama must be stopped: to stop this fratboy mentality of women as targets. That’s where Team Cuomo got this from, why they thinks it’s justified. Perceiving women as a weak link and attacking them is standard operating procedure with the president, and like with Bush and his creepy authoritarian ways, the danger is that that mindset will trickle down into the mainstream, and be adopted by other politicians. It already is.
Do you want to see a world where men use open sexism and misogyny all the time against every woman running just to win political races? Where it’s literally open season on all women with political or journalistic ambition? Do you want to see a world where women can be attacked at work because they had the audacity to do a good job? Or do you want to stop that crap right now? The only way we work around this, the only way we end it is to vote against Obama as a means to say we reject his politics in addition to his policies. We can’t touch Cuomo yet (though we’ll keep that target in mind), but we have other options this year.
Politics is the most derivative game in the world. Everybody is always trying to imitate somebody else’s successful strategy. Team Cuomo has clearly adopted the strategies of silencing journalists and viewing women as weak and thus target-able. Cuomo is Mr. Progressive to the left. He’s the great white hope. They are dying for him to run & win election in 2016. They already feel way too entitled to call women they disagree with the vilest names and perpetrate the truthiest memes about them. They must be put on notice that they have to clean up their act if they want to win. If they won’t do that, then whatever they want must be denied them, starting with their precious little president.