News Bitch Hunt
posted by March 22 at 16:30 PMon
Seattle Weekly’s managing editor, Mike Seely, worked as a campaign staffer for Maria Cantwell during the 2000 election. From that experience, he came away with some simply jaw-dropping analysis (stuff you’d never expect from a 30-something frat boy): Cantwell’s a bitch.
Seely wrote a column about Cantwell’s infamous personality (it’s actually conventional wisdom that, gasp, the Senator is difficult to work for), and he recently handed off his she’s-a-bitch analysis to a new Seattle Weekly reporter, Aimee Curl, to do a big story on it. (You go, sister. Get that bitchy Senator.)
How do you get that story? How do you prove Cantwell’s a bitch? Well, the only factual way to get at it would probably be tracking staff turnover. And that’s what the Weekly tried to do, reporting, for example, that Cantwell has had five legislative directors in six years.
What the Weekly didn’t do, however, is compare Cantwell’s staff turnover to others’ in Washington’s delegation?
We used a research site called US.gallerywatch.com to track top staff turnover at the offices of our two Senators (Cantwell and Patty Murray) and three longtime Western Washington Reps. Jay Inlsee, Jim McDermott, and Brian Baird.
Well, it turns out, the real bitch of the Washington bunch is Rep. Baird (D-3, Southwestern WA), whose rate of turnover is 44% above the average. According to Gallery Watch, Baird has lost at least 12 staffers since he started: three legislative directors; two schedulers; four press secretaries; and three chiefs of staff. (We did not include any turnover from Baird’s current term because that would have given us a bigger time frame than Cantwell’s—he’s been in office two years longer.)
According to Gallery Watch, Cantwell has lost nine staffers herself since she started—which puts her, along with Baird, above the average 7.6-staffer turnover rate for our sample going back to the 106th Congress.
One has to wonder, though—with Baird coming in 44% above the average turnover rate and Cantwell coming in at 18% over the turnover rate—why is Cantwell the subject of SW’s bitch hunt?
It couldn’t have anything to do with her being a woman could it?