An upstate New York paper was sent scrambling on Tuesday after it published a piece that mocked Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik for being "childless," an attack Stefanik herself called "hateful, abusive, and heartless."
The piece in the Times Union, titled "Storytime with Elise Stefanik," was an attempt at political satire written in Stefanik's voice and attempted to blame her lack of children on her political ambition. "I myself am childless because I am a rising star in the Republican Party," the piece said. Stefanik in a statement with her husband blasted the decision to publish the "inherently sexist" attack. The statement called for not only a retraction and apology but also an "explanation as to how this was allowed to be published in the Times Union and who will be held responsible and accountable."
Casey Seiler, the editor of the Times Union, told the Washington Free Beacon the piece has now been removed from its website and said it was published due to a lack of oversight of "community-generated blogs" it hosts.
"The Times Union has for years hosted a series of community-generated blogs covering a range of topics," Seiler said in an email. "They are not edited by Times Union staff, but are expected to meet a set of civility guidelines. A post that recently appeared on one of these sites was brought to our attention, and, upon our review, we felt it did not meet those guidelines."
Seiler said that the piece was removed, along with everything else that had been published by authors Lale Davidson and Peter Marino, who are both professors at SUNY Adirondack. Previous posts written on the Times Union by Davidson and Marino, who according to archived pages maintained a regular blog on the site called Out of the Ordinary, now direct to error messages.
Davidson and Marino did not immediately respond to a request for comment. SUNY Adirondack also did not respond to a request.
Stefanik and her husband said the blog post was a "new low" for the paper. Her spokesman said the Times Union had become a "cesspool."
Stefanik's statement also said they are hopeful that they one day will have children. "Like millions of families, we hope and pray that we will be blessed by becoming parents," the statement read.
Published under: Elise Stefanik