Tuesday, May 19, 2009
When I read the news about Maureen Dowd on Monday morning, I was speechless.
OK, OK. So I would have been speechless even if I hadn't read the news about Maureen Dowd.
My point is that hearing that my favorite newspaper columnist had inserted a whole paragraph from a popular blogger into her Sunday piece on Waterboardgate in the New York Times, without attribution, shocked and awed me.
In her Sunday Times column titled "Cheney, Master of Pain," Dowd wrote:
"More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”
In the TPM blog three days earlier, Josh Marshall wrote:
“More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”
It didn't take long for the whiff of plagiarism to rise.
And it took just a jiffy for Dowd to leap to her own defense. In an email to Huffington Post, which links to the TPM blog, Dowd insisted that she never read Marshall's blog, but acquired the line about torture from a friend, "and I wanted to weave the idea into my column."
And then, in a Times correction published on Monday, the Grey Lady with the Red Face admitted that Maureen mirrored Marshall in her column. The incident even made the national news roundup in Monday's Los Angeles Times.
Ironies are sprouting like kudzu!
It was Dowd who unveiled then-presidential contender Joe Biden's plagiarism of a British politician more than 20 years ago.
One month ago, Dowd criticized the CEO of Google for "hijacking journalism" by freeloading from print media, and wanting "to profit so profligately from newspaper content at a time when journalism is in such jeopardy."
And four years ago, Dowd published a book asking "Are Men Necessary?"
Well, who's hijacking whom?
And while Dowd may stand by her 2005 book's hypothesis that "men are now the weaker sex," that didn't prevent her from reaching into a certain male blogger's bag of prose to help her flesh out an 800-word column on one of her signature topics.
I still love Mo D and will keep plunking down a buck-fifty on the counter of my local 7-11 to read her in the Times.
But now I see cracks in Dowd's ruby-red lipstick and will wonder if "Dowd" isn't just shorthand for Dittohead.
Dowd's deed doth disappoint.