Sunday, May 17, 2009

MoDo plagiarizes left-wing blogger!

Good-bye, Maureen Dowd:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in an email to Huffington Post, admits that a paragraph in her Sunday column was lifted from Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall's blog last Thursday. . . .
[I] was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column.
[B]ut, clearly, my friend must have read [J]osh [M]arshall without mentioning that to me.we're fixing it on the web, to give Josh credit, and will include a note, as well as a formal correction tomorrow.
(Hat-tips: Don Surber, Memeorandum.) Her "friend" who gave her the quote was, no doubt, her paid editorial assistant. The New York Times provides all its columnists (including David Brooks, for example) with assistants. This practice is a hold-over from the days when the New York Times actually made money. The purloined paragraph:
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.
This isn't an obscure fact that you ask an editorial assistant to look up. ("Hey, Jennifer, what's the GDP of Botswana? And get me a cup of coffee, hon.") It's a propaganda claim. That Maureen Dowd is paid $300,000 a year and can't even be bothered to come up with her own liberal spin should tell you all you need to know about why the New York Times is slouching toward bankruptcy.

UPDATE: "Oh, to be a JournoList blogger tonight!"

UPDATE II: Ed Driscoll notes the history of "Dowdification." Amazing that she couldn't accurately quote the President of the United States, but she got Josh Marshall word-for-word.

UPDATE III: Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters: "Exit question: what does the friend know, and when did [s]he know it?"

UPDATE IV: Jimmie Bise at Sundries Shack:
I didn't think there was a limit to how many times someone could write a column based around the theme "ZOMG! Dick Cheney is teh suck!"
Dowd's column was part of a pushback against the Pelosi/torture revelations. If you suspect that this pushback was part of an orchestrated effort by Democrats to change the subject, you are a right-wing conspiracy-theorist nutjob.

UPDATE V: Welcome, Cold Fury readers!


  1. MoDo is an anagram of "doom".
    Am I weird for noticing stuff like that?

  2. See there, Smitty? If I were MoDo, I'd lift your comment and use it as if it were something I said myself.

  3. That is, however, one of the better pics of MoDo I've seen lately, which makes me wonder how long it's been out there.

    (Frighteningly, I have a whole Maureen Dowd category, under the name "Warn Mode Due."

  4. You guys are missing the important point about this. It's not that MoDo used the talking point in language virtually identical to Marshall's. It's that there is a talking point making the rounds and the reason for it:

    Now that Cheney has managed by persistent growling in public to turn the "torture" charge against Nancy Pelosi by harping on the fact that it yielded intel and demanding release of all the pertinent facts, we are supposed to forget all that other stuff Pelosi and company said before about the Bush-Cheney torture machine. Now, the deal is that they were torturing poor Zabaydah not to find out anything about al Qaeda at all but to get him to confess to some connection between UBL and Saddam -- the better to clear the way for Bush's "war of choice. If the whole reason for torture was to bolster the Bush WMD lies, it will matter less that Zabadah and KSM told us this or that about al Qaeda!

    MoDo quotes Colin Powell's attack dog, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has been doing his best to stab Cheney at every opportunity (political revenge often knows no bounds, even among generals and colonels). She refers to Wilkerson writing that the “harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002 ... was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and Al Qaeda.”

    Now, to paraphrase the Great Lebowski, that's just Wilkerson's opinion, man. Wilkerson has not a shred of proof of this assertion. It's preposterous that the goal of CIA or FBI interrogation of Zabaydah was anything but an effort to uncover inofrmation about al Qaeda, of which we had zippo in 2002. It would be easy for MoDo to have established that by asking the FBI (which is rapidly becoming the hero agency of the left).

    Proof positive that this is the emerging line on torture is that Peloso herself, in her inarticulate, confused way, sought to drag the Saddam connection into her incoherent answers at her press conference. We'll be hearing this tune a lot in comings days.

  5. Wow, This is kind of like when Brit Hume admitted that alot of his "Special Report" material came from Brent Bozell's Media Research Center.
    Thin trimmings, but you'll take what you can get, I guess....

  6. I know I'm not a regular on this site but am I imagining things or can almost all of Y4E's posts be summed up simply by saying: "There's no story here and the right is overreacting"?

  7. I know I'm not a regular on this site but am I imagining things or can almost all of Y4E's posts be summed up simply by saying: "There's no story here and the right is overreacting"?Pretty much. Throw in some piss poor grammar and the simple inability to throw in things like line breaks in between paragraphs, and it's rather all amusing, really.

  8. SteveBrooklineMAMon May 18, 11:19:00 AM

    Seems like much ado about nothing. Ok, maybe the assistant writes some of Dowd's columns and is less careful than she would be if her name were on it. Yawn.

    If I were Dowd, I'd write my columns the same way. Why knock yourself out? Just surf around blogs, summarize and re-word. Who's going to know? Who's going to care? It ain't journalism anyway, so why apply the so-called ethics of journalists?

    Nice work if you can get it. Dowd's explanation is a riot though.

  9. "Just surf around blogs, summarize and re-word."Had she actually done that, this 'non-issue' would really be a non-issue. Cutting and pasting the exact paragraph, then implying that you just happened to transfer the quote verbatim from memory, is embarrassing, really.

    Happily for her, it's not a big deal. Nancy Pelosi only wishes her own situation could be so easily shrugged off.