City Desk

This Just In: Maureen Dowd Can Do Whatever the F*ck She Wants

In case you missed it, Maureen Dowd flat-out plagiarized either a) Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall or b) One of her friends, who quoted Josh Marshall in a phone call with Dowd. Either way, Dowd stole some shit and admitted it. Michael Calderone reports that it doesn't really matter. From NYT spokesperson Diane McNulty:

Maureen had us correct the column online as soon as the error was brought to her attention, adding in the sourcing to Marshall's blog. We ran a correction in today's paper,  referring readers to the correct version online.

There is no need to do anything further since there is no allegation, hint or anything else from Marshall that this was anything but an error. It was corrected. Journalists often use feeds from other staff journalists, free-lancers, stringers, a whole range of people. And from friends. Anyone with even the most passing acquaintance with Maureen's work knows that she is happy and eager to give people credit.

This is complete bullshit: Dowd. Fucking. Plagiarized. But she's a Pulitzer winner, a media elite, and a total babe, so the NYT is looking the other way. (I bet Jayson Blair is seething right now! Rick Bragg–not so much.)

Calderone closes his piece with this bit of insight:

If I was e-mailed a 40-plus-word block of text for this blog, and I used it, I'd include some sort of attribution — whether "a reader writes in," "media insider points out" or whatever the case may be.

But from The Times' response, it seems the paper finds it acceptable for columnists to take entire paragraphs from friends (or sources?), over the phone or e-mail, and reproduce them verbatim in the paper under the columnist's byline.

Awesome, Calderone, you'd do differently. So would I. So would my colleagues and our freelancers and every other journalist who actually had to pay the consequences of handing in illegitimate copy. Now, can somebody suggest a good punishment for Dowd, a well-paid, respected columnist at a world-famous institution, who has demonstrated that she's too lazy to rework a friend's idea into her own words?

Perhaps a 500-word definition essay on integrity? Or maybe the same thing should happen to her that would happen to a first-year NYT reporter who stole from another journalist...

Eric Zorn says what I can't.

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  • Dave

    If Dowd doesn't get canned over this, she must have dirty photos of NYT corporate leadership locked away in a safe somewhere, or something.

  • Ted Scheinman

    They should tell Dowd she's never allowed to use the "script" format in her column. Ever, ever again.

  • Simon Owens

    She's like AIG, too big to fail.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    I like Maureen a lot, all the Irish-Catholic stuff grasped my I-C loins, teabagging my family jewels. The past year or so she's become a little too weird - call me, Maureen, if you need a good hard romp on the auld sod.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    In other words, you are 100% correct - Maureen Dowd can do whatever the f*uck she wants. I love you, Maureen.

  • Downtown Rez

    Holy Goose and Gander! Did the Grey Lady just validate aggregation?

  • Stating the Obvious

    "Now, can somebody suggest a good punishment for Dowd, a well-paid, respected columnist at a world-famous institution, who has demonstrated that she’s too lazy to rework a friend’s idea into her own words?"

    For plagiarism and sloppy writing she could be forced to write copy at the Washington City Paper like some former writers....

  • Amanda Hess

    Ted, I would love to see this play out in Dowd Screenplay form. Wouldn't you?

  • Ted Scheinman

    Indeed, Ms. Hess.

    [Phone rings stage left. Enter MAUREEN wearing lime-green kaftan. She picks up receiver on the fourth ring.]

    MAUREEN: Vivian, is that you dear?

    VIVIAN (offstage, shrill): I was just about to send you an email as to whether all that torture was 'preventative' or just for kicks—there's a graf you simply must use in Monday's column!

    MAUREEN: Splendid!

    [Enter AARON SORKIN wearing khakis and A Few Good Men t-shirt.]

    AARON SORKIN: Hey, Mo, I just stopped by to help with that column....

    MAUREEN DOWD: Splendid!

    [Enter ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER, JR. wearing double-breasted pinstripe suit and pork-pie hat.]

    ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER, JR.: Hey there, Dowdie. Just wanted to see how that column was coming. No pressure, or anything.

    MAUREEN: Splendid!

    [Cue speakers: The Police's "Synchronicity II" starts playing, soft at first and then gradually louder. Enter JOSH MARSHALL, suspended on a bungee cord from the rafters.]

    JOSH MARSHALL: Deep thought: How many Times columnists does it take to write a fucking column?

    [Enter STING strumming on a lute. Curtain.]

  • Luke

    Actually, if the City Paper can arrange it, I'd love to hear what Jayson Blair thinks about all of this ... it's funny how many apologists she has, Howard Kurtz et al. ... I guess if you're a part of the Media Cartel, you're untouchable.

  • sock puppet

    She has a ball gag with my name on it.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    As punishment, Maureen should have to wear a tube top & mini skirt & come sex me up at Nick's Riverside Cafe.