But then again, so was Joan Walsh: Incomparably, The Daily Howler keeps churning out those results!
We refer to this recent breakthrough statement by Salon’s Joan Walsh:
“Cornel West is now slipping deep into Maureen Dowd territory: a formerly incisive, moderately influential social critic (a genuinely important one, in West’s case) driven to cruelty and irrelevance by Obama hatred.”
Judge that assessment of West as you will. We were struck by Walsh's assessment of Dowd.
We’ve often said that, for professional reasons, you can’t get Walsh to criticize Dowd. At long last, we’ve gotten results!
Having said that, just consider the sad result we’ve managed to win. According to Walsh, Dowd used to be an “incisive social critic.” It’s just her “Obama hatred” which has brought her down!
That statement is crazy, of course. As far back as 1992, Katherine Boo wrote a long piece in the Washington Monthly, warning about the “Creeping Dowdism” which was infesting the press.
Dowd wasn’t even a columnist yet, but Boo was there with her warning. When Dowd did get her New York Times column, she engaged in years of noxious work—noxious work which was often aimed at major Democrats, their spouses and their children.
In 2008, someone finally told Dowd to stop. It was public editor Clark Hoyt, who savaged Dowd for her endless sexist treatment of Candidate Hillary Clinton, the candidate Walsh had supported!
Hoyt really laid it on the line, detailing Dowd’s disgraceful behavior. Six years later, Walsh finally gets up the nerve to say that Dowd isn’t great any more—because of Obama hatred!
Walsh will never tell you the truth. Her need for pay checks won’t permit it.
In comment threads, regular liberals often say that they can recall when Dowd was funny and good. But Dowd was never funny and good. In the past, those commenters never realized how awful she was, in large part because “liberal leaders” like Walsh simply weren’t willing to tell them.
Even today, Walsh won’t tell the truth. We had a milder but somewhat similar reaction to Sunday’s column by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post.
Marcus served herself a bit of a softball that day. She said male solons shouldn’t behave in sexist ways toward their female colleagues.
Everyone agrees with that! As Marcus made this rather obvious point, we were struck by her picture of the way major pols get treated in the press.
Marcus listed three rude comments reportedly made to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand by older male colleagues. She then offered this:
MARCUS (8/31/14): Would they talk that way to a male colleague? Of course not. That President Obama caused a Twitterstorm by wearing a tan suit to a news conference is not a welcome sign of gender equity—it’s the exception proving the immutable rule that women in public life face more scrutiny of their appearance. Ask Hillary Clinton how long it takes to get ready for the campaign trail.Granted, that was a brief and fleeting portrait. But much like Walsh, Marcus was choosing to wash away a great deal of modern press history.
Very few women have run for president. It’s hard to compare the way male and female candidates get treated on that level.
But when Obama created that Twitterstorm, it represented a very brief “Son of Earth Tones” flare-up—a brief return of the lunatic coverage dumped on Candidate Gore all through Campaign 2000.
Within the press corps, it’s still against the law to acknowledge the fact that that conduct occurred. On Sunday, Marcus cruised ahead in a state of perfect denial.
For a rather long chunk of Campaign 2000, Gore was trashed and psycho-analyzed for every aspect of his wardrobe and his appearance—for his suits, his boots, his polo shirts, for the number buttons on his suits.
It was troubling when he wore a brown suit. In response, ugly, misogynistic treatment was dumped on the head of Naomi Wolf, even at Marcus’ newspaper. Needless to say, Maureen Dowd was an early star player in the sliming of Wolf.
This was a widespread press corps attack, and it persisted for months. A person might say that it represented the kudzu creep of that Dowdism.
Should female candidates get trashed for their appearance? Obviously, no, they should not.
But Maureen Dowd has made a career of mocking major male politicians for their bald spots and their comb-overs—and of course, for being “The Breck Girl.” In 2004, she didn’t trash Howard Dean for his wardrobe—she spent two columns trashing Dean’s wife. (Walsh must have been out of the country that year.)
That said, no pol has ever has his (or her) wardrobe frisked in the way Gore’s wardrobe was frisked. Here’s the problem: Inside the guild, people like Marcus have never acknowledged that this conduct ever occurred.
Walsh and Marcus are plowing ahead, sticking to tales that are easy to tell. Maureen Dowd was once quite good! And in this best of all possible worlds, only the females get trashed!
Maureen Dowd is still off-limits. No one is willing to tell.