Times readers just keep pummeling Dowd!


Something is happening here: Yesterday, a very encouraging trend continued. Readers continued to pummel Maureen Dowd for her fatuous work, which is quite paralytic.

Dowd has been a study in the fatuous since taking a richly deserved "vaca" in late June. Returning after the Fourth of July, she did four fatuous columns from Paris, then two columns from Boston about the ways Whitey Bulger’s accomplices used to murder their girl friends, then pull out their teeth.

After that, she authored two columns concerning her thoughts about weiner, plus a third column which focused on the color of Christine Quinn’s toenail polish.

After that, just one escape route was left! Yesterday, Dowd penned her second straight waste-of-time, snide-rich groaner about Hillary Clinton. And, for the second straight time, angry readers of the Times told her to Shut the Fudge Up!

Yesterday, Dowd offered a phantasmagoric column about Clinton’s chances in 2016. But the year is currently 2013! This was the first comment:
COMMENTER 1, FROM BOSTON: The election is a long way off, and anything can happen...It's far too early to say anything meaningful about the 2016 elections, but columnists never let that stop them before.
Dowd was killing time, as always, with a column on the ultimate Ol’ Reliable. That Boston reader seemed to be tired of this stupid shit. And the next four commenters had the same reaction:
COMMENTER 2, FROM CHICAGO: Your superficial comments are just that. And again, please can't we wait until we have to consider presidential candidates? The election season is too long without you extending it unnecessarily.

COMMENTER 3, FROM GREAT NECK: This column tells us nothing about what ideas Hillary Clinton might have about the presidency...So I have no idea what to make of the column.

COMMENTER 4, FROM CONNECTICUT: In a time when this country is immersed in the greatest Constitutional crisis at least since Watergate, it's sad that one of the New York Times' top columnists chooses instead to engage in a repetitious and nauseating critique of the probable 2016 Democratic nominee for president—an election still years away!...Disappointingly, this column once again has been reduced to serve as a Hillary Clinton whipping post, apparently to placate the author's desire to trash a woman she personally loathes.

COMMENTER 5, FORMERLY FROM NYC: Honestly, Maureen, I'm not really interested in reading about Hillary right now. I'm beginning to get Hillary fatigue and she hasn't even declared her candidacy yet...I know that newspapers are in trouble but jumpstarting a presidential campaign while our own president is barely 8 months into his 2nd term is pretty low.
Those were the first five comments. Commenters 6 and 7 were working the same general beat:
COMMENTER 6, FROM CALIFORNIA: I hope we aren't going to be treated to a Hillary rant a week from here on out!

COMMENTER 7, FROM CALIFORNIA: It's disturbing to see yet another piece enabling the inevitability of a Hillary candidacy, in spite of Maureen's codicils and sharp observations. This effort to train the press is orchestrated, and resulted in W, Obama, and now is likely to lead us to Hillary vs. Christie.
Commenter 8 complained about the endless snide remarks aimed at Obama. (Sorry, aimed at "Barry.") Commenters 9 and 10 seemed to have been driven to distraction by Dowd’s endless inanity:
COMMENTER 9, FROM WISCONSIN: Non voglio leggere Maureen Dowd mai più!

Ms. Dowd dislikes Barack and Hillary
Both of whom she's ready to pillory,

Working with great thrift
Gives the pair short shrift,
And brings out her heavy artillery.

No mention of Repubs, Ms. Dowd?
I forgot that three make a crowd!
So hostile a hitter
So biting and bitter,
To disagree with her I'm proud!
In our own language, Commenter 9 doesn’t want to read Dowd any more. Her inanity has left this Badger speaking in tongues!

Eventually, readers succumbed to the bait. They began exchanging pointless remarks about who should run for the White House three years hence. In this way, a flailing, dead-in-life paralytic can drag the discourse way down.

By the way, there are no limits to Dowd’s inanity, or to her invention of facts. She has loathed Hillary Clinton for years, along with every other married Democratic woman. And so, because of her mammoth loathing, she is allowed to type nonsense like this:
DOWD (8/11/13): As the president was getting ready for his [Friday] news conference, his former secretary of state was dominating the news with an event she didn’t even attend. Emily’s List held what was, in essence, Hillary’s first Iowa campaign event, titled “Madam President” and featuring Claire McCaskill, the Missouri senator who famously broke away from Clinton Inc. to join the Obama revolution in 2008. Now McCaskill, who once said she wouldn’t trust Bill Clinton near her daughter, is presciently back in the fold, on board with Ready for Hillary, the super PAC supporting Clinton for 2016.

As ABC News’s Michael Falcone reported from Iowa, the state that allowed Obama to vault over Hillary, McCaskill said she’s dreaming of “that moment in 2017 when we can say ‘Madam President’ to Hillary Rodham Clinton.’ ”

In a funny echo of Hillary’s defense of Bill during the Gennifer Flowers scandal, when she said she wasn’t home baking cookies and having teas, McCaskill told the forum it’s hard for women to run for office because it’s “not sitting down to tea and crumpets.”
All roads lead to Gennifer Flowers in the minds of The Dead. But what about Dowd’s opening claim? Was Clinton, the eternal witch, really “dominating the news” this Friday, thus upstaging Obama, “with an event she didn’t even attend?”

In fact, the Iowa event was barely mentioned in the press. It rated a page 10 report in the New York Times the next day; this morning, Joe Biden's upcoming event in the Hawkeye State is reported on page 11. But the Clinton event was reported by very few other newspapers. According to Nexis, it wasn't reported or mentioned on any cable or broadcast news program. That ABC “report” Dowd quotes was in fact a minor blog post.

Her editors let her pretend. That is, they let her deceive Times readers.

Dowd is broken, dead in life. She is also famous and powerful. Neither Drum nor Krugman nor Dionne nor Chait will ever tell you about the pestilence which has spread out from her work since the day, twenty years ago, when Katharine Boo was willing to stand up and warn us.

Camus might have spoken. Not these!

For more than twenty years, career players have averted their gaze as the pestilence spread. Now, Times readers have begun to fight back!

This pushback is coming quite late in the game. Much better late than never.


  1. I was so pleased to find those critical comments: Maureen Dowd is a willfully disgraceful columnist, empty through and through with always a mean streak.

  2. I wish I could agree that people are finally waking up to Dowd's character, but I think much of the negative commentary is because Hillary Clinton has strong supporters who do not like seeing her trashed by anyone.

  3. I wanted to comment about her column as well. However, comments were closed before 10 AM central time.

  4. Begged Question of the Day

    If a columnist who covers a poll about a possible 2016 Presidential Candidate in 2013 writes about "nothing",
    then is a post regurgitating comments about another such column "something"?

    1. You might have a point if Dowd were actually "covering" that poll in any meaningful sense. Then again, polls taken in 2013 about an election in 2016 are pretty meaningless, by definition and there are better things to devote a column to. I don't think this question was begged at all. Somerby's post is about the fact that columnists are not doing their job -- that is pretty important in my opinion.

    2. In the context of presenting an accurate media critique, then certainly.

  5. We've been going to Dowd for the all the hissing that fits in print for nearly 20 years now. It's her claim to fame, her metier, her reason for being read.

    You want something different all of a sudden? You want George Will all of a sudden to stop being a grumpy old man (just as he's reaching the age he's been acting for 40 years)? You want Leon Wieseltier to suddenly stop being an opaque sententious snob and start writing columns that are actually communicative and cogent?

    You want Maureen Dowd to be more of a journalist and less of a Writer? Let's face it. The world of print journalism is divided between reporters who hate to write and writers who hate to report. Dowd obviously has always been of the latter school. I've never considered her Shakespeare, as some seem to; but it's clear she'd rather riff alliteratively on, say, an ashtray than go out and dig for a good ashtray story.

    As she lumbers toward emeritus status, her glamour girl photo never aging, just remember that, like the crocodile, she's unlikely to change what's worked for her throughout the aeons -- probably not even if Bezos buys the Times.

    1. But she's taking up space that could be occupied by someone who can do both parts of the job -- write well and have something to write well about.

  6. In terms of impact on the the 2000 election of Bush in wake of sometimes freakish mainstream or even liberal media drubbings of Clinton/Gore, the Daily Howler reader gets a narrow selection at which to peer. Out West in the County's second biggest city, a raving clown name Marc Cooper led the pack in the town's once liberal "L.A. Weekly." Here he was followed closely by another tool on the media beat named John Powers.

    These two idiots held down major space for years and used it to demonize Clinton and Gore to the furthest extreme they could manage. And it was always in trivial, sexy time fun, or a various "gate." Cooper was even called back by Ariana Huffington to decry the racist bitch Hillary Clinton for all it was worth until his new hero made her SOS. Powers went back to reviewing movies for a fashion rag and Cooper now cracks invented the internet jokes from his Facebook page. But The Daily Howler should led you to believe it was just Mo.

    1. Greg writes:

      >>>>> ...Powers went back to reviewing movies for a fashion rag and Cooper now cracks invented the internet jokes from his Facebook page. But The Daily Howler should led you to believe it was just Mo.<<<<<

      I think maybe Greg has missed a few installments. Or maybe his beef is with Media Matters' Jamison Foser from December, 2007, too, for also citing a particular 1992 Katherine Boo article-- or actually with Boo herself:

      Foser writes:

      >>>>>Though Halperin and Harris acknowledge that much of Drudge's material is inaccurate, that his "standards for sourcing and checking are dangerously low," that "Matt Drudge is salacious, reckless, superficial and unfair," and that he "leans right" politically, what is most striking about their chapter about Drudge is that at no point do they write that responsible journalists shouldn't take their cues from the frequently-wrong right-wing cybergossip.

      No, Matt Drudge isn't to blame. Not when journalists like Halperin and Harris can't even bring themselves to include in a chapter about Drudge a simple statement that news organizations shouldn't follow his lead. If Matt Drudge rules their world, he does so as an elected representative, not a cruel dictator.

      But, like Richard Ben Cramer, Matt Drudge is only one in a long line of scapegoats. Long before Drudge first typed the words "EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT DRUDGE," media observers could see that something was wrong with their profession.

      In a November 1992 Washington Monthly article, Katherine Boo declared that Maureen Dowd, then a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, was "changing the standards of mainstream political journalism, for better and worse." Boo explained:

      She's funny frequently, sneering when necessary, earnest almost never -- a combination that makes Dowd, according to Washingtonian magazine, "the most feared" Washington reporter. She's also, hands down, the most imitated. Today's campaign planes and buses are freighted with Dowd disciples: hyperliterate capital-W Writers with an eye for detail and an ear for the shuffling going on behind the curtain.


      So why is the Creeping Dowdism in political reporting starting to irritate me? [...] [W]hat's unsettling is the dark vision of the pointlessness of politics that Dowd and her followers deliver, a vision that an onslaught of bright images can't obscure. Preoccupied with the feints and counterfeints, the preposterous and the poseurs, they seem to believe, and then to promulgate, Dowd's own metaphor. The democratic process is reduced to Pirandello, to theater of the absurd. Trouble is, this audience can't get up and leave.


      Yet among Dowd and disciples, the characterpainting continually shoulders out meaningful questions about what the pretenders to the Oval Office have in mind. Once Dowd allows us to know that [Bob] Kerrey has "large blue eyes and a light-bulb shaped head that give him the look of a bemused extraterrestrial," can we really take seriously the mechanics of his health-care proposal? Of course, in her preprimary profile of Kerrey, the health-care issue -- his campaign centerpiece -- never comes up. And why would it? In Dowd's character-centered conception, issues don't merit too much concern. They're largely props in "meticulous Kabuki dramas in which the candidates enact the themes they want to sell to voters in November."


      To these bored and overexposed insiders, everybody eventually begins to seem absurd, predictable, incapable of sincerity, inspiration, or meaning -- undeserving of being "taken seriously."A game it is, then. Whoever pens the most metaphors wins.


    2. And here's our host from 1999 going way-er back than Boo, looking for the launch of the, now wide-spread, modern era of journamalism:

      [Gay] JERVEY [in the now defunct Brill's Content]: [Dowd] has routinely been right on. Consider the following excerpt from November 14, 1996: “We live in a society where loyalty to self yields to no other loyalty. In this respect, Bill Clinton is the perfect hologram for his age...Despite the hugging and misting and sharing, the Great Empath has always been willing to sacrifice friends and advisers at a brisk pace, with a chilling lack of sentimentality.”

      But this stock critique has been heard a thousand times, recycled without end by the press corps. Indeed, this view has been voiced so many times, it could be typed up by kids in their sleep. But to Jervey, Dowd is simply a whiz. Her research techniques are fantastic:

      JERVEY: Among Washington columnists, there is no keener observer of Bill Clinton than Maureen Dowd...[S]he seems obsessed with his personality, always looking for the key to his character--or rather, his utter lack thereof. In the summer of 1997, for example, when President Clinton installed a hot tub at the White House, Dowd traveled to Santa Monica to visit the showroom of the manufacturer who had made the President’s new toy. She wanted to test the waters...

      Pointless field trips never end with this person! Jervey describes Dowd and five famous friends lounging about in the bubbling tub--after telling Brill readers that the trip showcased Dowd in her role as our “keenest observer.”

      Bill Kovach’s account of Dowd’s strength as a writer may shed further light on the syndrome. Kovach, once editor to Dowd at the Times, recalled the 1984 Dem Convention:

      JERVEY: Even as a young reporter Dowd had an eye for telling detail and nuance...“We were on deadline,” Kovach explains. “Mondale and Ferraro had just been nominated...As the candidates stood on the platform, Maureen jumped up and grabbed me and said, ‘Look! Look! There is the story. Mondale doesn’t know whether to hug his wife or Ferraro. He doesn’t know what to do.’ She saw that signaled a new era, with women playing a whole new role in politics and men not quite knowing what to do.” That keen observation...crystallized for Kovach just how clairvoyant a reporter she was.

      Clairvoyant! Forgive us for doubting that Mondale’s discomfort somehow rang in a giant new era. Dowd’s harping on it, though, may have signaled such an epoch, in which pundits like Dowd replace matters of substance with a personality-based worship of trivia (and with the love of other people’s discomfort).<<<<<

    3. My point was that their were offenders, in major markets that were not on the Howler's radar.

    4. Fair comment Greg, except that the staff at the Howler might not be as large as you may think that it is.

  7. Uh oh, Dowd also controls the agenda of Bloomberg News's news division:


    Since HRC isn't running for President yet, how does this happen (according to the flyweights at Bloomberg News):

    Clinton Super-PAC

    On Clinton’s behalf, the Ready for Hillary super-political action committee is building a database of supporters and donors, lining up endorsements and signing experienced campaign hands. It also raised $1.25 million through the end of June, the majority of it in just one month.

    The Bloomberg article links to this website which must have been set up by Dowd's devious assistants:


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