Maureen Dowd and our post-journalistic culture: Maureen Dowd can’t figure out why anyone would pay Chelsea Clinton all that filthy money.
But first, a bit of background:
Way back on July 1, we noted a peculiar fact. The Washington Post was waging a jihad concerning Hillary Clinton’s deeply troubling speaking fees. At the same time, the New York Times had barely mentioned the topic.
Last Thursday, we thought we noted a policy change at the nation’s greatest newspaper. For whatever reason, the Times had decided to use Chelsea Clinton’s speaking fees as a way to get into the chase.
Yesterday, quite predictably, Maureen Dowd finally struck. In the part of her column we’ve posted below, she gives us a look at the journalistic standards which obtain at the Times.
Warning! Dowd’s first question in this passage doesn’t make chronological sense.
But as she continues, Dowd raises a second deeply troubling question. She then does a peculiar thing—she disappears the answer given by the reporter whose work she seems to be citing:
DOWD (7/13/14): With her 1 percenter mother under fire for disingenuously calling herself “dead broke” when she left the White House, why would Chelsea want to open herself up to criticism that she is gobbling whopping paychecks not commensurate with her skills, experience or role in life?Maureen Dowd can’t figure it out! “Why on earth” would someone pay such fees to Chelsea Clinton?
As the 34-year-old tries to wean some of the cronies from the Clinton Foundation—which is, like the Clintons themselves, well-intended, wasteful and disorganized—Chelsea is making speeches that go into foundation coffers. She is commanding, as The Times’s Amy Chozick reported, up to $75,000 per appearance.
Chozick wrote: “Ms. Clinton’s speeches focus on causes like eradicating waterborne diseases. (‘I’m obsessed with diarrhea’ is a favorite line.)”
There’s something unseemly about it, making one wonder: Why on earth is she worth that much money? Why, given her dabbling in management consulting, hedge-funding and coattail-riding, is an hour of her time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don’t make in a year? (Median household income in the United States is $53,046.)
Dowd goes on to offer the most nefarious possible speculation about this disturbing state of affairs. She omits the answer in Chozick’s news report—the news report she was angrily citing.
Below, you see the start of Chozick’s report, with some later amplification. Good lord! Chozick’s answer to Dowd’s question started in paragraph 2!
CHOZICK (7/10/14): There is a new Clinton paid to deliver speeches—Chelsea, the former first daughter—and she is commanding as much as $75,000 per appearance.The Jewish Federation paid Chelsea Clinton $75,000 (or less) to appear. The event raised more than $2.1 million. “There is great synergy between federation’s work and Chelsea Clinton’s message,” the Jewish Federation’s president and chief executive was quoted saying.
Aides emphasized that while Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton often address trade groups and Wall Street bankers, Ms. Clinton, now 34, focuses on organizations whose goals are in line with the work of the family’s philanthropic organization, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Organizers said her star power helped sell tickets and raise money.
The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County hired Ms. Clinton to speak at its inaugural event in March. Tickets started at $1,000 per family, and the event raised more than $2.1 million.
Let’s see—75 grand (or less) versus 2.1 million! Would you have made that deal? As she continued, Chozick cited a second event at which Chelsea Clinton spoke:
CHOZICK: Last year, she addressed 950 people at a benefit for Girls Incorporated of Omaha, a nonprofit group in Nebraska supported by Susie Buffett, the daughter of the billionaire Warren E. Buffett. Previous speakers for the benefit included both of Ms. Clinton’s parents; President Obama; and Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work fighting apartheid.According to Wilhelm, the event was packed—and people came to see Chelsea Clinton! Dowd disappeared this part of Chozick’s report as she pretended to puzzle about her deeply troubling question:
Roberta Wilhelm, executive director of Girls Incorporated, declined to say if Ms. Clinton was paid, commenting only that the event “was packed, and she was a draw.”
“Why on earth” would anyone pay her that much money?
Dowd pretended to be disturbed about that troubling question. The Times, which pretends to be a newspaper, let her cite Chozick’s report without acknowledging several of the most basic facts it contained.
Are there possible conflicts of interest when people are paid large speaking fees? Yes, there certainly are!
That said, in the case of the horrible Dowd, we don’t have to speculate about possible future misconduct. On a journalistic basis, her misconduct was there for all to see in Sunday’s predictable column.
Dowd’s misconduct was one click away from her predictable column. Her misconduct was sitting right there in the basic facts she disappeared from Chozick’s text.
That said, Dowd has been a journalistic nightmare for decades now. But alas! By the rules of the play-for-pay game, no one is going to say that!
Is there a possible problem when Chelsea Clinton is paid that much scratch? When Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton get larger speaking fees?
Potentially, yes, there is! That said, here’s the more immediate problem:
Grimy attack dogs like Dowd are going to misstate, overstate, omit and obscure as they endlessly flog this deeply troubling possible problem. Their own journalistic misconduct is going to go unremarked.
Dowd’s column is a prime example of a long-standing type of very bad, very dumb, deeply destructive “journalism.” In that sense, it’s very much like Krystal Ball’s recent subhuman commentary, which came at you “from the left.”
Ball and Dowd are horrible people, but no one is going to tell you that. For the next several days, we plan to discuss the obvious problems with Dowd’s latest effort.
We’re going to tell you where it leads—where this swill has led in the past. Your favorite “liberal” TV stars aren’t going to do that.
Ironically, here's the reason for their silence: they have big bucks at stake! They’re being paid the big bucks too, and they’ve already gone for the scam.
Tomorrow: Let’s list the omissions!
All next week: The Mansions of Journalist County
What a truly awful person you are.ReplyDelete
Thank you for categorizing me as a person.ReplyDelete
You didn't answer my question, however. Let me ask it again with a more detailed attempt to discover what is acceptable among the readership.
If you engage in subhuman commentary, does that make you subhuman? If so, is it OK to eradicate subhumans?
It looks like the Fallow field will be left fallow.ReplyDelete
Bob: Amen, amen, amen.ReplyDelete
What Geoff sez.Delete
I am a little curious. What makes Dowd "grimy" and an attack dog, but Sawyer merely "oligeanous" as a coot?ReplyDelete
So sorry. I should have said "grimy" as, not and.Delete
Why won't you sign is as "Bob" or "TDH" or something? It's real easy to do, as I and several others attest, or at least sign at the end like "KZ" does. It's harder to follow when everyone is anonymous.Delete
So you don't know, ul?Delete
If one looks at the dates and times following the word "Anonymous" (or any other name for that matter), one would have great difficulty not identifying a particular commenter. If the commentariat's purpose is to make your life easier, you-who-are-not-named-Anonymous, I could see your point, but it isn't so I don't.Delete
Things are poppin in Somerby's Chuckle Hut.ReplyDelete
Well, let's see if you can answer your own question. When you engaged in make stupid comments on this blog, did that make you stupid?ReplyDelete
"'Why on earth' would anyone pay her that much money?"ReplyDelete
Why, indeed, Bob.
That's a question you often ask when you have spotted the pig and want your boys with the pointed sticks to join the hunt.
You do realize that this blog is meant as media criticism?Delete
You do realize that you "sound" like a broken record?Delete
Be nice to J S-h. He broke ground, not records, when he informed us rubes of a fact BOBarino was giving us the round around about....D'Leisha Dent got a scholarship to a 4 year college.Delete
And to be extra fair, Jonny only said that this blog was "meant" to be media criticism.Delete
That doesn't mean that it is.
Repeated reference to Lord of the Flies does not fly in the face of media musings so stop squealing like a stuck pig.Delete
Sad to see dead"kiss my ass"rat isn't up for an answer either.ReplyDelete
What is the policy on comments to Dowd's columns? The comments generally are addressed to "Mo" and "Maureen" and agree with her much more often than not. I have sent in many a critical comment which never are published. They're never obscene, but are bitingly critical. This makes me wonder if the NY Times censors comments critical of Dowd. Anybody know?ReplyDelete
Sounds right, 1:32. As far as I know, the supposed Times policy should allow comments that merely criticize a columnist. Considering the inanity of Dowd's column, I imagine the Times would get innumerable critical comments, if they didn't censor themDelete
I'm sure your bitingly critical comment would have made Maureen Dowd see the error of her ways.
Your Howler gets results!Delete
Dowd is the irresistible scatterbrain; the vixen rendered cozy by her own haphazardness.Delete
If you don't care then don't clutter things up with a rude and boorish comment.Delete
Well, 12:24-36, as you note, not only are Bob's fans oblvious to the brainwashing he is giving them, they will rush to defend even the most transparent, vile, tribalist form of propaganda.ReplyDelete
And a form as old as human existence.
And of course to answer your obvious question with the obvious truth, it is always much easier to eradicate an "enemy" perceived to be subhuman, and thus less worthy of existence than ourselves.
That is why demagogues have practiced this form of propaganda for several millennia.
You mean, 2:02, that the Gods have been chuckling at the Somerbys of our planet since the days of Aristotle?ReplyDelete
Look, whatever Bob's obsessions and repetitions, and supplements and supplementals, and all-roads-lead-back-to-the-War-on-Gore, and six weeks to say black kids don't hear enough words....he is 100% on the money here, and on the creation --- before our very eyes and once again --- of a lame media narrative. When he's right, he's right.ReplyDelete
Whether it ends up being a *destructive* narrative, remains to be seen (I doubt it, but we'll see.)Delete
Yes, but if you want an adult take on the very same Dowd column, read Media Matters.Delete
They somehow manage to hit hard and pull no punches without resorting to calling Dowd a "grimy attack dog" or Ball "subhuman."
OK, will read, thanks. I agree that Bob's incessant name-calling invariably weakens his arguments, not to mention is diametrically contrary to the spirit of some of the heroes he evokes.Delete
KZ is a slimy subhuman oleaginous coot, but eradicating him would be unduly harsh. BTW, Aristotle didn't say anything about 'man'. He occasionally discussed the anthropos, which is epicene.ReplyDelete
Whew. For a minute we feared we would be swallowed whole in the rapacious, gaping maw that is Bobfandom.Delete
BTW, anybody got a clue where Dowd stole the "rapacious, gaping maw" line?
Don't know the origin of it, but it is quite the well-worn cliche.Delete
Not how a maw can't simply be a maw. It must always be a gaping maw. And quite frequently, though not always, the maw should gape rapaciously.
And speaking of wearing things out, of Bob's 19 posts so far in July, 9 of them have been "supplementals" (including one "supplement").Delete
This is slightly ahead of June's pace in which 18 of the 45 posts were "supplementals."
This of course was the very month that Bob opened the concept and treated his loyal fans with the very first "supplemental" -- the historic June 3 entry: "Supplemental: Can NAEP scores be trusted?" which has apparently and very successfully taken the place of the time-honored "Interlude."
Supplements are intellectually nutritious and good for you.Delete
Interludes are times when maws and paws gape at each other and get to feeling rapacious.
Bob made the right choice stylistically speaking though your results obviously differ.
A gaping maw is like high dudgeon. Dudgeon can never be low, and a maw can never be closed.Delete
It should be no surprise to find Somerby in high dudgeon over Dowd's characterization of Clinton, Inc. as a gaping maw because it is now placing Chelsea in high cotton alongside her Pa and maw.Delete
I don't think Dowd is subhuman or horrible. I do think she is deeply disturbed and needs real mental health help. The real question is why the NY Times gives her a forum to spill her bilge. Why is she worth whatever huge sum they pay her?ReplyDelete
I hope we get to tour her mansion when Bob starts his next series. Is it true no boyfriend has ever lived there with her?Delete
Yes, the proper defense of criticism of how the Clintons have been swamped by a tsunami of money is to point to the wealth of the critics.Delete
Tsunami of money? Just like Reagsn and both Bushes. Obama is about to be swamped. Somehow for the Clintons it's a sign of deep corruption even though their philanthropy is examplary. Go to internet and pull up the tax returns they released in 2008. The media will never tell you this. Clinton Derangement Syndrome is a form of mental illness.Delete
And once again, the proper defense for the tsunami of money is to point out that it happens to every ex-president.Delete
Even to "dead broke, and in debt" ones. Even to ones who pay ordinary taxes like ordinary folk, and unlike the truly well off.
Why does the lawful accumulation of wealth have to be defended at all? You know something about the Clintons that apparently no one else is aware of, or are you just another garden-variety Clinton hater?Delete
I have no idea what the state of Dowd's mental health is, not being a professional in that field, nor having met the person.Delete
But I long ago reached my opinion that her columns are often too childish and gossipy for my tastes.
But I guess as long as there are people who read them -- even if the only reason is to get angry and rush to your blog to rail about them -- Dowd's columns will continue to be published.
Is there a net worth all presidents and ex-presidents should have? Anonymous at4:10 and 5pm seems to think so. The comments about a tsunami of money are ridiculous. Entertainers and athletes also get swamped with a tsunami of money. Is that wrong too?Delete
Is that wrong too? To quote the master of such ethical issues:Delete
Are there possible conflicts of interest when people are paid large speaking fees? Yes, there certainly are!
Is there a possible problem when Chelsea Clinton is paid that much scratch? When Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton get larger speaking fees?
Potentially, yes, there is!
So the standard is whether the swag was obtained in a "lawful" manner, and once determined that it was, all questions about it are out of bounds?Delete
You know, during the last presidential election cycle, we had questions raised about which billionaire was personally financing the campaigns of which GOP candidate -- and how those campaigns quickly ended when the billionaire shut off the tap.
It was all perfectly "lawful" under the Citizens United decision.
Lincoln got quite rich by 19th century standards working as a lawyer for the greedy and rapacious railroads. Today he wouldn't have a prayer of becoming president, given that history. And a potential conflict of interest? More like a real conflict since the railroads were dependent on the federal government for many things. Good thing there was no elite media to raise all these deeply troubling questions about that Lincoln fellow.Delete
And the political media of the day actually let old Abe get away with disingenuously claiming to be a simple, rube, country lawyer who split rails.Delete
I wanted to mention how Lincoln benefitted the railroads @9:55, but it would have made my comment too long. Glad you did.Delete
Wow. I just discovered that Salon picked up the "Alternet" posthumous hit piece on Lincoln and the railroads. Somerby could really get in high dudgeon over this. Assuming he liked Lincoln, of course.Delete
Of course the job creators in the American south were not big Lincoln contributors. No wonder he, with a single stroke of excecutive action, engaged in the largest act of government taking of private property in the history of American mankind.Delete
Of course I am sure merely mentioning this will get you northern liberal tribalists all a twitter.
Bigger than the establishment of the national parks? Bigger than creation of the income tax? Bigger than establishment of the interstate highway system? What about the history of American womankind? Does the systematic exclusion of women from financial life before the 1960s constitute a larger government taking of private property? I am all a twitter.Delete
You raise an interesting point. Or should I say points, since I was speaking of a single action, rather than the cumulative effect of plural actions taken repeatedly in the name of some enactment.Delete
I would, of course, need to do further research.
Many of the parks created were, of course, created on public land. The land was often previously taken by government from some of the native inhabitants. But since they were squatters without deed and held claim to the property through communistic shared tribal occupancy and/or use, we view that as an intergovernmental transfer, rather than a taking.
The income tax as initially implemented was class warfare for certain and highly confiscatory. But I believe when accurately monetized it will only exceed the dreaded so called "Emancipation Proclamation" over time. Likewise the interstate highway system, which took longer to build than it took to free the bulk of southern state property, may end up of higher value in the long run if you price the freed Africans in Confederate currency valued at the exchange rates on the date of the Proclamation.
With women, however, your argument is wetter than a lady's hanky at the end of an August Alabama cotillion.
Sugar, ladies were created by God's taking of Adam's rib
and the first one got us all evicted from paradise. Quit yer damn naggin.
They're talking about Zimmerman again on the conservative blogs. Your friends over there miss you.Delete
Dowd is just terrible, as my bald spot reminds me every morning at breakfast.ReplyDelete
Media Matters is reporting that Dowd makes less than half what C.C. makes per speech. They got no response when they asked how much, if any, of her fee goes to charity. Apparently, Ms. Dowd suffers from a bad case of speaking fee envy.ReplyDelete
How much more does Dowd make than Bob when he is on one of his missions of National Import?Delete
You have no idea do you?Delete
No. None of us have any idea what nefarious sources of cash Bob is stuffing into his boxers/briefs or whatever he wears alone on his sprawling campus.Delete
I just wonder what LeBron James has to say about all this.ReplyDelete
Dowd cannot stand the fact that Chelsea Clinton turned out to be an impressive young woman -- which means that she must have had pretty good parents, who, therefore, despite their human frailties and the narcissism that goes with the territory of being a public performer like an actor or a politician, halfway decent people. Remember, the only acceptable way to look at them is that they "trashed the place."ReplyDelete
P.S. She's a hell of a lot more impressive than Maureen Dowd, who basically lucked into the gig she got. Or maybe there's a different consonant in there somewhere. (Terrible and awful, but couldn't resist.)
Couldn't resist? Name a man about whom you have implied that?Delete
Urban, I have no question about Chelsea's impressiveness.Delete
But how many times has Bob used privileged births, elite educations, and high-paying media gigs AGAINST one of his favorite targets?
Give us a time frame. We'll pull on our Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, run the Hoover over the archives, and see how many Yalies we pull out of the carpet. Believe it or not.Delete
It bothers me that the trolls here cannot tell the difference between descriptive terms and criticisms. Privileged birth, elite education are not qualifications for a high-paying media gig. It is right to complain when people are given jobs because of these things, without having any other qualification for their position. The incompetence of the writing and thinking of the people singled out here is the real criticism. No one would object to a privileged birth or an elite education if those people were competent in their jobs. Their competence would then justify their high-paying gig.Delete
Assuming that Chelsea Clinton has no competence, no real qualifications for her various positions is unfair without demonstrating that she is in fact incompetent and has gotten those positions because of her birth or elite education. No one has done that.
I love to watch Somerby fans turn themselves into pretzels.Delete
The column was better than the comments.ReplyDelete
Read them again, and weep.
Usually the other way around, eh?Delete
Didn't the whole Anthropology meme being with Hillary Clinton, the Inka, and a Maureen Dowd column back in back in June?ReplyDelete
I thought my answer was clear. Apparently not. I'll try again: If you thought that TDH was calling for the eradication of the Untermenschen, then you're stupid.ReplyDelete
But I didn't ask if Somerby was calling for eradication of those whose actions he labeled untermenschen. I asked if it was alright to do so in the opinion of readers.ReplyDelete
I mean, if you are going to use grimy attack dog language, you may expect a question or two about its utilization.
Hey, deadrat, you can rest your fevered mind. Nobody is saying that Somerby is directly calling for the eradication of the Untermenschen.ReplyDelete
We are saying, however, that this guardian of the American discourse is using some rather hyperbolic, despicable language in his personal crusade against "grimy attack dogs", "subhumans", "insane" writers, and even "oily old coots."
That said (another favored Bobism), it really doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things because Bob long ago ceded any influence over the "American discorse" except among a tiny remnant of camp followers like you who will twist themselves into pretzels defending everything he says.
And if even directly calling Krystal Ball a "subhuman" doesn't cross any lines with you, then nothing will.
You left out "oligeanous" when recounting use of "oily old coot."
Perhaps you thought it redundant or even superfluous. My results differ.
Perhaps you overlook the obvious musical connections Somerby is so fond of. "Subhuman" was the title of songs by both Blue Oyster Cult and Garbage, and Somerby was referencing writing.ReplyDelete
On another musical note, perhaps he was thinking more of a rock god from his own younger days, Ted Nugent, who recently popularized the phrase "subhuman mongel." Since Somerby used the phrase right after calling someone else a dog, perhaps it was just an unconscious connection.
Yes. In the good old days there were usually only three or four, all telling Bob how wonderful he was. Then he fearlessly took on Maddow and her paid minions.ReplyDelete
So, the nasty trolls here are defenders of Maddow?ReplyDelete
Well of course. If you believe the three or four people who used to comment in the old days.ReplyDelete
Bring in the trolls;ReplyDelete
there ought to be trolls.
It's difficult to be precise in response to the blog world's most punctilious trolls. Apparently, the question was not whether TDH was himself calling for eugenic mass murder, but rather whether any of his readers are in favor of an eliminationist campaign. In other words, would any in the commentariat read a TDH blog entry and think, "Mass murder? Alright [sic]!"
Let me revise my answer because if a blogger uses "grimy" language, it's only expected that a troll will ask a question about the "utilization" of said language. OK, here goes: if you think there are any such readers, then you're stupid. Now is it clear?
But thank God there are at least trolls like Anonymous @9:16 who understands that TDH isn't calling directly for the eradication of the Untermenschen, and that TDH's subtle, indirect call for genocide would be disregarded because of his failure to influence "discourse [sic]." Good thing, too, since if TDH had any influence, it's likely that fevered minds would twist into pretzel shapes as they tumbled down that slippery slope to murder.
Am I to take it, from your use of the first person plural, @9:16, that you've been ordained King of the Trolls?