Supplemental: Maureen Dowd (publicly) speaks!


Student IQs pay the price: Maureen Dowd doesn’t like the idea that Hillary Clinton accepts speaking fees for speeches delivered at colleges.

She voiced her disgust with the troubling practice in Sunday’s fiery column. After critiquing the rapacious Chelsea Clinton, the columnist offered these thoughts:
DOWD (7/13/14): Hillary doesn’t see the disconnect between expressing grave concern about mounting student loan debt while scarfing six-figure sums from at least eight colleges, and counting. She says now that she’s passing the university money to the foundation but, never Ms. Transparency, has refused to provide documentation of that. (She’s still pocketing other huge fees for speeches like her April talk in Las Vegas to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.)
OK—technically, Dowd didn’t say there was anything wrong with accepting fees for speaking at college. Technically, she said you shouldn’t accept such fees if you also voice concern about student loan debt.

There’s no real chance that Maureen Dowd will ever express such concerns. But wouldn’t you know it? As it turns out, Dowd give speeches at colleges too!

If Media Matters’ Joe Strupp is right, Dowd “receives an average of $30,000 per appearance, plus travel expenses” for her public speeches. “Average” means she sometimes gets more—and yes, she speaks to the kids:
STRUPP (7/14/13): Dowd went on to write that if [Chelsea] Clinton "really wants to be altruistic," she should "contribute the money to some independent charity not designed to burnish the Clinton name" or "speak for free."

Could the same be said of Dowd's own work on the paid speaking circuit? She has appeared at college campuses ranging from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to Hofstra University and the University of Rochester in the past. Her paid appearances have also spanned the likes of the Philadelphia Bar Association and Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston, N.J.

"We don't pay all of our speakers, but in her case I am sure we did," said Dan Anderson, vice president for university relations at Elon University in Elon, N.C., where Dowd spoke in 2012.

Dowd did not respond to a request for comment seeking to determine whether she donates her speaking fees to charity.
Should Chelsea Clinton speak for free? According to the news report Dowd cited in Sunday’s column, the majority of her speeches already are given for free. Dowd’s omission of that fact constitutes another sketchy part of her column, which we’d have to rate as “less than obsessively honest.”

At any rate, Maureen Dowd has spoken at various colleges. Despite her free advice for Hillary Clinton, it seems she scarfs a fee when she does—although, in fairness, Dowd is just scarfing a five-figure sum. A five-figure sum, plus expenses!

Whatever! Some would ask if Dowd’s remarks about college speaking fees don’t look a bit hypocritical. More troubling is the damage done to the nation’s future IQ.

Strupp links to a report from a campus publication about Dowd’s speech at Elon University in 2012. Dowd spoke on November 7, one day after President Obama’s re-election.

At Elon, the youngsters were ready to learn. Many leaned forward in their seats. eager to drink in the wisdom. Sadly, though, these were the headlines on the report about Dowd’s mighty speech:
NYT columnist: 'Daddy issues' define presidential candidates
Pulitzer Prize-winner Maureen Dowd on Nov. 7 shared insights into the men who campaign for the highest office in the land.
Gack! Dowd spoke about “Daddy issues”—and she specifically used the phrase, as you can see in the video clips of her remarks available at the link.

What did Dowd tell the college kids? This was part of the Elon report:
TOWNSEND (11/7/12): Instead of discussing voter turnout or campaign strategy, Dowd took her audience on a journey into the psyches of the men who seek the White House, all of whom over the past quarter century have been heavily influenced by their fathers.

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich either had little or no involvement from their fathers in their formative years. Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, John McCain and George H.W. Bush all lived under the shadows of their famous parents and acted in different ways to either gain approval or forge their own path away from their dads.

That plays into the way these men have sought their jobs and it subtly influences the messages of a campaign.
Needless to say, Dowd has been playing the shrink in the Times for a good number of years. It’s sad to think that she does the same when exposed to the nation’s students.

Does Dowd know how to “journey into the psyches of the men who seek the White House?” That strikes us as highly unlikely. We’d describe what she does somewhat differently:

We’d say she tends to dream up childish novels about the different contenders. Over the years, these novels have often seemed to emerge from fever dreams.

Today’s post constitutes a side trip on our task for the week. Dowd wrote a punishing column this Sunday, a column aimed at Hillary Clinton.

The column was less than obsessively honest. In our view, a more serious newspaper than the Times would have required a great many changes before the piece was allowed to appear.

The column wasn’t especially honest, but it did provide a set of lessons in how to gin up political scandal.

Tomorrow, we’ll review what Dowd has taught us. On Friday, the sounds of silence.

Five video clips five: The Elon report contains two video clips from Dowd’s speech, with links to three more clips. To watch all five, click here.

Did Dowd donate her fee that day? At Media Matters, Strupp is still waiting to hear. In her column, as shown above, Dowd complained about Clinton’s troubling lack of transparency concerning matters like that.


  1. Ad Hominem Tu Quoque

    1. Ain't fakin.
      Whole lotta quoque goin on.

  2. Wouldst the waspish tongue be silenced by suitor strong to say these words:

    You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Mo,
    And bonny Mo and sometimes Mo the curst;
    But Mo, the prettiest Mo in Christendom
    Mo of Mo Hall, my super-dainty Mo,
    For dainties are all Mos, and therefore, Mo,
    Take this of me, Mo of my consolation;
    Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,
    Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,
    Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,
    Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.

  3. Didn't Daddy's issues define all Presidential candidates and all human kind?

  4. At what point to "Supplementals" turn into a "Series"? We've had three in a row, all about the same Dowd column, and this one going to great lengths to show that Dowd is just as dumb in person. Who wudda thunk it?

    And I wonder what this is "Supplemental" to? Bob's new "War on Aristotle" series?

  5. Dowd's education consists of a B.A. in English. She is not qualified to perform psychoanalysis on public figures. People who are properly trained learn to respect the limits of their ability to attribute motives to people they have not met and know very little about. That makes her a complete fraud.

    It is fair to psychoanalyze people in novels because either the author gave their characters such motives or they deliberately created characters so that readers could attempt to analyze them. The analyses have no real consequences for the people in those novels. That is not true of people in real life, where such fantasies can hurt others.

    1. Look, I am not going to defend Dowd or her powers of psychoanalysis. Intellectually speaking, she'd be a mile wide and an inch deep if she were only a mile wide.

      But let's be consisent, shall we? What are Somerby's qualifications to psychoanalyze her -- or anybody else? He also does it with great regularity and predictability.

    2. Anyone can point out that there is something seriously wrong with Dowd. It takes an expert to say what.

    3. Only takes a dipstick.

    4. Bob is not performing psychoanalysis on Dowd. He is contrasting her rantings with observable reality.

    5. 1:23, well duh.

      But you're trying to tell it to a troll.

    6. Oh, I get it. According to the Rules of Somerby, it's perfectly acceptable to repeatedly call someone mentally ill and insane as long as you don't make a specific diagnosis.

      Glad to have Bob's sheep around to clear that up.

    7. The DSM5 is out. Why don't you check under "trolls" to see if they have your picture?

    8. "Readers who enjoy deadrat's comments also may like: ...."

      That would be deadrat.

    9. Oh, I'm sorry. Were my comments not worth more than you paid for them? Then I promise to stop making you read them. Fair's fair.

  6. Maureen is a nut and Bob is a nut. Which nut does more damage? Does one of these two nuts actually do some good?

    1. I believe Bob's post could do some good if someone important, like Chelsea's spokesperson Kamyl Bazbaz, would send it around to the regular working press covering the Clinton family activities.

    2. Yep. Bob's been carrying water by the bucketloads for Hillary. About time somebody from that camp returns the favor.

  7. When I was in college I got to see people as varied as Lilly Tomlin & G. Gordon Liddy perform (the word being especially appropo in Liddy's case) at university expense. Best ever was William Windom's "James Thurber." About as good as Holbrooks's "Mark Twain Tonight."

    I doubt anyone functioning at a university level would mistake Dowd for the Edward R. Murrow or Walter Lippman of her generation. But there is room, apparently, in student services budgets across the nation for the frothiest kind of entertainment. The kids will wind up paying for it in their loans till they're toothless.

    A speech by Dowd may not be the choice for my entertainment dollar (I'll stay home and watch Jon Stewart mug for the camera), but to each his own.

    1. And Mr. Stump's comment proves a point. Few Howler readers follow the links. Thus he furthers the notion that it is the students who bear the cost of these highly paid celebrity campus performances.

      Not always, Mr. Stump. And not in this case.

  8. Hillary Clinton will triumph.

    They made fun of her scant qualifications. They made fun of her clothes, her comments, her mannerisms, her money. They made fun of her family.

    She lost a tough, close race to a charismatic younger Senator with lesser qualifications than she.

    No, Maureen Dowd. Hillary will not just go away. No, Krystal Ball, she is not "our Romney."

    Hillary is our Nixon! Now, more than ever!

    1. A set of superficial similarities that overlook Nixon's defining characteristic, he was a crook.

    2. Not according to the one who knew him best.

  9. I read the Elon article and watched the video clips. Dowd really is a delusional embarrassment. Her pinched, pedantic and nasal delivery makes her extremely hard on the ears. For an average of $30,000.00 a pop you'd think she would at least memorize her speech instead of reading it from a piece of paper.