Supplemental: Ruth Marcus seemed to be sifting the truth!


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.


  1. Good to see Bob metaphorically slap three women at once and remind us that two of the three said nothing of the horrible treatment of Al Gore got almost 15 years ago and one played a role in the trashing of lactating Al.

    After reminding we his readers he reads comment threads Bob notes:

    "For a rather long chunk of Campaign 2000, Gore was trashed and psycho-analyzed for every aspect of his wardrobe and his appearance—.... In response, ugly, misogynistic treatment was dumped on the head of Naomi Wolf.

    That reminded me of a comment here at TDH.

    "Anonymous July 26, 2014

    Blogger Overlooks Defense of Gore

    WASHINGTON (AP)- Feminist Naomi Wolf said Sunday she took a pay cut to sign on at $15,000 a month with Vice President Al Gore and that ''I am not a fashion consultant'' for his campaign.

    A week after her role in Gore's candidacy was disclosed, Wolf said she is an adviser on women's issues and that some people have distorted her activities. She said she ''brings to the table'' views she has been writing about for 10 years - from the wage gap that women face to making a better balance between work and family.


    This reminds me that in the time he has trashed President Obama and Rachel Maddow, among others, for their reference to the 77 cent wage gap issue, Somerby has never mentioned how the Wolf advised Gore campaign took the exact same stance. Even though it was in his own comment section.

    1. At least all three are actually practicing journalism instead of fluffing talk shows and pillows or pushing daisies.

    2. I agree that the issues you raise are very problematic with regard to the author's thesis.

    3. "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."

      Where to begin?

      I do not know how many "regular liberals" comment in comment threads about Dowd. In fact, I am not certain what a "regular liberal" is or what would define a person as such.

      But I can say that even before The Daily Howler was a twinkle in Bob's eye, it occurred to me that Dowd was a cutesy, smarmy gossip columnist unworthy of a high school newspaper. Apparently, the brass at the NYT disagree with me, but so be it. I didn't need Somerby -- or even a "liberal leader" like Joan Walsh to tell me so. I reached that conclusion all on my own. And no, I am under no delusion that I am that smarter or more insightful than pretty much anyone else.

      But as long as we are scouring the comment threads of others for evidence to advance the narrative we want to tell, a very interesting thing has happened to comments from other sources re: Somerby.

      He used to get linked quite a bit in admirable fashion. Then along about 2008 when Maddow Derangement Syndrome began taking its toll on this blog, the links became fewer and farther between, and often along these likes: "Look at what the crazy old coot is bitching about now."

      And much like the "well, she used to be good . . ." comments re: Dowd, the comments re: Somerby are frequently, "He used to have something to say, but I got bored of reading about how everything in the world began with Al Gore and the election of 2000. And his obsession with Maddow is more than a bit loony. Oh well, he's still good on education."

      Too bad Joan Walsh hasn't set them straight. As his weeks saying the same thing about Amanda Ripley droned on, as the long Tour de Tuscaloosa with the Detour de Paris and Croatian-craving five-year-olds have demonstrated, Bob is no longer "good on education."

      So before BOBfans ask, why am I still here? I honestly have no idea. The only answer I can come up with is the old train wreck, burning house syndrome. Or a habit, like smoking, I can't seem to break, knowing full well that reading this blog is done at the risk of long-term loss of IQ points.

      But you know what I wish BOBfans would realize? That when he says things like "we, the people are dumb" and "those commenters never realized how awful she was, in large part because “liberal leaders” like Walsh simply weren’t willing to tell them" he's actually talking about you, too.

      Such is his disdain for us lesser forms of life.

    4. I agree with both statements in your penultimate paragraph and realize he is talking to me too. "We" after all could mean people in general of which Bob and you and I are. So I don't know why you differeniate Bob from the rest of us in your last paragraph or why it is disdain. Isn't it just calling it like it is?

    5. Why would you think people would think "we the people" did not mean them??

    6. Because Bob is like the fundamentalist preacher who tells his flock the pleasing tale that all the world's ills can be traced to those "other" sinners. He's not even clever.

      And as he attempts to show off his Harvard degree by citing philosophers he read about as an undergrad (today, we get a nice trip to Walden Pond of the pre-Doonesbury variety), I am reminded of the famous line from Good Will Hunting:

      "'Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth'? You got that from Vickers' "Work in Essex County," page 98, right? Yeah, I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter? Or do you, is that your thing, you come into a bar, read some obscure passage and then pretend - you pawn it off as your own, as your own idea just to impress some girls, embarrass my friend? See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you're gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you're going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don't do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a fuckin' education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!"

    7. 3:23 are you the same as 2:20? You are really off track and wasting your time with this. You're seeing things that are not there. Your wasting your time totally. Focus your intellect and mind to something more important and true to you. You can't change Bob or his ignorant flock. I really think you should change your life. You are worried about your IQ points and supposed thoughts and assumptions of readers of a blog? This is way, way off track. The world needs you. Stop f'ing around.

    8. $15,000 a month sounds like a lot for a non journalist like Wolf to be paid by the Gore campaign a whole year before the election. I hope he got his money's worth.

    9. 4:02, I really think you should worry about your own life.

    10. I disagree with the word "worry" but I see your point. Thank you.

    11. I worry that anyone with more than two IQ points to rub together comments on blogs. Perhaps like me they are victims of our paralyzed nation.

  2. Who's willing to tell the essential truth about our own paralyzed nation?

    1. Robert Somerby, Marshall Whittmann, Joe Lieberman, Chris Cilizza, the DLC, and any other scribe, politician, voice or organization that bellows that both sides do it or both sides are equally to blame, or the like.

      Feel better now?

    2. I thought the DLC, like Fawn Brodie, Dick Nixon, and a certain Norwegian Blue is no more. Shuffled off the mortal coil so to speak.

  3. Mention of Clark Hoyt reprimand: 44 and counting.

    1. Yes, it should be mentioned much more infrequently that the NYT public editor felt compelled to reprimand in print one of his columnists for her sexist portrayals of pols. We're hearing FAR too much of that!! To keep doing it -- why, that's the *real* sexism, as some other genius (yeah, sure) points out above.


    2. I agree that the mentions of Hoyt are too much in volume and highly problematic when it comes to the blogger's core thesis.

    3. One of Boxcar Bobbie's Greatest Hits. His fans never tire of hearing it one more time. Or 44.

    4. I think every other time Bob is tempted to retell the Hoyt story just because he is writing about Dowd, he should listen carefully to his inner voice asking "that said, is it really necessary in this post?" More often than not he should go ahead because his readers need reinforcement and you never know when somebody new will show up. But being a good listener is important and when you only have your inner voice to talk to, you should not ignore that familiar good counsel.

  4. Don't really have to go back to Gore (true tho it is) to find precedents -- wasn't it Dowd who gave us Obambi? ("But, but, Bambi wuz a boy!!!")

    1. Yes indeed it was. And Joan Walsh wrote a column criticizing Dowd for that, among other work, back in 2007.

      And guess what? That column was quoted extensively by KZ in this blogs comment box the last time Bob wrote that Joan Walsh had never and would never criticize Dowd. Which proves that Bob would rather jump off a bridge in Journalist County than get things factually correct.

      The Walsh column was entitled: Maureen Dowd slurs the Clintons and the Obamas

      Adjectives used and phrases included: "equally vicious,"..."a nasty column"..."Dowd was the emasculator"... "a subpar column"..."a nasty and uninspired piece of work"...a demeaning focus on his sexuality and “toughness.”

    2. But not only will Walsh, never, ever criticize Dowd, neither will Digby now that she has that influential gig at Salon.

      Except, of course, when they do. Which somehow means that they didn't really.

    3. You know what they say in Howlerland. "They'll jump off that bridge before they come to it....unless they cross it first."

    4. And if they can't cross the bridge, it's because of a legitimate traffic study in good faith, though bungled.

  5. Cornel West has been savaged for saying fairly normal things - like complaining about poverty in America - you'd think that's as obvious as Playmates wanting world peace and to help children - but no, especially but not only blacks who feel betrayed that someone challenged the black Prez to risk a bit more for liberal causes,

    Yes, Bob is repetitive, but so is the press corps, and he provides a service in focusing on how anchors like Maddow spin news into entertainment with well-excised inconvenient facts. It's similar to the Daily Show except Stewart's expected to be serving hyperbole & jokes.

    The fact is that both parties are helping the corruption, so it's not surprising that Dems & Repubs are both furthering the dysfunctionality. It's not quite "both sides do it" - the Republicans are certainly gonzo weird deranged, while the Dems are merely deluded or spineless or two-faced & inconsistent.

    The number of times "Hard-hitting" politicians or columnists get much less hard-hitting when they get a fat paycheck? Pretty huge. Someone recently noticed that Al Franken & Elizabeth Warren seem to be parroting the AIPAC line lately - and why shouldn't they? No gold in them opposition hills. Barry gave a speech in 2003 - doesn't matter how much torture he's covered up since, how many years he's kept us in Afghanistan - he's the anti-war candidate!!! Yes, the public is a moron, at least to a 50+% degree, so if you want to stay in politics, you will feed the moronic beast. THat's what our polling tells us at least.

    And yeah, Dowd is a princess bitch spouting nasty crap from Olympus. But we like those bitch Cinderella morality plays, much as we like remakes over and over of "Heathers".

    1. I liked Heathers, but like Bob I preferred the Chucky series.
      When you try and make a man/boy into a doll you should expect the resultant horror.Al should have fought back harder.
      The fact he didn't was upbringing and family pressure. Not because he was a stiff.

    2. 5:04

      When anything you do will be seen as evidence of a character flaw, there is no way to "fight back." Had he "fought back harder" (and how do you propose, in those days when internet opinion shaping was just beginning to become a force, that he did that?), it would have been used as an example of his thin-skinnedness, his hostility, his paranoia, whatever. It would have been something. Without a check on their behavior, which social media now provides to a degree, but did not provide at all then, there is no way to "fight back" against a determinedly hostile press corps. Is Obama "fighting back," now that he is no longer the darling of the Beltway because he isn't trying to cut social spending? Why, he is only getting what he deserves, then, just like Al Gore did.

      Bob obsesses over this way too much, but the overall points he makes are still sound.

    3. Al should have fought back harder. He should have named names. He should never have said he was sorry for Love Story and proved he took the initiative in internet creation.
      And he should never have caved on the Florida recount or lost his home state.

  6. OMB ( Wimpy Walsh Lets the Big OTB Down)

    We are sad BOB is not really being straight with you, his loyal readers. The real reason he is pissed about his particular Walsh piece is not because Walsh said Dowd was once incisive, in our opinion. It is because she called Dowd only "moderately influential."

    You see, although Dowd was "never funny or good" she was very, very, very influential. If not, BOB has been wasting his time.

    "Maureen Dowd has been the most influential, and most destructive, print journalist of the past thirty years." 3/21/12

    "Maureen Dowd may be the most influential print journalist of the past thirty years." 4/22/13

    "That said, Dowd is very influential within the American press corps...Dowd is a very major figure in American journalism." 5/12/13

    "This is the world of Maureen Dowd, the most influential print “journalist” of the past thirty years." 8/22/13

    We just can't have little Miss Walsh downplaying Bob's assessment of the reign of terror by the Queen of Mean.

    1. ZK, in about the same time span as Bob was practically calling Dowd the Edward R. Murrow of today, at least in terms of "influence," I challenged BOBfans, quite rhetorically, to think of a single person they knew who had ever cited a Maureen Dowd column to them as particularly insightful or influential.

      They called me a "troll."

      But then again, this is not only a perfect example of a strawman argument, it is also an example of Bob doing exactly that which he condemns in others.

      Only Bob is permitted to say such things as "the most influential journalist of the past thirty years" -- which is quite a claim -- without being required to produce a single shred of anything to support it.

      Bob could also be cheesed at Walsh (like he always is, even when she agrees with his meme about Dowd) because this phrase may have hit pretty close to home:

      "a formerly incisive, moderately influential social critic . . . driven to cruelty and irrelevance"

  7. Women have been running for president since before they had the vote. They are rarely considered viable candidates so the press ignores them. Think Shirley Chisholm, for example.

    1. ZKoD has not yet declared her candidacy.


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