Maureen Dowd goes there again: Finally, it has happened! A Yale professor, David Bromwich, has criticized the New York Times for its fatuous treatment of a Democratic White House contender.
To read his piece, click here.
We’ve been asking the professors to do this for years! Tomorrow, we’ll review the issues at hand. We’ll also profile Sarah Lyall, the Philips Exeter/Yale graduate who wrote Saturday’s front-page profile of the young Bernie Sanders.
For today, we’re going to stick with the basics. Yesterday, the Times placed the pitiful Maureen Dowd on the front page of its Sunday Review once again.
Seventeen years later, inevitably, she started with You Know Who. Needless to say, her dateline was Paris, a famous place we'll always have along with Dowd’s derangement
DOWD (7/5/15): The turquoise tranquillity of the Côte d’Azur was rocked a couple of times during the Cannes Lions Festival, the advertising world’s rosé-soaked answer to the Cannes Film Festival.There they were! Another 358 hiss-spitting words about “that woman,” You Know Who. Also, another complaint about the “prissy” Gore.
Al Gore snubbed Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky, who was giving a speech for Ogilvy & Mather about how she became “patient zero” in the cyberbullying epidemic, was slated to sit in a V.I.P. box with the former vice president, who got an award for being a good brand.
But her invite got yanked.
The contretemps was a reminder that Gore’s prissy attitude toward l’affaire Monica helped cost him the election, because he was so angry at Bill Clinton that he leashed the Big Dog, curtailing the president’s campaigning, even in the South. If Al had been less eager to put baby in a corner, there would have been no phony action on Iraq and plenty of action on melting glaciers.
Monica’s main bullies were not of the cyber variety. The Internet was just getting up and running. Her chief bullies were flesh and blood, a raffish president and feminist first lady who are now vying to be a feminist president and raffish first lad. They’re the ones who tried to paint her as a “narcissistic looney toon,” as Hillary put it to her friend Diane Blair.
Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary’s Doberman and email correspondent, led the sliming of Monica as a fantasist and stalker. Hillary’s friends do not regard Monica as a victim, but a predator. They think she let herself in for trouble when she took up with a married president who was a magnet for right-wing bullies.
Yet, as Hillary’s advisers said, being the victim of the Monica mess gave Hillary the impetus, and public good will, to start her own political rise.
In her speech at Cannes, Monica did say it hurt to be called “That Woman.” But other than that reference to Bill Clinton, she sticks to anonymous cyberbullies, which may be prudent, with Hillary out on the trail. And even if it’s a dodge, it’s nice to see the 41-year-old move out of her self-imposed exile, looking lovely, acting gracious and speaking out for a good cause.
Simply put, Dowd’s can’t stop herself. Neither can the New York Times, who paired Dowd’s latest with this sad, disordered piece by Tim Kreider, an allegedly drunken man who doesn’t seem to like lower-class whites, who are less grand than he is.
If you want to understand the Times, we’d say that attitude is a key part of the profile. Returning to Dowd, let’s offer a few quick notes:
Dowd gives the clear impression that Gore had You Know Who’s invitation yanked last week. There is no evidence of that in the reporting of this pointless event.
Meanwhile, Miss Lewinsky has been taken by some to have said that she chose not to sit in the VIP box with Gore. Under the circumstances, that would be a sign of good judgment on her part, poisonous commentary-wise.
(It would also show good sense for Gore to avoid the pairing.)
Ignoring the lack of factual clarity, Dowd simply told you the version of the story she liked. From there, she continued her decades-old practice of gender-trashing Democratic men, who are all secretly women.
In Gore’s case, he was once “so feminized he was practically lactating.” On the Sunday before the 2000 election, Dowd pictured him singing “I Feel Pretty” as he admired himself in the mirror.
Yesterday, he was said to be “prissy” concerning Bill Clinton’s affair. Dowd will never stop writing such things, and the Times will never stop printing them.
(For the record: No, that actually isn’t the way George Bush ended up in the White House. The electoral situation confronting Gore was much more complex than that. In comments, it’s painful to see how easy it is to script the public to believe such things.)
It’s stunning to think that the New York Times keeps putting these cries for help in print. Even more amazing is the way they let their deranged star columnist complain about the people who “bullied” Lewinsky, “sliming her as a fantasist and a stalker.”
Dowd was very much one of those people! Among her three million real-time columns about That Woman was the demented late August piece directly comparing Miss Lewinsky to the famous Glenn Close character.
Below, we offer excerpts. Headline—“Monica Gets Her Man:”
DOWD (8/23/98): After the President's prime-time confession, the news media were abuzz about whether Mr. Clinton could repair his damaged relationships with his wife and daughter.There’s more—there always was, and always will be—but you get the idea.
Suddenly, That Woman stamped her feet. Like the Glenn Close character in ''Fatal Attraction,'' Monica Lewinsky issued a chilling ultimatum to the man who jilted her: I will not be ignored.
She let it be known that she was wounded that the President had failed to apologize to her and had dismissed their grand, 18-month romance, their shared passion for books and laughs, as trivial—a mere mechanism for relieving Oval Office tension.
While she is not a stalker, since Mr. Clinton encouraged her interest for quite some time, she is certainly aggressive. Otherwise, as a mere intern, she could not have barged through all the protective layers around the President. And she was, according to the Tripp tapes, desperate to continue the relationship after the President had slithered away. I will not be ignored.
Monica has at least one special talent: she is relentless. It was the quality that got her noticed by Bill Clinton, and it is the quality that will prevent him from ever escaping her.
There is a sort of rough romantic justice here. It may be de trop to punish this President with impeachment or resignation. In his case, the punishment is the crime. Monica will never let him go. She will be center stage for the rest of his Presidency, doing a star turn at Congressional hearings, granting celebrity interviews, signing book and movie deals.
It will not be in the way she envisioned, but she will get to ride off into the sunset with her man after all. Monica Lewinsky is Bill Clinton's legacy. They are linked together forever and ever.
“They are linked together forever and ever?” As it turns out, that was a promise on Dowd’s part more than a prediction.
It’s easy to see that Dowd is some version of empty, lost, sad. It’s more important to notice the fact that the New York Times can’t see this.
Even seventeen years later, the Times insists on publishing this relentless dreck, which it rewarded in this case with its highest platform. In this case, the Times paired Dowd’s piece with that sad effort by Kreider.
The pieces are peas in a pod. Because we live in Baltimore, we know how silly and empty Kreider’s essay actually is. But even if you don’t live here, you should be able to see that.
The New York Times seems to be full of empty, lost, confused striving souls. Given the newspaper’s famous faux brand, it’s hard for people to see that.
Tomorrow: Kreider, Bromwich, Lyall and the soul of the New York Times