Campaign watch: Commenters learn to sound off about Dowd!


Fourth column about her pal Trump:
In Sunday's New York Times, Maureen Dowd penned her latest pal-of-mine column about her pal, Candidate Trump.

Since January 31, Dowd has penned four columns about Trump. The tone of these columns has been rather unusual for Dowd. The Times provides these synopses:
April 3, 2016:
Trump Does It His Way
Donald Trump has an all-new sensation. He admits he was wrong.

March 20, 2016:
Will Trump Be Dumped?
Donald Trump fights those in his party who want to snatch away the nomination, and is unable to resist taking jabs at Elizabeth Warren and Megyn Kelly.

March 6, 2016:
Chickens, Home to Roost
Mixed emotions on Donald Trump: why he's wicked fun and just plain wicked at the same time.

January 31, 2016:
Here's the Beauty of Trump
He knows how to act properly when he needs to, he claims over the phone. But right now he doesn't need to.
"Here's the beauty of Trump!" We'd say the March 6 column was the least friendly to the hopeful. Even there, Dowd spent at least half the time explaining why Trump is "wicked fun."

In the other columns, especially the last two, Dowd has largely served as a sounding-board for Trump. She has adopted the helpful, understanding tone of an older or perhaps a kid sister.

Dowd's snide, sarcastic tone has been notably absent. Yesterday, we were struck by the way readers complained.

Below, we'll show you excerpts from the twenty comments which had the most reader recommendations as of yesterday afternoon. We were struck by the accurate way these readers described these unusual columns by Dowd.

Once again, though, we were struck by something else:

We were struck by the fact that Dowd's extremely peculiar work has produced essentially zero criticism from professional journalists during the many years when she has damaged the American discourse. We can think of two exceptions:

In November 1992, Katherine Boo wrote a 3800-word piece in the Washington Monthly. She warned about the "creeping Dowdism" which she said threatened the press corps and the national discourse.

Inevitably, Katherine Boo abandoned the "press corps" to work on serious books. What would you expect from a person who had been that prescient?

Sixteen years later, in June 2008, Clark Hoyt became the second career journalist who dared speak the truth about Dowd. In his role as the New York Times public editor, Hoyt savaged Dowd for the torrent of sexist, misogynistic columns she had written about Candidate Clinton's pursuit of the White House. Among the nation's play-for-pay "press corps," no one else had been able to see Dowd doing that!

Because of her status at the Times, Dowd has been a virtual untouchable over the past many years. The other people who pretend to be journalists have refused to comment on her Dowdism, which stopped creeping at some point and consumed the press corps instead.

Liberal readers were also very slow to notice Dowd's inanity and poison. In the last few years, they've finally begun to catch on.

Reading comments yesterday, we were struck by the accurate readings commenters offered of Dowd's recent columns on Trump.

Dowd has been full of poison, for many years, for Clinton, Clinton, Obama and Gore. She has also savaged a series of Democratic wives. In 2004, her columns about Howard Dean's wife were Trumpian in their ugliness and, of course, their inanity.

In all those years, only Hoyt stood up to speak about this ugly mess. The other people we think of as "journalists" all agreed to look away as this gong-show proceeded.

Below, you see excerpts from the twenty comments which had been recommended by the most readers as of yesterday afternoon. We haven't left any comments out. They were the readers' top twenty, bar none.

At long last, Dowd's readers have begun to object to her strangeness and her poison. The people who get peddled to you as "journalists" are still, needless to say, remaining very still:
COMMENTER FROM NEW JERSEY: Note to the Maureen Dowd isolation chamber...there you and the entire fraudulent American press go again, indulging us with another pubertal essay and junior high school discussion of boys, girls, hair, skin, looks and popularity.

COMMENTER FROM BROOKLYN: I do not understand why Maureen Dowd continues to be a featured political columnist in the Times. She seems much more interested in celebrity than in thoughtful political analysis and continually needs to remind readers of her close personal relationships with the rich & famous. Maybe Maureen can do a gossip column for a tabloid or entertainment website. New York Times, you can do better than this.

COMMENTER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Typical Dowd: fawning all over Mr. MASCULINE while saving her wrath for the one real adult in the room, our current president.

COMMENTER: A fascinating column that highlights the symbiotic relationship that Dowd has with Trump. She sounds more like his friend than a member of the [fourth] estate.

COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK: Ms. Dowd gets paid to write a column once a week and this is what we get?

COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK CITY: Good lord, even in a hit piece on Trump, Maureen Dowd saves her worst slam for Hillary Clinton. When is the NYTimes going to stop enabling this demagogue with a vendetta?

COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK: So you can treat Donald Trump in a civil fashion but Hillary is the devil incarnate? How can anyone take you seriously?

COMMENTER FROM FLORIDA: Not even sure why you write these columns about Trump. You obviously admire him yet you pretend to criticize him. Silly, really.

COMMENTER FROM MAINE: The comments are right on. Dowd's friendship with Trump has, for me, become one of mutual narcissism.

COMMENTER FROM CONNECTICUT: It's time to pack it in, Mo. This said nothing, other than you've cozied up to TD.

COMMENTER FROM TUCSON: Tweedle Dee interviews Tweedle Dum.

COMMENTER FROM VIRGINIA: What, Maureen, not one snarky, sneering word, like you constantly lavish on President Obama or Hillary Clinton? Just some gentle admonishment for Trump?...Why does the Times waste column space on Dowd?

COMMENTER FROM THE MIDWEST: Ms. Dowd, I expect more from an NYT opinion page columnist. Please stop wasting column space on DT and actually write about real issues (or at least real politicians).

COMMENTER FROM THAILAND: Such a superficial article.

COMMENTER: When a New York Times columnist asks a presidential candidate, "How do you rate your own looks?" we know we've reached the bottom.

COMMENTER FROM MIAMI: Maureen is in love! And just like any bright teenage girl, she falls for the dumbest bad-boy in class. Hand it to Trump. He is the only person that has found a way to drain out all the venom and bile that usually characterizes Dowd's columns.

COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK: The larger question becomes why has Maureen Dowd wasted this space and her voice on Trump? Are we supposed to be impressed that she has access to this ludicrous, highly unstable individual? Having trashed President Obama ("Barry" in Dowd's denigrating parlance), Hillary, and Bernie, she now can write about the only candidate demented enough to take her seriously.

COMMENTER: Dowd's snarky comments about serious politicians such as Obama, and her kid gloves treatment of Trump, are quite amazing to behold.

COMMENTER FROM PROVIDENCE: Ms. Dowd, you have a column with the New York Times and asked Trump how he rates his looks? The NYT readership should expect far more hardball questions of a presidential candidate by one of their columnists.

COMMENTER FROM CINCINNATI: Is this a girl crush on Donald Trump in every column on Trump? While every single column on Hillary Clinton Dowd's venomous wrath come out. Total wastage of space.
Those are excerpts from the twenty most-recommended comments. We thought this comment also captured the tone of Dowd's latest buddy piece:
COMMENTER FROM NEW JERSEY: I am never sure what to get out of a column like this. It appears that Ms. Dowd is having a personal conversation with a celebrity friend. She brings her sister into the discussion and gives the Donald a bit of neighborly advice on how to behave. As far as true content and what Trump's policies are, I've learned absolutely nothing. It's like eating cotton candy at a carnival.
Long ago, Boo was prescient in her "Creeping Dowdism" piece. Inevitably, there's no public link to the essay in which she accurately told her guild what they would soon become.



    1. Boo's book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is wonderful.

    2. She and Dowd are both Pulitzer Prize winners.

    3. In November 1992, Katherine Boo wrote a 3800-word piece in the Washington Monthly....

      Inevitably, Katherine Boo abandoned the "press corps" to work on serious books. What would you expect from a person who had been that prescient?"

      Bob doesn't say boo about the fact that Boo's inevitable book came 20 years after the article about Dowd during which time she continued her journalism career for a longer period than Bob has spent in any of his three largely unnoticed professional paths.

    4. She isn't old enough for that to be true.

      Her book is excellent. I hope she writes many more books.

  2. Instead of B.S. devoting endless musings about why fellow libs in media feel compelled to make valid criticisms about HRC, perhaps he could explain with supportable facts why he considers HRC beyond reproach.

    1. You would not recognize truth for what it is due to your confirmation bias problem.

    2. @2:47

      Does your confirmation bias render you incapable of recognizing the irony of your post?

    3. @ 2:47 enjoys proving Bob Somerby right.

    4. Aww, cicero's got a little puppy. How cute.

    5. @11:48

    6. @ 11:05

  3. I once discussed Dowd with my wife's former roommate at Wellesley, Joanne in NJ. Joanne suprised me by saying that enjoys Dowd's columns; she finds Dowd amusing. Based on that sample of 1, I deduce that Dowd has a following of readers who enjoy her columns, Heaven help us.

  4. Back in the day you had this unhappy woman face down in JFK's shag rug. Perhaps she rolled over one day, looked up at the a/c vent a la Llewelyn Moss, and discovered a hidden trove of blackmail-able goodies.

  5. Back in the day you had this unhappy woman face down in JFK's shag rug. Perhaps she rolled over one day, looked up at the a/c vent a la Llewelyn Moss, and discovered a hidden trove of blackmail-able goodies.

    1. Perhaps the said "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp." Perhaps you were trying to decide which comment to print so you forced yourself to fliup a coin and they both lost.

  6. This is fine and even timely, but it also says quite a bit about Bob's limited focus. A lot of people wrote off Mo Dowd a long, long time ago. It's hard to remember anyone really taking her seriously in a long time.

    Bill Maher and Charlie Rose deserve a lot of credit for legitimizing her, David Denby went to great lengths lamenting her supposed fall from great work in his book "Snark."
    Couldn't tell you the writer, but I remember a conservative writing that her good years as a talent were over when She started to finally call W to account. The dumb jokes about Clinton were brilliant but the dumb jokes about W, well, She just doesn't have it anymore.

    Bob next assignment should be Camille Paglia and the very strange relationship She has with Salon.

    1. "It's hard to remember anyone really taking her seriously in a long time."

      Yeah. You'd have to go all the way back to April 2, 2016.

      Here's Kevin Drum:
      I don't usually have much use for Maureen Dowd, but credit where it's due. Today she asked Donald Trump the question all of us have been dying to ask him:

      In an MSNBC interview with Chris Matthews, the formerly pro-choice Trump somehow managed to end up to the right of the National Right to Life Committee when he said that for women, but not men, “there has to be some form of punishment” if a President Trump makes abortion illegal.

      ....Given his draconian comment, sending women back to back alleys, I had to ask: When he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan, was he ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?

      “Such an interesting question,” he said. “So what’s your next question?”

    2. Yes, PROOF that masses of people still take Dowd seriously.

      I mean, what could be more definitive that a blog post that begins: "I don't usually have much use for Maureen Dowd . . ."

    3. Kristof's Krying Haitian KidApril 5, 2016 at 11:07 AM

      What could be more definitive? A whole post praising Rev. Kristof-Dimmesdale for violating a rule his guild never breaks, causing the press to violate the rule en masse?

    4. @ 8:45 PM - reading comprehension not your strong suit?
      Greg said "anyone", not "masses" and "I have to give her credit" is not the same as not taking Dowd seriously.

      FWIW - Dowd IS useless, but so is making shit up.

    5. Dave the Guitar PlayerApril 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM

      I don't think you make the claim that no one takes Dowd seriously anymore when she get published in the NYT twice a week and is regularly quoted. Since many here think Bob is useless, maybe we should suggest that the NYT replace her with Bob.

    6. Then again, maybe we shouldn't.

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  8. Reading Dowd's column is like reading a spoiled teenager's slam book.

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