Da Noive! Maureen Dowd Swiftboats Brian Williams

If the Iraqis never really took a shot at NBC anchor Brian Williams, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning pundit Maureen Dowd most surely did, and there was nothing friendly about the fire.

What made Williams vulnerable was his status as one of the many “pretty white male clones” in television newsrooms. A diversity champion, Dowd appears to have used her attack on Williams’s “pathological” tales of derring-do as a way to subvert the broadcast media’s white male hegemony.

To be sure, Williams deserves just about all the abuse he has had heaped upon him, but Dowd is the last person who should be doing the heaping.

Come journalism Judgment Day when their respective sins are weighed and measured, Williams will find himself in or about the Third Circle of Hell along with the other blowhards and self-aggrandizers. Unless she repents, Dowd seems destined to bed down with the slanderers, liars, hypocrites, and plagiarists in journalist hell’s deepest circle, the Ninth.

Her sins are many. High among them is the bending of facts to support her selective outrage. As Dowd noted, “Williams felt compelled to try to steal the kind of glory that can only be earned the hard way.” Fair enough, but she has given other more politically useful glory thieves a pass, John Kerry most notably.

Like Williams and most reporters in the mainstream media, Dowd has tended to ignore any information that did not come out of her increasingly partisan newsroom. In the case of Kerry, that overlooked information included the testimony of a score or more of Kerry’s colleagues and a wealth of corroborative evidence.

Liberals like Dowd would attribute Kerry’s loss to the fact that he would not fight back against the Swifties. They refused to accept the reality that he could not. The Swifties had the truth on their side. Kerry chose the strategically wiser route -- step aside and let allies like Dowd smear the opposition. 

Given the liberals’ control of the airwaves and the academy, they have managed to turn “swiftboat” into a verb meaning “a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair or untrue -- for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign.” In another context, Dowd would cite the Swiftboat campaign as symptom of “our long national slide into untruth.”

At the time, unable to counter that testimony or affirm Kerry’s easily disproved stories, Dowd attacked the vets personally. From her perspective, they were “swift boat sleazoids,” who had no other apparent motive than “sliming a war hero as a war criminal.”

Of course, the vets never accused Kerry of war crimes, but facts have rarely prevented Dowd from making her case. “Please fire Maureen Dowd,” read the headline of a comprehensive article in Salon two years ago, “or get her a fact-checker.” And Salon had no political bone to pick. It leans left much as Dowd does.

That is not the worst of it. In May 2009, Dowd got caught stealing something even more serious in her world than glory, namely the words of another writer. The writer in question was Talking Points Memo editor, Josh Marshall. In his blog, Marshall had written the following:

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

If you are expecting some rough approximation of Marshall’s thought, brace yourself. Here is what Dowd wrote a few days later:

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Dowd made no changes other than to replace Marshall’s original “we were” with the more politically charged “the Bush crowd was.” Like all plagiarists with clout, Dowd chose to lie her way through the crisis.

“I was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing,” Dowd began. Apparently, this friend “suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column.” 

Added Dowd, “My friend must have read Josh Marshall without mentioning that to me.” In essence, Dowd wanted the reader to believe that a friend had recalled Marshall’s sentiments, and Dowd remembered them as told word-for-word, unaware that they had come from Marshall.

The odds of this having happened the way Dowd described it are in the monkey-typing-Hamlet range. No rational person could believe it. No matter. The Times had already written at least two glowing profiles on Marshall, a liberal partisan, and praised TPM as "one of the most popular and most respected sites" in the blogosphere.

Not wanting to make enemies at the Times, Marshall collaborated in the cover-up. “I generally think we're too quick to pull the trigger with charges of plagiarism,” wrote Marshall disingenuously. “Dowd and the Times quickly corrected it, which I appreciated. And for me, that's pretty much the end of it.”

The Times translated Marshall’s shrewd deference into something like approval. “There is no need to do anything further,” opined the editors, “since there is no allegation, hint or anything else from Marshall that this was anything but an error. It was corrected.”

No, the “error” was never corrected because it was not an error. It was fraud, fraud papered over with lies from Dowd, deception from Marshall, and the gross institutional dishonesty of the New York Times.

Sometimes, Dowd surely understands, it pays not to be one of those many “pretty white male clones.”

If the Iraqis never really took a shot at NBC anchor Brian Williams, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning pundit Maureen Dowd most surely did, and there was nothing friendly about the fire.

What made Williams vulnerable was his status as one of the many “pretty white male clones” in television newsrooms. A diversity champion, Dowd appears to have used her attack on Williams’s “pathological” tales of derring-do as a way to subvert the broadcast media’s white male hegemony.

To be sure, Williams deserves just about all the abuse he has had heaped upon him, but Dowd is the last person who should be doing the heaping.

Come journalism Judgment Day when their respective sins are weighed and measured, Williams will find himself in or about the Third Circle of Hell along with the other blowhards and self-aggrandizers. Unless she repents, Dowd seems destined to bed down with the slanderers, liars, hypocrites, and plagiarists in journalist hell’s deepest circle, the Ninth.

Her sins are many. High among them is the bending of facts to support her selective outrage. As Dowd noted, “Williams felt compelled to try to steal the kind of glory that can only be earned the hard way.” Fair enough, but she has given other more politically useful glory thieves a pass, John Kerry most notably.

Like Williams and most reporters in the mainstream media, Dowd has tended to ignore any information that did not come out of her increasingly partisan newsroom. In the case of Kerry, that overlooked information included the testimony of a score or more of Kerry’s colleagues and a wealth of corroborative evidence.

Liberals like Dowd would attribute Kerry’s loss to the fact that he would not fight back against the Swifties. They refused to accept the reality that he could not. The Swifties had the truth on their side. Kerry chose the strategically wiser route -- step aside and let allies like Dowd smear the opposition. 

Given the liberals’ control of the airwaves and the academy, they have managed to turn “swiftboat” into a verb meaning “a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair or untrue -- for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign.” In another context, Dowd would cite the Swiftboat campaign as symptom of “our long national slide into untruth.”

At the time, unable to counter that testimony or affirm Kerry’s easily disproved stories, Dowd attacked the vets personally. From her perspective, they were “swift boat sleazoids,” who had no other apparent motive than “sliming a war hero as a war criminal.”

Of course, the vets never accused Kerry of war crimes, but facts have rarely prevented Dowd from making her case. “Please fire Maureen Dowd,” read the headline of a comprehensive article in Salon two years ago, “or get her a fact-checker.” And Salon had no political bone to pick. It leans left much as Dowd does.

That is not the worst of it. In May 2009, Dowd got caught stealing something even more serious in her world than glory, namely the words of another writer. The writer in question was Talking Points Memo editor, Josh Marshall. In his blog, Marshall had written the following:

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

If you are expecting some rough approximation of Marshall’s thought, brace yourself. Here is what Dowd wrote a few days later:

More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Dowd made no changes other than to replace Marshall’s original “we were” with the more politically charged “the Bush crowd was.” Like all plagiarists with clout, Dowd chose to lie her way through the crisis.

“I was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing,” Dowd began. Apparently, this friend “suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column.” 

Added Dowd, “My friend must have read Josh Marshall without mentioning that to me.” In essence, Dowd wanted the reader to believe that a friend had recalled Marshall’s sentiments, and Dowd remembered them as told word-for-word, unaware that they had come from Marshall.

The odds of this having happened the way Dowd described it are in the monkey-typing-Hamlet range. No rational person could believe it. No matter. The Times had already written at least two glowing profiles on Marshall, a liberal partisan, and praised TPM as "one of the most popular and most respected sites" in the blogosphere.

Not wanting to make enemies at the Times, Marshall collaborated in the cover-up. “I generally think we're too quick to pull the trigger with charges of plagiarism,” wrote Marshall disingenuously. “Dowd and the Times quickly corrected it, which I appreciated. And for me, that's pretty much the end of it.”

The Times translated Marshall’s shrewd deference into something like approval. “There is no need to do anything further,” opined the editors, “since there is no allegation, hint or anything else from Marshall that this was anything but an error. It was corrected.”

No, the “error” was never corrected because it was not an error. It was fraud, fraud papered over with lies from Dowd, deception from Marshall, and the gross institutional dishonesty of the New York Times.

Sometimes, Dowd surely understands, it pays not to be one of those many “pretty white male clones.”