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Maureen Dowd’s Greatest Misses, Part II

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The recent Maureen Dowd post caused numerous people to mention other salient examples from her immense body of terrible work.  A couple strands are worth particular emphasis.

First Pareene had an excellent roundup of her remarkable history of distorting quotes.  Really, more than one of these should be firable offense, even if the rest of her work actually had merit.  And they’re never innocent mistakes — the dishonesty is always in the direction of the narrative she’s pushing.  “Who among us doesn’t like NASCAR?” is the classic example.  Leaving aside the consistent journalistic malpractice, this should also remind us that the idea that she has some kind of shrewd insight into people’s character is risible.  Her narratives are always the stalest, shallowest spin that’s already been established by flacks of the public official’s opponents.  “Al Gore is a soulless, goody-goody liar.” “George W. Bush is an amiable dunce.”  “John Kerry is an effete snob.”  “John Edwards is a pretty boy with a fancy haircut and a big house.”  “Barack Obama is a cold wimp.”  (In fairness, I’ll grant that “Bill deBlasio’s wife doesn’t know her place” is pretty much her own, although not to her credit.)  There’s nothing in her columns that you wouldn’t “learn”  if you spent a few minutes watching “consultants” yell at each other on bad cable news shows.

We discussed this at the time, but the other classic example was when Sandy Hook showed that there’s a first time for everything: in this case, Maureen Dowd caring about a public policy issue.   The first why she could have proceeded is to do some homework, try to find it if any feasible policy changes could have…hahahaha, OK, let’s be a little more realistic.  The political questions surrounding the issue — why couldn’t even the most popular gun control measure pass? — are still interesting, albeit not terribly complicated for anyone who paid some measure of attention to how Congress operates prior to 2013.  Her response, alas, was to wonder why the political team that got comprehensive health care reform passed where Truman and Clinton failed and LBJ didn’t. even. try. didn’t keep track of which Senate votes were needed.  I swear.  And this “analysis” is not just implicitly based on Aaron Sorkin scripts; it’s openly and explicitly based on Aaron Sorkin scripts, which indeed seem to be Dowd’s sole basis for political “knowledge.”

The fact that Dowd has been given large amounts of money to ostensibly write about politics by the nation’s best newspaper for more than two decades says a lot, and none of it is good.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that she’s also the Judy Miller of love.  The ultra-ultra hard sell the NYT gave to Are Men Necessary? was sort of their equivalent to Mouthpiece Theater.

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