Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh for the love of

Look, I am not a big Maureen Dowd fan. She snarks well, but that's really not enough for me, and her retrograde gender assumptions and the way she applies them to, oh, national security rhetoric makes me want to break lots of things.

So when I heard she had apparently plagiarized Josh Marshall, I shook my head but I wasn't exactly devastated or shocked. It's always been a mystery to me how the woman ended up with a Pulitzer. She's just not that good a writer.

ANYWAY, I was interested to see what excuse they would come up with. I did not expect it to be this pathetic:

I didn't read his blog last week, and didn't have any idea he had made that point until you informed me just now.

i was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who 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.

but, clearly, my friend must have read josh marshall without mentioning that to me.

Really? Your friend remembered JMM's point word for word, and then you remembered his or her wording perfectly while you were weaving your shimmeringly sarcastic tapestry column?

Weak, weak sauce.

I should note that in this column, MoDo did come out in favor of a Truth Commission re: torture and that I consider this a good thing. She should be congratulated. And it seems that Josh's point was actually integral to the shift in her opinion, for which he should be congratulated. This all could have been a wonderful episode in political discussion and multimedia journalism if somebody had been just a little more careful, wherever the breakdown was.

I am almost inclined to believe it was accidental just because it seems impossible to me that anybody could know what TPM is and not know that it is a huge deal, with tons of readers who also read the NYT. There's no way you would get away with it. I can't imagine how exactly this could happen, though. Any way you look at it this whole incident is just a big dollop of unnecessary stupidity marring what was in fact an important statement by a major opinionator, whatever I think of her.

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