The Misdeeds of Times Star Columnist Maureen Dowd
Photo Credit: Erika Cross/Shutterstock.com
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
New York Times star columnist Maureen Dowd just isn't one to let the facts get in the way of a good story—or an accurate quote for that matter. Her most recent misdeed, for which she has apologized (most likely in the face of tape recorded evidence against her) is misquoting Progressive Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray. A little background: de Blasio, the only candidate in the race who is talking about inequality (more severe in New York than just about anywhere else in the country) has lately overtaken longtime frontrunner Christine Quinn in the polls. (Anthony Weiner briefly led before self-imploding.) Quinn is an out lesbian, married to her partner, but that might be it in terms of her progressive credentials. She is seen as too cozy with big business and real estate.
But back to Dowd, who, it seems decided to stir up a little trouble. She quoted McCray, de Blasio’s wife, saying that she thinks Quinn is “not accessible … She’s not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave.” Understandably, took this as implying that she, a childless lesbian doesn’t understand issues “like taking care of children,” in other words a swipe at her sexual orientation.
But McCray did not say that. Dowd compressed what she said to such an extent that it really altered the meaning. What McCray did say, responding to a question of why women may not supporting Quinn in droves is:
“Well, I am a woman, and she is not speaking to the issues I care about, and I think a lot of women feel the same way. I don’t see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace; she is not speaking to any of those issues. What can I say? And she’s not accessible, she’s not the kind of person that, I feel, that you can go up and talk to and have a conversation with about those things. And I suspect that other women feel the same thing I’m feeling.”
Pretty different. Although it should be said, Quinn was still mad.
Dowd's accuracy has been shaky, and she can be pretty offensive, like when she wrote recently:
"When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.
Comparatively speaking, the pol from Queens probably seems like a prince."
But here, as reported by NY Mag's Daily Intelligencer writer Dan Amira, are some other less than proud Dowd moments:
May 13, 2003:
Following a successful terror attack in Saudi Arabia, Dowd writes, "Busy chasing off Saddam, the president and vice president had told us that Al Qaeda was spent." Her evidence?
''Al Qaeda is on the run,'' President Bush said last week. ''That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated ... They're not a problem anymore.''
It turns out those ellipses were pretty important. Andrew Sullivan noted the important context Dowd left out of her truncated quote:
Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they’re not a problem anymore.