Feature

Maureen Dowd’s plagiarism

Dowd’s borrowed line and the relationship between journalists and liberal bloggers

Maureen Dowd is having a rough Monday, said Allahpundit in Hot Air. The New York Times columnist was caught “cribbing” a long line—questioning the Bush administration’s motives for using “torture”—from a blog post by Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall. Dowd’s “unspeakably lame” excuse is that a friend fed her the line, but this just the latest in a string of cases demonstrating how much newspapers are influenced by the liberal blogosphere.

It’s silly to use the “Maureen Dowd–Josh Marshall plagiarism incident” as evidence of liberal bias in media, said Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. “The reason that liberal blogs are cited more often in the mainstream media is because they are more plentiful and more widely read than conservative blogs.” Liberals just dominate blogs the way conservatives dominate talk radio.

It’s certainly safe to say that reporters, editors, TV news producers, and pundits read lots of political blogs, said Glenn Greenwald in Salon. At the very least, this smashes the myth that bloggers are “parasites” stealing the work of real journalists. Dowd’s “wholesale, uncredited copying”—which she has admitted—showed that “the parasitical behavior is often the reverse of how it is depicted.”

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