Saturday, March 3, 2007

Sorry, Mo--I'm just not that into you

I used to read Maureen Dowd regularly, but I quit when she went behind the Times Select pay-per firewall. Media Matters reminds me of what I haven't been missing:
In her February 28 column, titled "Ozone Man Sequel" (subscription required), New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd described former Vice President Al Gore as the "man who was prescient on climate change, the Internet, terrorism and Iraq," and wrote that "[i]t must be excruciating not only to lose a presidency you've won because the Supreme Court turned partisan and stopped the vote, but to then watch the madness of King George and Tricky Dick II as they misled their way into serial catastrophes." Dowd wondered who Gore must blame more for his defeat in the 2000 election: "Does he blame himself? Does he blame the voting machines? Ralph Nader? Robert Shrum? Naomi Wolf? How about Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.?" Yet, as blogger Bob Somerby noted, Dowd omitted an obvious other potential target of blame: the media. Indeed, Dowd herself, while now praising Gore for being "prescient" on such issues, relentlessly mocked Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign and onward for what she described as Gore's "obsessions about global warming and the information highway."
Everyone's fault but Mo's. (Well, everyone but Mo and the Post's Richard Cohen.)

This is one of those articles that make me covet my neighbor's LexisNexis subscription. Apart from being an amateur philologist's dream, it makes it possible to document the patterns in media coverage that one can otherwise only suspect.

I remember once reading an appraisal of Dowd's work that made the point--striking to me at the time, although in hindsight I can't imagine why--that you could read her stuff indefinitely and never know what she was for. Plenty of indication of what she didn't like, but what about whatever she did stand for?

Ten years on at the Times editorial page and we don't have an answer, which suggests that perhaps we do after all: She's about perpetuating her uber-insider status, and not much else.

So the truth is, Mo, I'm just not into you anymore. Good luck with that whole Queen Bee thing. Of course I am willing to walk away quietly, which is more than you're going to get from Bob Somerby (who, come to think about it, is almost as good as a Lexis/Nexis subscription--even better, when you consider he works up to speed by calling her a "gender war stump," whatever that means, even before he really starts getting pissed). He will be with you to the grave.

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