Dowd Lifts Anti-War Talking Points From "Talking Points" Blog

Columnist Maureen Dowd is in trouble again for misusing quotes. This time it's a paragraph in her latest column clearly lifted from liberal Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo blog.



Apparently Dowd took TPM's name too literally, for in her Sunday column, "Dick Cheney, Master of Pain," she indeed parroted Marshall virtually word for word in one paragraph:



Dowd:"More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq."

Marshall:"More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq."



Dowd confessed her mistake to the Huffington Post, saying she had relied on "a friend" for the "cogent" comment.



The Times' correction was underwhelming - two sentences in the bottom right-hand corner of the Monday edition:



Maureen Dowd's column on Sunday, about torture, failed to attribute a paragraph about the timeline for prisoner abuse to Josh Marshall's blog at Talking Points Memo. A corrected version appears online at nytimes.com/opinion.



Dowd has had problems in the past with quotes. Remember this "Dowdification" from a May 2003 column (a story broken on TimesWatch), in which she deleted part of a quote from President Bush to make him look naïve to the threat of Al Qaeda?


Busy chasing off Saddam, the president and vice president had told us that Al Qaeda was spent. "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."


Wrong. Here's what Bush actually said in Arkansas on May 5, 2003 (emphasize added on what Dowd deleted):


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. And we'll stay on the hunt. To make sure America is a secure country, the Al Qaeda terrorists have got to understand it doesn't matter how long it's going to take, they will be brought to justice.


It's clear Bush was only talking about the top Al Qaeda operatives that "are either jailed or dead" as being "not a problem anymore"- not the organization itself.