Chutzpah: Maureen Dowd Accuses Someone Else of Lacking Credibility

October 24th, 2005 2:19 PM

Times columnist Maureen Dowd (TimesSelect $ required) strikes the first inside blow against Judy Miller in her Saturday column, "Woman Of Mass Destruction," which opens with this piece of poisoned candy: "I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp. The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy -- her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur -- have never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types."

Then she puts the knife in: "She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet 'Miss Run Amok.' Judy's stories about W.M.D. fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war."

Dowd, a former reporter, provides a bit of newsroom grit to make her case against Miller: "It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like 'Valerie Flame.' Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she 'did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby.'"

But is Dowd a credible person to decide who and who isn't credible?

Remember her dishonest deletion of a quote by Bush in a column from May 2003, a ham-handed attempt to make him look naïve about the dangers of Al Qaeda.

What Dowd said Bush said back then: "Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated...They're not a problem anymore.'"

As Robert Cox first pointed out (a detail he helped TimesWatch break), this is what Bush actually said: "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. Dowd dishonestly deleted one full sentence and the first three words of the next one to make Bush "say" Al Qaeda was no longer a threat.

For more instances of liberal bias at the Times, visit TimesWatch.