Sunday, May 17, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Dowd Tells NYTPicker She Talks To Her Friend "By Phone And Email." Did Dowd Cut and Paste?

Maureen Dowd has replied to the latest series of questions from The NYTPicker by explaining only that her conversations with her "friend" took place via "phone and email."

But Dowd has still failed to clarify the question that still hangs over today's accusations of plagiarism. Even if -- as she claims -- her friend gave her the idea for the paragraph, how could it have ended up as a virtual verbatim quote from Joshua Micah Marshall unless it was dictated to Dowd, or copied directly from an email?

These questions go to the heart of Dowd's position. She has previously and flatly denied to The NYTPicker that the point was dictated to her. Her latest statement leaves only the possibility that her "friend" placed Marshall's point into an email, and that Dowd then cut-and-pasted it directly (with a couple of minor word changes) into her column.

Here is the latest exchange of emails between Dowd and The NYTPicker:

from The NYTPicker, Sunday, 8:34 p.m.:

many thanks for your forthright and prompt responses to our questions. we appreciate your point tha you are happy to give credit, and we know that is the case from reading your columns. however, in this instance your explanation doesn't seem quite logical given the verbatim nature of the copying., "I paid attention and made the point," you say. okay, we still just don't understand how this point gets repeated verbatim, word for word. even the commas are in exactly the same place. it simply seems implausible that it wasn't dictated or given to you in some form.

we are pressing this point because, as you know from your experience as a reporter, plagiarism is a serious offense. you are claiming that this came in a verbal conversation and you said your friend "made this point." it's one thing to make a point, it's another to speak in verbatim language from another writer.

your explanation does not fully address how this could have happened and we intend to make this point as forcefully as we can on our website. however, before doing so, we welcome any further details you can provide as to how this happened.

followup from The NYTPicker, Sunday, 8:41 p.m.:

was this conversaton on the phone or via im? that would help readers to understand how the language was virtually the same.

response from Maureen Dowd, Sunday, 9:30 p.m.:

Its a friend I talk to by phone and email
We went back and forth discussing what I was writing about; I just had no idea that pont was josh's; he's now credited on the web

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