Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ten Days Later, NYT Still Hasn't Attributed That Infamous Maureen Dowd Paragraph To Josh Marshall!

The above screengrab was taken off the NYT website moments ago -- of the infamous Maureen Dowd paragraph that was lifted without attribution from a Josh Marshall blog, and that created a firestorm of plagiarism accusations against Dowd.

It's still there, and it's still not attributed to Marshall!

Yes, it's true. If you happen to look up the now-infamous May 17, 2009 Maureen Dowd column, "Cheney, Master Of Pain," online -- the one that included a 42-word sentence lifted directly from the Talking Points Memo blog post -- you still won't find those words attributed to Msrshall, who originally wrote them.

You still have to scroll to the end of the column to find the correction, at the end of the column, which reads as follows:

May 18, 2009, Monday 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

But if you go to, and scroll down the list of columns until you reach the link to the May 17 Dowd piece, you'll get taken to the version of the piece pictured above -- a version that still leaves the offending paragraph as originally written, with no attribution.

There does seem to be a corrected version of the column also available online, but that version is much harder to find. In fact, the only apparent way to reach it -- at least the only way could find it -- is by typing the word "dowd" into the home page search box, and scrolling down the list of thousands of hits until you find the link.

All other methods -- including going to the Maureen Down columnist page that shows her photo and includes her biography, or using's advanced search system to look up "Josh Marshall" mentions in Maureen Dowd columns -- still take readers to the version that retains the paragraph Dowd has been accused of plagiarizing, as originally published without attribution.

Seems amazing to us that a news operation as seemingly sophisticated and well-staffed as could manage to leave the Dowd column uncorrected, nearly two weeks after Dowd personally assured the NYTPicker via email that "we're fixing it on the web."

Or maybe it's not amazing at all.


Anonymous said...

I believe that online journalists believe in avoiding editing the published document because it causes confusion and leads to a 1984-esque version of history. The correct thing to do is add a correction.

But it sounds like they're trying all three options including ignoring those pesky critics. :-)

Anonymous said...

...but the NYT does that all the time in its online corrections of the daily paper. Read an article online that has been corrected and it reads like it's always been perfect, unless you read the little graf at the end.
What the reader sees is the corrected piece, rather than the original with the correction afterwards.

Anonymous said...'s "advanced search" does not show everything which has run in the paper. Times Past is a better bet for items that somehow get "lost" in the public "advanced search" function.