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Maureen Dowd Outshines Jayson Blair
July 15, 2003
by Carey Roberts

Gender feminists have long claimed that women can do anything as well as, or better than men. Recent incidents at the New York Times prove how true that statement is.

On May 11 the Times published a front-page exposé on Jayson Blair, the former NYT reporter who disgraced himself by fabricating and plagarizing his articles. The article lamented that Blair's actions represent "a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper."

That statement would prove to be premature.

Because in recent weeks, Ms. Maureen Dowd, columnist at the Times, has outdone the many accomplishments of Mr. Blair.

Despite his many failings, Mr. Blair was never accused of maliciously misquoting a source. The same cannot be said for Ms. Dowd.

On May 14, Dowd wrote a column criticizing President Bush's efforts to stop Al Qaeda terrorists. This is how Dowd reported the President's May 5 speech: "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated...They're not a problem anymore."

But Dowd conveniently left out a key phrase in the President's comments. Dowd's intentional omission made the President appear delusional and nonsensical.

But Dowd refused to learn from her mistake.

On July 9, Dowd ran a column titled, "Incredible Shrinking Y". The column was triggered by the recent finding in the journal Nature that the male Y chromosome has many more active genes than previously thought, and that the Y has an extraordinary ability to repair itself.

In that column, Dowd explained that men are in an "evolutionary shame spiral." She predicted that nature is going to "return to its original, feminine state, and men would fade from view." Dowd ended her column with the dismissive comment, "Better to be an X chromosome than an ex-chromosome."

Male-bashing is a well-honed pastime at the New York Times, so anti-male comments in that paper generally pass without a raised eyebrow. But many people thought Dowd's column crossed the line. On July 11, the Times ran four letters from irate readers.

One writer complained that Dowd's article "dehumanizes billions of people." Noma Petroff of Maine asked, "What would her response be to a similarly sexist generalization about women?" And one couple from Ohio noted, "While we can only hope that Ms. Dowd wrote the piece as a farce, we do not find it helpful. The war between the sexes has no victor."

Clearly, the well-meaning attempt to bring diversity to the pages of the New York Times has backfired. This diversity campaign has undermined traditional journalistic ethics of accuracy, fairness, and objectivity.

Now, NYT columnists callously stigmatize gender groups and gleefully predict their social and biological demise.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., of Jewish heritage, surely knows something about the implications of stereotyping and dehumanizing large segments of the population.

In a column I wrote two months ago, I warned, "Mr. Sulzberger, the problems at your newspaper run much deeper than Jayson Blair."

Sadly, that prediction has now come true.

So while Blair acted with a lack of professionalism, Maureen Dowd operates in a complete moral vacuum.

And while Mr. Blair had no particular ideology that motivated his actions, Dowd flaunts her ideological agenda.

One can only hope that Ms. Dowd is reined in before she further damages the good name and reputation of The New York Times. Because contempt does not make for enlightened editorial policy.

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