Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Did anyone at The New York Times even bother to read Maureen Dowd's latest column after the results from North Carolina and Indiana became clear last night, to determine whether it was consistent with empirical reality?

I can see that Dowd skimmed it, looking for spots where she could shoehorn in a couple of references to the contest -- there's a mention of Clinton's "squeaker win" in paragraph 3, for instance, and a quote from Obama's speech shoved so awkwardly into paragraph 13 that it ruins a transition -- but the whole thing was clearly written based on exit polls predicting a fairly even split, rather than a near-upset by Obama in Indiana and a thumpin' by him in North Carolina:

...[Clinton] showed again with her squeaker win in Indiana that for many white working-class men, she is The Man....

The Democratic race has been a scorpion and a butterfly in a bottle. Hillary tore Barry's wings off...

Wandering around Indiana, appearing in neighborhoods and at diners without any advance notice, talking to handfuls of people, Obama strived to seem less lofty and more mortal. Hounded by Hillary, Bill and Rev. Wright, he just looked sort of numb.

...he looked increasingly diaphanous, like anti-matter to Hillary's matter....

It's perfectly understandable that Dowd would have drafted this column before we knew the results, but couldn't she have revised it a bit more, so it read more like analysis and less like (really bad) clairvoyance?

A week ago, there was much consternation among American Idol lovers (i.e., apparently everyone in the nation except me -- I had to Google this) because judge Paula Abdul made an on-air reference in a live broadcast to a contestant's "second song" -- even though the contestant hadn't actually sung a second song yet. It later emerged that Abdul was referring to the song as it had been sung in rehearsal -- a violation of contest protocol, because rehearsals aren't supposed to be judged.

That's more or less what Dowd did in this column. She is Paula Abdul.

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