Deadlines and Breadlines II: I hate to say I told you so, but…

Stepping away from comics again for a bit, just so I can rant some more.

Just last week, I had my post about the sorry state of journalism, with regard to salaries — in other words, the reporters who do all the hard work get crap wages, while the big-shot columnists — who tend to be the noxious black mold infecting the editorial pages — get millions of dollars, book contracts, and a guaranteed job for life. In fact, at one point, I said:

You wanna really see some improvement? Take David Broder, Maureen Dowd, Richard Cohen, Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, Jake Tapper, Joel Stein, Thomas Friedman, George Will, Jeffrey Rosen, and the rest of the no-talent brigade, tie them to the outside of a rocketship using rusty barbed wire and a staplegun, and fire them into the sun. They’re an embarrasment, and they’re a drain on the finances of an industry that can’t afford their prima donna salaries.

Lo and behold, the second person on my list, Maureen Dowd, just got caught blatantly plagiarizing material from blogger Joshua Michah Marshall. Her excuse? She wasn’t trying to copy Marshall, she was just exactly quoting something one of her friends said, who somehow managed to exactly quote Marshall. Gee, what an amazing coincidence, right?

So obviously, the New York Times is faced with having a gossip writer — oh, ‘scuse me, political columnist — who is not only a plagiarist but a liar — a combo that the Times used to punish with a pink slip. How is the Times going to deal with Dowd? It’s a dead-solid bet that nothing will happen to her. After all, she’s a columnist! She gets paid a lot of money! She gets to go on TV! And now she’s extra controversial! ‘Cause controversy sells papers! In theory! (They used to say good reporting sold papers, but now it’s controversy, ’cause they’d have to pay reporters more.)

Heck, maybe Jayson Blair should call the Times up and ask them if he could be re-hired, since they’re all okay with plagiarism now.

Again, what is the New York Times getting for the huge salary they pay Maureen Dowd? They’re getting a plagiarizing, lying embarrassment. They’re getting a nice, fat black eye. They’re getting their reporters — who all know that they’d be fired in a heartbeat if they got caught plagiarizing so unashamedly — asking themselves why they work so hard for a company that pays them so little and values the useless superstar columnists more than the people who do the real work. I hope they’re pleased with the results, though I doubt anyone else is.

I stand by my rocket-to-the-sun columnist solution, with the stipulation that I’d probably need a whole fleet of rockets to make enough of a difference…

Comments are closed.