Dowd at a Democratic Debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April 2008
Maureen Brigid Dowd
January 14, 1952
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Immaculata High School|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of America (B.A.)|
The New York Times (1983–present)
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Dowd worked for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news and sports and wrote feature articles. Dowd joined The New York Times in 1983 as a Metropolitan Reporter, and became an op-ed writer for the newspaper in 1995. In 1999, Dowd was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration.
Early life and career
Dowd was born the youngest of five children in Washington, D.C. Her mother, Margaret "Peggy" (Meenehan), was a housewife, and her father, Mike Dowd, worked as a Washington, D.C. police inspector. Dowd graduated from (now defunct) Immaculata High School in 1969. She received a B.A. in English in 1973 from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Dowd began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for the Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter, and feature writer. When the newspaper closed in 1981, she went to work at Time. In 1983, she joined The New York Times, initially as a metropolitan reporter. She began serving as correspondent in the Times Washington bureau in 1986.
In 1991, Dowd received a Breakthrough Award from Columbia University. In 1992, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting, and in 1994 she won a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications.
New York Times columnist
Dowd became a columnist on The New York Times op-ed page in 1995, replacing Anna Quindlen, who left to become a full-time novelist. Dowd was named a Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine in 1996, and won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize, for distinguished commentary. She won The Damon Runyon Award for outstanding contributions to journalism in 2000, and became the first Mary Alice Davis Lectureship speaker (sponsored by the School of Journalism and the Center for American History) at The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. In 2010, Dowd was ranked #43 on The Daily Telegraph's list of the 100 most influential liberals in America; in 2007, she was ranked #37 on the same list.
Dowd's columns have been described as letters to her mother, whom friends credit as "the source, the fountain of Maureen's humor and her Irish sensibilities and her intellectual take." Dowd herself has said, "She is in my head in the sense that I want to inform and amuse the reader." Dowd's columns are distinguished by an acerbic, often polemical writing style. Her columns display a critical and irreverent attitude towards powerful, mostly political, figures such as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Dowd also tends to refer to her subjects by nicknames. For example, she has often referred to Bush as "W." and former Vice President Dick Cheney as "Big Time". She has called former President Barack Obama "Spock" and "Barry". Dowd's interest in candidates' personalities earned her criticism early in her career: "She focuses too much on the person but not enough on policy."
Dowd, who perceives her columns to be an exploration of politics, Hollywood, and gender-related topics, often uses popular culture to support and metaphorically enhance her political commentary. In a Times video debate, she said of the North Korean government, "... you could look at a movie like Mean Girls and figure out the way these North Koreans are reacting; you know it's like high school girls with nuclear weapons—they just want some attention from us, you know?"
Dowd's columns have also been described as often being political cartoons that capture a caricatured view of the current political landscape with precision and exaggeration. For example, in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election Dowd wrote that Democratic candidate "Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct that he's practically lactating," while referring to the Democratic party as the "mommy party". In a Fresh Dialogues interview years later she said, "I was just teasing him a little bit because he was so earnest and he could be a little righteous and self important. That’s not always the most effective way to communicate your ideas, even if the ideas themselves are right. I mean, certainly his ideas were right but he himself was – sometimes – a pompous messenger for them."
In January 2014, Dowd said she ate about one-quarter of a cannabis-infused chocolate bar, while touring the legalized recreational cannabis industry. She said she was later told she should have only eaten one-sixteenth, which was not in the instructions on the label. She then described her negative experiences with legal cannabis in a June 3, 2014, The New York Times op-ed. In September 2014, Dowd followed up on this story with another New York Times op-ed, this time describing a discussion of using consumable cannabis with her "marijuana Miyagi" Willie Nelson.
On March 4, 2014, Dowd published a column about the dominance of men in the film industry; in it, she quoted Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. According to BuzzFeed, "leaked emails from Sony" suggested that Dowd had promised to provide the draft column to Pascal's husband, former Times reporter Bernard Weinraub, prior to the column's publication. BuzzFeed said the column "painted Pascal in such a good light that she engaged in a round of mutual adulation with Dowd over email after its publication." Both Dowd and Weinraub have denied that Weinraub ever received the column. On December 12, 2014, Times public editor Margaret Sullivan concluded, "While the tone of the email exchanges is undeniably gushy, I don’t think Ms. Dowd did anything unethical here." In August 2014, it was announced that Dowd would become a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. Her first article under the new arrangement was published more than a year later.
On May 2, 2015, Dowd published a column in the Times about her niece Tara, who had a stroke at age 41 caused by an arterial dissection in her brain. Prior to the stroke, Tara had been a very active athlete. The first neurologist who saw Tara told her to cut back on physical activity, but a second neurologist, Dr. Louis R. Caplan, a Harvard neurologist, disagreed with the first neurologist and said that they had misinterpreted the images of her brain and vascular system. He told her to return to exercise, which she did safely. In the article, Dr. Caplan suggested that going to emergency rooms was "dangerous" and compared ERs to "local gas stations" where you should not get your brain, a "Rolls-Royce," serviced. He suggested that one should be "pushy" and since ER people have to deal with a lot of organs quickly, and they get little neurology training, patients should ask for a neurologist. He said that stroke experts "have had a hard time getting the message across to ER personnel that if a stroke is suspected, a vascular image must be taken as well as a brain image, because it shows up first in the vessels that supply and drain the brain". Ultimately he recommended that patients should "find an academic medical center that has a specialization in stroke". These comments unleashed a firestorm of comments from emergency medicine physicians on social media, who thought that Caplan's comments were poorly informed and reckless, particularly sending the message not to go to the ER for symptoms of stroke, which directly contradicts recommendations from the American Heart Association to "call 9-1-1" when experiencing signs of stroke. In a related column in The Huffington Post, Dr. David Newman, an ER physician from Mount Sinai, wrote that Dr. Caplan's comments showed "poor insight" and "narrow expertise", claiming that subspecialty medicine as a whole was expensive and often unnecessarily invasive.
Controversial portrayals of women in politics
Dowd has been accused of sexism by numerous figures, including Clark Hoyt, then-public editor of The New York Times. A 2017 study which examined sexualized shaming of Monica Lewinsky in mainstream news coverage noted that in Dowd's extensive coverage of Monica Lewinsky, she repeatedly "mocked and disparaged her." A 2009 study of sexism towards Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the 2008 election noted that Dowd had disparaged Palin as a "Barbie" over her pageantry past.
Numerous other commentators have criticized Dowd for having an obsession with Bill and especially Hillary Clinton. During the 2008 Democratic primary, Dowd published an article titled "Can Hillary Clinton Cry Herself Back to the White House?", which a 2016 study said "[serves] to reinforce the stereotype that tears and visible emotions are feminine traits and signs of weakness". Dowd also published a column where she likened Clinton to the "Terminator", a ruthless cyborg where "unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave"; a 2013 study argued that portrayals such as these sought to portray Clinton and her presidential bid as improper and unnatural. According to then-public editor of The New York Times Clark Hoyt, Dowd's columns about Clinton were "loaded with language painting her as a 50-foot woman with a suffocating embrace, a conniving film noir dame and a victim dependent on her husband". A 2014 analysis by the left-leaning advocacy group Media Matters of 21 years of Maureen Dowd's columns about Hillary Clinton found that of the 195 columns by Dowd since November 1993 containing significant mentions of Clinton, 72 percent (141 columns) were negative towards Clinton.
Dowd formerly dated Aaron Sorkin, the creator and producer of The West Wing. She has also been briefly connected with the actor Michael Douglas and is an ex-companion of her fellow Times columnist John Tierney.
- Dowd, Maureen (September 13, 2016). The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics. Twelve. ISBN 978-1455539260.
- Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide. Putnam. 2005. ISBN 978-0-7553-1550-5.
- Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 2004. ISBN 978-0-425-20276-0.
- Dowd, Maureen (May 19, 2018). "Scarlet Letter in the Emerald Isle", The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Margaret Dowd, 97; Font of Advice". The Washington Post. July 21, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Commentary: Biography". Columbia University. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Levy, Ariel (2005-10-31). "The Redhead and the Gray Lady". New York magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- McDermott, Peter (2007-08-08). "Echo Profile: A necessary woman – Times' Dowd endeavors to keep W, Vice, and Rummy in check". The Irish Echo. Archived from the original on February 27, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- "Margaret Dowd, 97; Font of Advice". The Washington Post. 2005-07-21.
- Schmalzbauer 2003, p. 18; "Singularly acerbic pen sets Dowd apart as Clinton critic; N.Y. Times' pundit keeps caustic watch on Washington". The Washington Times. September 25, 1996.
- "Columnist Biography: Maureen Dowd". The New York Times. 2002-04-16. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- "Matrix Hall of Fame". New York Women in Communications. Archived from the original on 2011-11-26. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- "Meet Newsweek – Anna Quindlen, Contributing Editor". Newsweek via msnbc.com. 2006-01-11. Archived from the original on 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- "Maureen Dowd – The Damon Runyon Award, 1999–2000". The Denver Press Club. Archived from the original on 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- [dead link]"Columnist Maureen Dowd Kicks Off New Lecture Series". University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- Harnden, Toby (January 13, 2010). "The most influential US liberals: 60-41". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
- "Maureen Dowd talks green – from Emerald Isle to Eco-Issues". freshdialogues.com.
- Kurtz, Howard (2005-10-05). "Sex & the Single Stiletto". The Washington Post. pp. C01. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- Dowd, Maureen (2000-10-08). "Liberties; West Wing Chaperone". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Dowd, Maureen (December 30, 2009). "As the Nation's Pulse Races, Obama Can't Seem to Find His". The New York Times. pp. A27. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Brooks, David; Dowd, Maureen; Rich, Frank (speakers) (2006-07-19). U.S. Politics: What's Next?—2: Bush's Circle of Trust (Flash Video). The New York Times. Event occurs at 5:05. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Stein, Jonathan (2007-11-19). "Maureen Dowd Rehashes the "Presidential Candidate X is a Wuss" Construct". MoJo (blog). Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Baca, Ricardo (2014-06-05). "NYT's Maureen Dowd reacts: In quest for fun, risks downplayed". The Cannabist. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- Walker, Hunter (2014-06-04). "Maureen Dowd Got Way Too High And Freaked Out". Business Insider. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- McDonough, Katie (2014-06-04). "Maureen Dowd ate a large dose of a marijuana chocolate bar, freaked out, wrote about it". Salon. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- Weissman, Jordan (2014-06-04). "The Economic Lesson of Maureen Dowd's Reefer Madness". Slate. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- Rosenberg, Alyssa (2014-06-04). "What Maureen Dowd gets right about marijuana". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- Dowd, Maureen (2014-06-03). "Don't Harsh Our Mellow, Dude". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- Dowd, Maureen (2014-09-20). "Two Redheaded Strangers". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- Dowd, Maureen (March 4, 2014). "Frozen in a Niche?". The New York Times.
- "Leaked Emails Suggest Maureen Dowd Promised To Show Sony Exec's Husband Column Before Publication". BuzzFeed.
- Sullivan, Margaret (2014-12-12). "Hacked Emails, 'Air--Kissing' -- and Two Firm Denials". The New York Times.
- Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (11 August 2014). "Maureen Dowd Named New York Times Magazine Staff Writer". Observer.
- Dowd, Interview by Maureen (20 September 2015). "Kate McKinnon Hates Letting Her Hair Down". The New York Times.
- Dowd, Maureen (2015-05-02). "Stroke of Fate". The New York Times.
- "Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms". strokeassociation.org.
- "Quiet Fortitude in the ER". The Huffington Post. 2015-05-05.
- Hoyt, Clark (2008-06-22). "Opinion | Pantsuits and the Presidency". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- Ryan, Erin Gloria (2017-12-12). "Maureen Dowd Praises #MeToo—After Years of Slut-Shaming Monica Lewinsky". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "Maureen Dowd -- Who Once Termed Hillary Clinton "The Manliest Candidate" -- Claims "Her Campaign Cries Sexism Too Often"". Media Matters for America. 2016-02-06. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- ""Basking in estrogen": Maureen Dowd offers predictably sexist take on Hillary Clinton's cam..." Salon. 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "Dowd, Steinem take the bait: Sexist "catfight" narrative around the Clinton campaign takes ho..." Salon. 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- Everbach, Tracy (2017-05-03). "Monica Lewinsky and Shame". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 41 (3): 268–287. doi:10.1177/0196859917707920. ISSN 0196-8599.
- Carlin, Diana B.; Winfrey, Kelly L. (2009-08-10). "Have You Come a Long Way, Baby? Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Sexism in 2008 Campaign Coverage". Communication Studies. 60 (4): 326–343. doi:10.1080/10510970903109904. ISSN 1051-0974.
Maureen Dowd, one of Clinton’s sharpest critics
- Msopine, "Maureen Dowd - From respected columnist to Mean Girl", Daily Kos, April 23, 2013.
- Arthur Chu, "Maureen Dowd vs. Hillary Clinton, MRAs and the Honey Badger Brigade: The dazzling glare of sexism and the alluring 'gender-blind' lie", Salon, April 24, 2015.
- Brennan Suen, "New York Times’ Maureen Dowd Writes Yet Another Anti-Clinton Column", Media Matters, July 10, 2016.
- Jones, Jennifer J. (2016). "Talk "Like a Man": The Linguistic Styles of Hillary Clinton, 1992–2013". Perspectives on Politics. 14 (3): 625–642. doi:10.1017/S1537592716001092. ISSN 1537-5927.
- Dowd, Maureen. "Opinion | Haunting Obama's Dreams". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
- Ritchie, Jessica (2013). "Creating a Monster". Feminist Media Studies. 13 (1): 102–119. doi:10.1080/14680777.2011.647973. ISSN 1468-0777.
- "The Numbers Behind Maureen Dowd's 21-Year Long Campaign Against Hillary Clinton".
- Kurtz, Howard. "Sex & the Single Stiletto". The Washington Post.
- "The Redhead and the Gray Lady". NYMag.com.
- "Inside The New York Times Book Review: Maureen Dowd on Clinton and Trump". September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Maureen Dowd|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maureen Dowd.|
- Dowd's columns at The New York Times
- Dowd participates in an extended political discussion with Andrew Rosenthal, David Brooks and Frank Rich, The New York Times video, July 17, 2006
- Maureen Dowd on IMDb
- A film clip "The Open Mind - Are Men Necessary? (2005)" is available at the Internet Archive
- Appearances on C-SPAN