Maureen Dowd

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  • 16 Times The Media Let Trump Falsely Claim He Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning


    Media figures and outlets have repeatedly pushed the myth, or allowed Donald Trump to push the myth, that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. There is no evidence to support this claim and February reporting from BuzzFeed News showed Trump voiced support “for invading Iraq” in 2002 and termed it a "tremendous success" after the invasion began.

  • BuzzFeed’s Editor-In-Chief Slams Media For Giving Credence To Trump’s Lie He Opposed Invasion Of Iraq

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith lambasted media outlets and reporters for allowing GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to “lie to their face” about his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, ignoring the evidence showing that in 2002 Trump supported the invasion of Iraq.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed throughout the GOP presidential primaries that he opposed the Iraq invasion, using his alleged opposition to attack his GOP rivals and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. But BuzzFeed’s “Andrew Kaczynski unearthed an audio recording of [Trump] saying he supported” the invasion in 2002. Despite releasing audio evidence, media outlets, including “CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, the New York Times, and the Washington Post” have all either reprinted Trump’s lie, or allowed him to claim he opposed the invasion without pushback.

    Smith also highlighted how the media, led by the Times’ Maureen Dowd, have also added this “fake fact” into a “fake narrative” that Trump is more of a “dove” on foreign policy than Hillary Clinton, ignoring that Trump’s claim he opposed the invasion has been debunked, that he has has refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe, and has floated military engagement with Iran.

    In his May 3 article, Smith implored media reporters to “stop letting [Trump] lie to their face about the most important policy call of the last 20 years,” writing, “Donald Trump did not oppose the invasion of Iraq” and “there’s no evidence that he’s ever been a ‘dove'”:

    One of the great stories of 2016 is how Donald Trump hacked the media: How he learned from the New York tabloids and The Apprentice; how he dictated terms to the weakened television networks; how he used Twitter and won Facebook.

    Those are complex questions that we will argue about for decades.

    Here is a simpler one: Could reporters stop letting him lie to their face about the most important policy call of the last 20 years?

    Donald Trump did not oppose the invasion of Iraq. Further, there’s no evidence that he’s ever been a “dove” — and a great deal that he’s been an impulsive supporter of military intervention around the world.

    We know this because BuzzFeed News’s intrepid Andrew Kaczynski unearthed an audio recording of him saying he supported it. You can listen to it above. The audio quality is clear.

    In the recording, made on Sept. 11, 2002, when it mattered, Howard Stern asked Trump whether he supported the invasion. His answer: “Yeah, I guess so.” On the war’s first day, he called it a “tremendous success from a military standpoint.”

    It was the most recent in a series of belligerent statements about Iraq. In 2000, he opined at length in his book how U.S. airstrikes did nothing to stop Iraq’s WMD programs and said it “is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion” in the context of a new war. He said many times in the late 1990s and early 2000s George H.W. Bush should have toppled Saddam during the Gulf War.

    Trump’s opinions during that period have all the force and thoughtfulness of a man who isn’t paying much attention and whose opinion doesn’t matter. His support for the war is also totally unambiguous.

    And yet, since Kaczynski found the audio recordings, most of the leading American media organizations have either repeated Trump’s lie or allowed him to deliver it unchallenged. That includes CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

    This fake fact is the basis for a fake narrative, crystallized in a Maureen Dowd column over the weekend christening “Donald the Dove.”


  • The New York Times' New Myth Is That Hillary Clinton Is More Hawkish Than Donald Trump


    The New York Times' Mark Landler and Maureen Dowd are baselessly claiming that Hillary Clinton would be more likely to bring the nation to war if elected president than Donald Trump, in part due to Trump's claims of opposition to the Iraq War. In fact, Trump supported the Iraq War, has refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe, has floated military engagement with Iran, and called for U.S. invasions of Libya and Syria.

  • The NY Times' Shoddy And Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Following former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson's acknowledgment that The New York Times gives an unfair "level of scrutiny" to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Media Matters takes a look back at some of the Times' most ludicrous, false, and sexist attacks on Clinton.

  • NYT's Maureen Dowd Alleges That Hillary Clinton "Killed Feminism"

    Dowd Has Been Launching Sexist Attacks At Clinton For Decades

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed in an opinion piece that Hillary Clinton "killed feminism," a charge undermined by Dowd's long record of sexist attacks against Clinton.

    According to a Media Matters study, between November 1993 and January 2016, Dowd wrote 212 columns that made significant mention of Clinton, 75% of which were negative and 17% of which accused her of betraying feminism. Dowd's decades-long history of sexist comments about Hillary Clinton includes variously characterizing her as excessively masculine and excessively feminine and comparing her to several mentally unstable fictional female characters. Over the last year, Dowd has compared Clinton to an "annoyed queen" and advised her to "run as a man this time." Despite these attacks, Dowd recently complained that Clinton's "campaign cries sexism too often."

    In a February 13 column, Dowd wrote that "Hillary Clinton killed feminism" and attacked her for assuming "there was an implicit understanding with the sisters of the world that now was the time to come back home and vote for a woman":

    The Clinton campaign is shellshocked over the wholesale rejection of Hillary by young women, younger versions of herself who do not relate to her.

    Hillary's coronation was predicated on a conviction that has just gone up in smoke. The Clintons felt that Barack Obama had presumptuously snatched what was rightfully hers in 2008, gliding past her with his pretty words to make history before she could.

    So this time, the Clintons assumed, the women who had deserted Hillary for Barack, in Congress and in the country, owed her. Democrats would want to knock down that second barrier.

    Hillary believed that there was an implicit understanding with the sisters of the world that now was the time to come back home and vote for a woman. (The Clintons seem to have conveniently forgotten how outraged they were by identity politics when black leaders deserted them in 2008 to support Obama.)

    This attitude intensified the unappetizing solipsistic subtext of her campaign, which is "What is Hillary owed?" It turned out that female voters seem to be looking at Hillary as a candidate rather than as a historical imperative. And she's coming up drastically short on trustworthiness.


    What the three older women seemed to miss was that the young women supporting Sanders are living the feminist dream, where gender no longer restricts and defines your choices, where girls grow up knowing they can be anything they want. The aspirations of '70s feminism are now baked into the culture.

    The interesting thing about the spectacle of older women trying to shame younger ones on behalf of Hillary is that Hillary and Bill killed the integrity of institutional feminism back in the '90s -- with the help of Albright and Steinem.

    Instead of just admitting that he had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky and taking his lumps, Bill lied and hid behind the skirts of his wife and female cabinet members, who had to go out before the cameras and vouch for his veracity, even when it was apparent he was lying.


    Hillary knew that she could count on the complicity of feminist leaders and Democratic women in Congress who liked Bill's progressive policies on women. And that's always the ugly Faustian bargain with the Clintons, not only on the sex cover-ups but the money grabs: You can have our bright public service side as long as you accept our dark sketchy side.

  • Maureen Dowd -- Who Once Termed Hillary Clinton "The Manliest Candidate" -- Claims "Her Campaign Cries Sexism Too Often"

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Dowd ClintonNew York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that while "sexism does swirl around" Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her "campaign cries sexism too often." Dowd has a long history of sexist attacks on Clinton, including writing three weeks ago that the former secretary of state ran "as a man" in 2008 but "is now running as a woman." 

    Dowd wrote in her February 6 column (emphasis added):

    Hillary is like a veteran actor who doesn't audition well. Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, that it doesn't convey passion but just seems forced, adding to her authenticity problem. Her allies think mentioning her shouting is sexist, and sexism does swirl around Hillary, but her campaign cries sexism too often. In 2008, Barack Obama used race sparingly.

    Clinton faced rampant sexism from the press during her 2008 campaign, a pattern that re-emerged during the first week of February when a series of pundits attacked her "shrieking" tone of voice during a speech.

    Dowd herself frequently uses her platform at the Times to levy gender-based attacks on Clinton. In decades of columns dating back to November 1993, she has:

    • Spent much of the 2008 presidential primary campaign characterizing Clinton as excessively masculine; she called Clinton "The Man," described her political message as "man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity," and claimed Clinton was "the manliest candidate among the Democrats."
    • During the 2016 presidential primary campaign switched to attacking Clinton for being excessively feminine, claiming that she was "running as a woman" when she "should have run as a man" like she supposedly did in 2008.
    • Attacked Clinton alternatively for being "Mommie Dearest," "a manly girl," the "senator from Stepford," and a "debate dominatrix."
    • Compared Clinton to a variety of violent or mentally unstable fictional female characters, including Sybil (a movie character with multiple personality disorder) and the 50 Foot Woman.
    • Written 37 columns accusing Clinton of betraying feminism, including claiming that she "was unmasked as a counterfeit feminist after she let her man step all over her."
  • Media Personalities Ridicule The Volume Of Hillary Clinton's Voice During Iowa Caucus Victory Speech

    Media Outlets Follow Conservative Media's History Of Attacking Clinton's Voice, Mannerisms, And Appearance

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Right-wing media pundits attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for celebrating her victory in the Iowa Caucus, claiming her tone during her speech was "unpleasant," "angry, bitter, screaming," and suggested that Clinton "may be hard of hearing." Criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech echoes a larger, sexist right-wing media campaign to denigrate Clinton's voice, mannerisms and public appearances.

  • Maureen Dowd's Latest Ugly Attack: Hillary Clinton "Should Have Run As A Man This Time"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd suggested that Hillary Clinton "should have run as a man this time" and likened Clinton to a dog in in her latest negative assessment of the Democratic presidential candidate.

    Dowd has a decades-long history of attacking Clinton, often invoking bizarre comparisons in her criticism. According to a recent Media Matters analysis of Dowd's columns on Clinton dating back to 1993, 75 percent of 212 columns that made significant mention of Clinton were negative. Since June 2014, all 17 of Dowd's columns that mention Clinton significantly were negative. Dowd's first 2016 column on Clinton compared her to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie The Revenant, which is about a revenge-minded trapper making his way through the wilderness.

    In a January 16 column for The New York Times, Dowd claimed that Clinton ran "as a man" in 2008 but "is now running as a woman."

    Based on her apparent belief that Clinton's 2016 campaign is overly feminized, Dowd wrote, "she should have run as a man this time, when Americans feel beleaguered and scared and yearn for something 'big and masculine and strong.'"

    Instead Dowd claimed that Clinton "has cast herself as Groundbreaking Granny."

    In a later section in her column, Dowd wrote, "It may be more relevant to ask if someone is a cat or a dog," as opposed to a man or a woman.

    While comparing President Obama to a cat, Dowd likened Clinton, along with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, to a dog:

    Both Hillary and Trump have been emphasizing that they will do a lot more schmoozing with lawmakers and others who disagree with them, vowing to be dogs with a bone, eager canines offering paws, and not a cool cat stalking away at the first sign of difficulty or when affection is most desired.

    Dowd previously accused Clinton of "acting like a masculine woman" during the 2008 campaign and her call for Clinton to now "run as a man this time" comes after Dowd has accused Clinton of betraying feminism more than three dozen times.

    According to Media Matters' January 13 study, dating back to November 1993, Dowd has made significant mention of Hillary Clinton in 212 columns:

    • 159 columns (75%) were negative
    • 53 columns (25%) were neutral or positive
    • 61 columns (29%) have accused Clinton of being power hungry
    • 37 columns (17%) accused Clinton of betraying feminism
    • 15 columns (7%) said Clinton was not likeable
    • 47 columns (22%) characterized Clinton as a phony
    • 44 columns (21%) performed psychoanalysis of the Clinton marriage
  • Maureen Dowd Starts 2016 With Return To Anti-Clinton Crusade

    Dowd's Last 17 Clinton Columns Have Been Negative

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS


    With her first column of 2016, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd returned to her decades-long crusade attacking Hillary Clinton. Dowd has increased her vitriol towards Hillary Clinton in her New York Times columns since Media Matters first analyzed her body of work over a year-and-a-half ago.

    As we reported, 72 percent of the 195 columns Dowd wrote from November 1993 to June 2014 with significant mentions of Clinton were negative. All 17 columns with significant mentions of Clinton that have been published since the first report were negative.

    Dowd's first column of 2016 compares Hillary Clinton to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie The Revenant, which is about a revenge-minded trapper making his way through the wilderness. In a now-famous scene, DiCaprio's character is mauled by a bear.

    And finally, of course, there's the politician most like Glass in her willingness to crawl through glass, flip her positions and persona, and even bear up under a mauling by a merciless, manic bear to reach that goal most yearned for. In Hillary Clinton's grimly relentless trudge toward the White House, the part of the bear is played by Donald Trump.

    Dowd continues the column by accusing Clinton of being a hypocritical feminist scheming for power.

    This latest column follows Dowd's script for Hillary Clinton, which she's been using for decades. In eleven of the newer columns added to this study, Dowd characterized Clinton as being power-hungry, while in fourteen of them she argued that Clinton is a phony (accusing her, for instance, of "acting like a masculine woman" in the 2008 election). Dowd also returned to presenting herself as an expert on the Clinton marriage in two of her recent columns, with claims like "[Clinton] has spent a lifetime cleaning up messes sparked by her overweening desire for control and her often out-of-control mate."

    Including the past eighteen months of data, dating back to November 1993, Dowd has made significant mention of Hillary Clinton in 212 columns:

    • 159 columns (75%) were negative
    • 53 columns (25%) were neutral or positive
    • 61 columns (29%) have accused Clinton of being power hungry
    • 37 columns (17%) accused Clinton of betraying feminism
    • 15 columns (7%) said Clinton was not likeable
    • 47 columns (22%) characterized Clinton as a phony
    • 44 columns (21%) performed psychoanalysis of the Clinton marriage

    Dowd's Clinton bashing is so repetitive that she appears to occasionally recycle column headlines. In July of 2002, Dowd's column was headlined "Hooray for Hillarywood!" and then thirteen years later the exact same phrase was back, this time asking "Hooray for Hillarywood?"

    The same themes are being recycled as well. Dowd has leaned on movies to an almost absurd rate in order to prop up attacks on Clinton. In the past, she called Clinton "the senator from Stepford," for example, and quoted an anonymous aide calling her "The Terminator."

    In May of 2015, Dowd was back at the movie well:

    Hillary Clinton's campaign has echoes of various classic movies: "Single White Female," with Hillary creepily co-opting the identity of the more trendy Elizabeth Warren; "My Fair Lady," with Hillary sitting meekly and being schooled on how to behave by tyrannical Pygmalions (Iowa voters); "The Usual Suspects," with Hillary's hoodlums, Sidney Blumenthal and David Brock, vying to be Keyser Söze; and, of course, "How to Steal a Million," a caper about a heist plotted by a couple that doesn't need the money.

    In the past 18 months, Dowd has also compared Clinton to an "annoyed queen," and asked Clinton if she could campaign as "something between Macho Man and Humble Granny."

    Dowd even wrote a piece comparing the former secretary of state to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was embroiled in the "deflategate" controversy where it was alleged he had a role in tampering with footballs used during a playoff game.

    In her column, Dowd found a way to connect the athlete with the former secretary of state:

    Two controlling superstars with mutable hair and militant fans, married to two magnetic superstars who can make a gazillion an hour for flashing their faces and who have been known to stir up trouble.

    A pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win.

    It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think.

    The comparison doesn't make a lot of sense, but it fits right in with Dowd's bizarre rhetoric over the last two decades when it comes to Clinton.


    Media Matters used the Nexis database to search The New York Times archives for "hillary and clinton and BYLINE(Maureen Dowd) and Editorial Desk." We also used the Times website to identify Dowd pieces that mentioned Clinton from the Week In Review and Magazine sections prior to Dowd's 1995 move to the editorial desk. We reviewed those columns, coding ones that included any substantive discussion of Hillary Clinton for whether Dowd invoked any of 16 negative tropes in five categories.

    Those variables were:

    Plotting For Power

    o Hillary is inflexible/uncompromising

    o Hillary has a bunker mentality, will not listen to detractors

    o Hillary acts tough

    o Hillary is always scheming for more power

    Betrayed Feminism And Played The Victim

    o Hillary is bad for feminism

    o Hillary traded on slights from men to get ahead

    o Hillary fakes her feminism

    People Don't Like Her, She's Not A Nice Person

    o Hillary is mean

    o Hillary is not likeable

    o Hillary is cold and unemotional

    She's A Phony

    o Hillary doesn't know who she is

    o Hillary has no 'real' identity

    o Hillary doesn't believe what she says

    o Hillary is scripted and prepackaged and poll-driven

    Targeting The Clintons As A Couple

    o The Clintons won't go away, even though everyone wants them to

    o Their marriage is a sham, a trade of power for more power

  • Media Return To Deriding Hillary Clinton's Laugh

    "The Cackle," "A Record Scratch," And Other Tired Attacks From The Debate

    Blog ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY

    Clinton and Sanders at the October 13 debate

    Multiple media figures derided Hillary Clinton's laugh during the first Democratic presidential debate, calling it a "cackle" and "a record scratch." During the 2008 presidential race, Clinton's laughter was repeatedly attacked, despite criticism that such attacks were rooted in sexism.

    During the October 13 CNN debate in Las Vegas, Clinton laughed after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended her from repeated questions about her use of private email by criticizing the media for fixating on the issue and saying, "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" Clinton and Sanders shook hands as the crowd applauded.

    The moment has been described by several outlets as a highlight of the night.  

    But several media figures initially focused on Clinton's laugh. BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski tweeted, "oh god the Clinton laugh is out," while the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "THE CLINTON LAUGH," and Fox's Sean Hannity tweeted "Omg that laugh."

    Several conservative media figures took it further, calling it a "cackle":

    Attacking Clinton's laughter was a common theme during the Democratic primary before the 2008 election. In September 2007, after Clinton appeared on several Sunday political talk shows and laughed in response to some questions, media figures spent weeks debating and mocking her laughter. Fox News led the charge, with Bill O'Reilly even discussing Clinton's laughter with a "body language expert" who deemed it "evil," and Sean Hannity calling the laugh "frightening."

    The mainstream press picked up on the attacks on Clinton's laugh, with New York Times political reporter Patrick Healy writing an article with the headline "Laughing Matters in Clinton Campaign," in which he described Clinton's "hearty belly laugh" as "The Cackle," calling it "heavily caffeinated" and suggesting it may have been "programmed."

    Then-Politico reporter Ben Smith also described Clinton's laugh as her "signature cackle," while Politico correspondent Mike Allen and editor-in-chief John F. Harris wrote that Clinton's laugh "sounded like it was programmed by computer."

    And New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who has a long history of nasty attacks on Clinton, claimed Clinton's laugh was allowing her to look less like a "hellish housewife" and a "nag" and more like a "wag":

    As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: "She's never going to get out of our faces. ... She's like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won't stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone."

    That's why Hillary is laughing a lot now, big belly laughs, in response to tough questions or comments, to soften her image as she confidently knocks her male opponents out of the way. From nag to wag.

    The list goes on: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, then-MSNBC host David Shuster, then-MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, radio host Mike Rosen, Dick Morris, the Drudge Report, The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi, Time magazine's Joe Klein, the New York Times' Frank Rich, CNN's Jeanne Moos, and others all debated or derided Clinton's laughter during Clinton's first run for president.

    Politico's Allen said on MSNBC during all of this that "'cackle' is a very sexist term," and disputed MSNBC's Chris Matthews' use of it in reference to Clinton. Other outlets agreed; Jezebel called out Matthews for his "cackle" criticism and other derisive remarks, asking, "can we agree that no matter what your political allegiances, this is not the way you speak of a woman -- whether she is a senator or not?" Rachel Sklar, writing in the Huffington Post, said at the time "I keep finding sexist Hillary Clinton bashing everywhere I turn," noting that criticisms of the candidate's laughter "turn completely on the fact that she's a woman. 'The Cackle?' So would never be applied to a man. We all know it."

    Unfortunately, the criticism hasn't stopped in the intervening seven years. The Washington Free Beacon has a "Hillary Laugh Button" permanently on its site. The National Journal published in June 2014, many months prior to Clinton declaring her second bid for president, a "Comprehensive Supercut of Hillary Clinton Laughing Awkwardly With Reporters." And conservative tweet-aggregator Twitchy in August mocked "scary as hell" pens which featured "Clinton's cackling head." 

  • After Dowd Featured Trump In Back-To-Back NY Times Columns, He Thanks Her For The "Big Favor"

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Dowd, Trump

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did him "a big favor" by featuring him in a recent column.

    In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trump described Dowd as a "great person" who has "written a lot about me over the years." He added that Dowd "understands that I adore women."

    Dowd featured Trump in her August 8 and August 15 columns, as well as an online article detailing the candidate's thoughts on a variety of topics, from Iraq to Bill Clinton.

    On August 8, Dowd described Trump as "the gleefully offensive and immensely entertaining high-chair king in the Great American Food Fight." She also wrote, "I enjoy Trump's hyperbolic, un-P.C. flights because there are too few operatic characters in the world."

    In her August 15 column, an interview with Trump, she wrote, "The billionaire braggart known for saying unfiltered things is trying to be diplomatic. Sort of."

    Trump also gave The Hollywood Reporter his thoughts on other media figures.

    Trump said he and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch "have been friendly," noting that "he had some very evil tweets, and now they've been nice lately."

    Trump still apparently has issues with Megyn Kelly's debate question about his past sexist comments, noting, "I don't understand how [Fox News chairman and CEO] Roger [Ailes] could have allowed that first question to be asked."

    He said Ailes "is certainly very impressed with my poll numbers" and that "when he looked at the ratings, what happened to the ratings at Fox, I think that makes him think about it even from a financial standpoint." Trump described his relationship with Ailes as "great," claiming he had lunch with him "three weeks ago."

    Earlier reports have claimed tension within Fox, with Murdoch opposed to many elements of Trump's candidacy, while Ailes continues to feature Trump more than any other presidential candidate.

    Trump called Internet gossipmonger Matt Drudge a "legend" and "an amazing guy" who has "been so fair to me."

  • Maureen Dowd's Latest Tired Attack Likens Hillary Clinton To Tom Brady

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD

    The New York Times' Maureen Dowd's latest tired attack on Hillary Clinton involves a lengthy comparison of the Democratic presidential candidate to disgraced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

    Dowd spent nearly half of her August 1 column spearing Clinton with dubious pseudo-scandals and comparisons to quarterback Tom Brady, recently suspended from four NFL games for his role in the use of deflated footballs in January's AFC championship game. "It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think," Dowd claimed, calling the two "[a] pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win." She went on:

    Brady had his assistant terminate his Samsung phone the day before he talked to an investigator about Deflategate. Hillary set up a home-brew private server, overruling the concerns of her husband's aides, and erased 30,000 emails before the government had a chance to review them to see if any were classified.

    Brady and Hillary, wanting to win at all costs and believing the rules don't apply to them, are willing to take the hit of people not believing them, calculating that there is no absolute proof.

    They both have a history of subterfuge -- Brady and the Patriots with Spygate, Hillary with all her disappearing and appearing records. 

    In stretching to link Clinton to Brady, Dowd echoes right-wing media pundits desperate to spin any news into an attack on the leading Democratic presidential candidate. Such attacks are old territory for Dowd. For more than 20 years, Dowd has been attempting to smear Clinton by any means necessary, even stooping to pushing sexist tropes and taunting nicknames. According to a Media Matters analysis of 195 of Dowd's columns written during her tenure at the Times, more than 70 percent painted Clinton in a negative light.

  • Dennis Hastert, Impeachment, And Why The Clintons Might Not Trust The Press

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Dennis Hastert

    The raucous political warfare of the 1990s returned into view late last week with the stunning news that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is under indictment for allegedly agreeing to pay more than $3 million in hush money to cover up sexual abuse involving a male student at a high school where Hastert taught decades ago.

    Hastert's unsettling case doesn't have anything to do with partisan politics, per se. But his rise to the speakership back in 1998 sure did. Like virtually everything else inside the Beltway at the time, Hastert's promotion revolved around the Republicans' relentless impeachment pursuit against President Bill Clinton. And today, Hastert's alleged crime once again throws into focus what a strange and hypocritical spectacle it was for GOP men to play sex cop and crusade for impeachment.

    The impeachment of Bill Clinton defined American politics in the 1990s. It also defined the Beltway press, which still clings to many of the bad Clinton-related habits it formed that decade. The impeachment farce, where the press teamed up with Republicans to wage war on a Democrat, could also explain why the Clintons today might not fully trust the media as Hillary Clinton expands her presidential run and the press stands "primed" to take her down.

    Why won't Hillary Clinton open up to the press? Why can't Bill and Hillary handle the media? Why has she "withdrawn into a gilded shell"? Why does she wear media "armor"? Those questions have been rehashed in recent months as journalists focus on themselves and what role they'll play in the unfolding nomination contest.

    A suggestion: Follow the path back to Dennis Hastert's impeachment era for clues to those Clinton press questions.

    During the 1990s, Hastert remained a firm advocate of impeachment, at one point condemning the president for his "inability to abide by the law." Hastert stressed, "The evidence in President Clinton's case is overwhelming that he has abused and violated the public trust."

    Of course it was the impeachment imbroglio that elevated Hastert, indirectly, to his lofty position of speaker of the House; a position he later leveraged into millions by becoming a very wealthy lobbyist.

    The background: Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced to resign in 1998 after the impeachment-obsessed GOP faced disastrous midterm losses. (Gingrich later admitted he was engaged in an affair with a Congressional aide at the time.) Up next was Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. "One of the loudest of those calling for the House to impeach Clinton over an extra-marital affair," noted the National Journal, Livingston was soon ousted after he was forced to publicly confess to committing adultery "on occasion."

    Into that void stepped Hastert.

    That means all three Republican House leaders who pursued Clinton's impeachment have now confessed or been accused of sexual and moral transgressions themselves. Those were the people the D.C press took its cues from during the impeachment charade?

    As Orin Kerr noted in the Washington Post following the Hastert indictment:

    If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.

    While some in the press have conceded that the '90s impeachment was a strange circus, the truth is the Beltway press basically served as executive producers for the GOP's doomed theatrical run. It was the media elite who legitimized for years the right-wing's Javert-like pursuit of all things Clinton. "So much of the media was invested in breathless, often uncritical coverage of Clinton's impeachment," wrote Josh Marshall at Salon in 2002, while detailing the final release of the independent prosecutor's $70 million Clinton investigation.

    Put another way, the same D.C. press corps that openly taunted the Clintons for years in the '90s, culminating with impeachment, is the same D.C. press corps that's now openly taunting them, for instance, regarding the Clinton Foundation,  Hillary Clinton's emails, and anything/everything else that can be presented as a Clinton "scandal" story.

    That's why when the New York Times story about Hillary Clinton's email account first broke in March, "The media and politicos and Twitterati immediately responded with all the measured cautious skepticism we've come to expect in response to any implication of a Clinton Scandal," noted Wonkette. "That is to say, none." And that's why Times columnist and chief Clinton sex chronicler Maureen Dowd has, to date, published 100 columns mentioning "Lewinsky."

    More than twenty years ago, the Clintons understood that the so-called liberal media was working with conservative activists and Republican prosecutors to try to destroy Bill's presidency. For the GOP, the motivation was purely partisan. For the press, it seemed to be a mix of careerism (Clinton bashing proved to be good for business), combined with a genuine dislike of the Clintons.

    Today, it's often difficult to recapture just how completely bonkers the D.C. media establishment went during the impeachment saga, and how on some days it seemed journalists were more pruriently obsessed with the Clintons than their tireless Republican tormentors. The recent Hastert sexual abuse allegation helps bring into focus the absurdity of the era, and reminds us why, as a new campaign season unfolds, the Clintons might not fully trust the Beltway media.