It took nearly an entire week, but we now have a clear answer to the question of where NYT columnist Dowd picked up the paragraph from her column that was essentially verbatim to a paragraph printed at Talking Points Memo.
At first, via email correspondences with the press, Dowd suggested she spoke to a friend and that from that conversation she lifted her friend's comments. But the idea that Dowd would copy what her friend said and that would be word-for-word match of what appeared on TPM simply was not believable.
Then Dowd seemed to indicate that perhaps the friend had emailed the passage without telling the columnist that it came from TPM.
Now, thanks to the work of Times public editor Clark Hoyt, we discover that passage in question did in fact come in the form of an email that Dowd received from a friend and then simply cut and pasted it into her column without attribution. Will Times readers be surprised that that's how its supposedly prestigious columnists craft their columns? I would certainly think so.
But more importantly, I think, is whether the Times will ask Dowd to produce the email that the friend sent her. That's the only way to confirm her account and make sure that Dowd didn't simply plagiarize TPM. The media's Village is quite content that Dowd did nothing wrong. That it was just one innocent mistake. To date, the Times editors agree and are giving Dowd a complete pass.
But if the Times were serious about its opinion standards and was serious about getting to the bottom of the humiliating mishap, they would demand to see the email and also talk with Dowd's mysterious friend.