Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Outsourced to Greg Sargent:
Horses Mouth January 10, 2008 2:00 PM: Dowd's Hillary Hit -- Dateline Jerusalem? It's election eve. Do you know where your favorite prestige columnist is?
Maureen Dowd weighed in with a column yesterday that made a big splash, pissed off lots of people, and became part of the political conversation about Hillary's New Hampshire victory. The column -- called "Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back To White House"? -- was datelined "Derry, N.H."
The column struck some people as taking a holier-than-thou tone to Dowd nemesis Hillary. But you don't know the half of it. The column, apparently, was filed from half a world away -- from Jerusalem.
The piece reads as if Dowd was on the scene at Hillary's victory party, interviewing voters reacting to her win. But it turns out Dowd couldn't have been at the party at all -- instead, she'd already jetted half way around the world to cover the President's Middle East trip, I'm told. An eyewitness tells TPM that on Tuesday night he spied Dowd typing away at the reporters' media filing center in Jerusalem's Dan Panorama hotel.
A Times spokesperson tells me there's no dateline issue here at all.... If Dowd was nearly 6,000 miles away from these people on Tuesday night, how did the quotes get into her column? A reporter I know tells me that Dowd's assistant was floating around at the Hillary victory party that night. So it seems almost certain that Dowd's assistant did the reporting for her. But there's no other byline on the piece..... It appears to be standard practice at The Times. Columnists have assistants who do reporting for them but don't get any credit....
Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis confirmed to me that Dowd had gone to Jerusalem.... What about that "Derry, N.H." dateline? Not an issue, Mathis says. Times dateline policy dictates that the reporter spend some time in the place identified, and doesn't require the reporter to be there all the time or file the piece from that location.... [A]nyone reading this piece would assume that Dowd had hoofed it to the victory party to lament Hillary's victory firsthand...