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Maureen Dowd
Dowd at a Democratic debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April 2008
Maureen Brigid Dowd

(1952-01-14) January 14, 1952 (age 72)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationCatholic University of America (BA)
Years active1974–present
Employer(s)The Washington Star (1974–1981)
Time (1981–1983)
The New York Times (1983–present)

Maureen Brigid Dowd[1] (/dd/; born January 14, 1952) is an American columnist for The New York Times and an author.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Dowd worked for The Washington Star and Time, writing news, sports and feature articles. She joined The New York Times in 1983 as a metropolitan reporter, and became an op-ed writer in 1995.

In 1999, Dowd received a Pulitzer Prize for her series of columns on the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

Early life and career

Dowd was born the youngest of five children[2] in Washington, DC.[3] Her mother, Margaret "Peggy" (née Meenehan), was a housewife, and her father, Mike Dowd, worked as a Washington, DC, police inspector.[4][5][2] In 1969, Dowd graduated from Immaculata High School.[6] In 1973, she received a B.A. in English from the Catholic University of America.[7][3]

Dowd entered journalism in 1974 as a dictationist for the Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter, and feature writer.[7][3] When the Star closed in 1981, Dowd worked for Time.[7][3] In 1983, Dowd joined The New York Times, initially as a metropolitan reporter.[7][3] Dowd began serving as correspondent in the Times Washington bureau in 1986.[7][3]

In 1991, Dowd received a Breakthrough Award from Columbia University.[3] In 1992, she became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting,[3] and in 1994 she won a Matrix Award from New York Association for Women in Communications.[3][8]

New York Times columnist

Dowd became a columnist on The New York Times op-ed page in 1995,[7][3] replacing Anna Quindlen.[5][9] Dowd was named a Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine in 1996,[3] and won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize, for distinguished commentary.[7] She won The Damon Runyon Award for outstanding contributions to journalism in 2000,[10] 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.[11] In 2010, Dowd was ranked No. 43 on The Daily Telegraph's list of the 100 most influential liberals in America; in 2007, she was ranked No. 37 on the same list.[12]

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."[4] Dowd herself has said, "She is in my head in the sense that I want to inform and amuse the reader."[13] Dowd's columns are distinguished by an acerbic, often polemical writing style.[14] Her columns display a critical and irreverent attitude towards powerful, mostly political, figures such as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She 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";[15] and she has called former President Barack Obama "Spock"[16] and "Barry."

Her interest in candidates' personalities earned her criticism from some early in her career, such as this: "She focuses too much on the person but not enough on policy."[4]

Because Dowd perceives her columns to be an exploration of politics, Hollywood, and gender-related topics, she often uses popular culture to support and metaphorically enhance her political commentary.[14] For instance, in a Times video debate she said of the North Korean government that "you could look at a movie like Mean Girls and figure out the way these North Koreans are reacting," drawing out a similarity between their reaction and high school girls with nuclear weapons who just wanted attention.[17]

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.[4] For example, in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election she wrote that Democratic candidate "Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct that he's practically lactating,"[18] while referring to the Democratic Party as the "mommy party."[4] In a Fresh Dialogues interview years later, she said of Gore:

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.[13]

In January 2014, Dowd recounted that after eating about one-fourth of a cannabis-infused chocolate bar while touring the legalized recreational cannabis industry,[19] she was later told she should have only eaten one-sixteenth[20][21]—but that this had not been in the instructions on the label.[22][23] She went on to describe her negative experiences with legal cannabis in a June 3, 2014 New York Times op-ed,[21][24] following up on this story in another op-ed in September 2014, this time describing a discussion of using consumable cannabis with her "marijuana Miyagi" Willie Nelson.[25]

On March 4, 2014, Dowd published a column about the dominance of men in the film industry in which she quoted Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.[26] According to BuzzFeed, "leaked emails from Sony" suggested that Dowd had promised to provide the draft column to Pascal's husband, 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."[27] 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."[28]

In August 2014, it was announced that Dowd would become a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.[29] Her first article under the new arrangement was published more than a year later.[30]

Controversial portrayals of Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Dowd has been accused of sexism by Clark Hoyt, then-public editor of The New York Times.[31][32][33][34][35] A 2017 study which examined sexualized shaming of Monica Lewinsky in mainstream news coverage stated that in Dowd's extensive writings about Lewinsky, she repeatedly "mocked and disparaged her."[36] A 2009 study of sexism towards Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the 2008 election observed that Dowd had disparaged Palin as a "Barbie" over her pageantry past.[37]

Other commentators have criticized Dowd for having an obsession with Bill and, especially, Hillary Clinton.[38][39][40][37] 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".[41] She also published a column where she likened former Senator 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"; in 2013 Jessica Ritchie, a research assistant at the University of Leicester, argued that portrayals such as these sought to portray Clinton and her presidential bid as improper and unnatural.[42][43] 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".[31] A 2014 analysis by the advocacy group Media Matters of 21 years of 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.[44]

During the 2016 presidential election, Dowd penned a New York Times op-ed, titled "Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk".[45] She argued that Donald Trump held dovish foreign policy beliefs, citing his purported opposition to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. However, prior to the publication of the op-ed, it had been reported that Trump did in fact support the invasion, and there were no statements on the record opposing it.[46][47][48][49] Throughout Trump's presidency, critics of his foreign policy referenced the Dowd op-ed, claiming that many of the actions taken by Trump were entirely inconsistent with the narrative put forth by Dowd.[45][50][51]

During the 2020 presidential election, Dowd wrote a column about Geraldine Ferraro, which originally—and incorrectly—stated that the last time a man and a woman ran on the Democratic ticket was the Mondale–Ferraro ticket, which led Clinton to joke that "either Tim Kaine and [she] had a very vivid shared hallucination four years ago or Maureen had too much pot brownie before writing her column again". The New York Times later corrected the column to say that 1984 was the last time a male Democratic presidential candidate chose a woman as his running mate.[52]

Personal life

Dowd is single but formerly dated Aaron Sorkin, the creator and producer of The West Wing. She has also been briefly connected with actor Michael Douglas[14] and is an ex-companion of her fellow New York Times columnist John Tierney.[4]


In 2004, Dowd received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, presented by Awards Council member Neil Sheehan at the International Achievement Summit in Chicago.[53][54]

In 2012, NUI Galway awarded her an honorary doctorate.

In addition to winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for Commentary, she was also a finalist in 1992 for National Reporting.


External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Dowd on Bushworld, August 8, 2004, C-SPAN
video icon Book party for Bushworld, September 13, 2004, C-SPAN
video icon Washington Journal interview with Dowd on Are Men Necessary?, November 18, 2005, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Dowd on Are Men Necessary?, November 19, 2005, C-SPAN
video icon Q&A interview with Dowd on The Year of Voting Dangerously, October 16, 2016, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Dowd on The Year of Voting Dangerously, November 15, 2016, C-SPAN
video icon Interview with Dowd on The Year of Voting Dangerously, March 12, 2017, C-SPAN

See also


  1. ^ Dowd, Maureen (May 19, 2018). "Scarlet Letter in the Emerald Isle", The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Margaret Dowd, 97; Font of Advice". The Washington Post. July 21, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Commentary: Biography". Columbia University. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Levy, Ariel (October 31, 2005). "The Redhead and the Gray Lady". New York. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  5. ^ a b McDermott, Peter (August 8, 2007). "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 August 8, 2007.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Columnist Biography: Maureen Dowd". The New York Times. April 16, 2002. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  8. ^ "Matrix Hall of Fame". New York Women in Communications. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  9. ^ "Meet Newsweek – Anna Quindlen, Contributing Editor". Newsweek. January 11, 2006. Archived from the original on May 8, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2007 – via MSNBC.
  10. ^ "Maureen Dowd – The Damon Runyon Award, 1999–2000". The Denver Press Club. Archived from the original on July 20, 2006. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  11. ^ "Columnist Maureen Dowd Kicks Off New Lecture Series". University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  12. ^ Harnden, Toby (January 13, 2010). "The most influential US liberals: 60-41". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  13. ^ a b van Diggelen, Alison (April 3, 2009). "Maureen Dowd talks green – from Emerald Isle to Eco-Issues".
  14. ^ a b c Kurtz, Howard (October 5, 2005). "Sex & the Single Stiletto". The Washington Post. pp. C01. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  15. ^ Dowd, Maureen (October 8, 2000). "Liberties; West Wing Chaperone". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Brooks, David; Dowd, Maureen; Rich, Frank (speakers) (July 19, 2006). U.S. Politics: What's Next?—2: Bush's Circle of Trust (Flash Video). The New York Times. Event occurs at 5:05. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  18. ^ Stein, Jonathan (November 19, 2007). "Maureen Dowd Rehashes the "Presidential Candidate X is a Wuss" Construct". MoJo (blog). Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  19. ^ Baca, Ricardo (June 5, 2014). "NYT's Maureen Dowd reacts: In quest for fun, risks downplayed". The Cannabist. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  20. ^ Walker, Hunter (June 4, 2014). "Maureen Dowd Got Way Too High And Freaked Out". Business Insider. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  21. ^ a b McDonough, Katie (June 4, 2014). "Maureen Dowd ate a large dose of a marijuana chocolate bar, freaked out, wrote about it". Salon. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  22. ^ Weissman, Jordan (June 4, 2014). "The Economic Lesson of Maureen Dowd's Reefer Madness". Slate. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  23. ^ Rosenberg, Alyssa (June 4, 2014). "What Maureen Dowd gets right about marijuana". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  24. ^ Dowd, Maureen (June 3, 2014). "Don't Harsh Our Mellow, Dude". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  25. ^ Dowd, Maureen (September 20, 2014). "Two Redheaded Strangers". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  26. ^ Dowd, Maureen (March 4, 2014). "Frozen in a Niche?". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Zeitlin, Matthew (December 11, 2014). "Leaked Emails Suggest Maureen Dowd Promised To Show Sony Exec's Husband Column Before Publication". BuzzFeed.
  28. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (December 12, 2014). "Hacked Emails, 'Air–Kissing' — and Two Firm Denials". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (August 11, 2014). "Maureen Dowd Named New York Times Magazine Staff Writer". Observer.
  30. ^ Dowd, Maureen (September 20, 2015). "Kate McKinnon Hates Letting Her Hair Down". The New York Times.
  31. ^ a b Hoyt, Clark (June 22, 2008). "Opinion | Pantsuits and the Presidency". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  32. ^ Ryan, Erin Gloria (December 12, 2017). "Maureen Dowd Praises #MeToo—After Years of Slut-Shaming Monica Lewinsky". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  33. ^ Gertz, Matt (February 6, 2016). "Maureen Dowd -- Who Once Termed Hillary Clinton "The Manliest Candidate" -- Claims "Her Campaign Cries Sexism Too Often"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  34. ^ Kutner, Jenny (April 20, 2015). ""Basking in estrogen": Maureen Dowd offers predictably sexist take on Hillary Clinton's campaign". Salon. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  35. ^ Marcotte, Amanda (February 8, 2016). "Dowd, Steinem take the bait: Sexist "catfight" narrative around the Clinton campaign takes ho..." Salon. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  36. ^ Everbach, Tracy (May 3, 2017). "Monica Lewinsky and Shame". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 41 (3): 268–287. doi:10.1177/0196859917707920. ISSN 0196-8599. S2CID 151604797.
  37. ^ a b Carlin, Diana B.; Winfrey, Kelly L. (August 10, 2009). "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. S2CID 145107322. Maureen Dowd, one of Clinton's sharpest critics
  38. ^ Msopine, "Maureen Dowd - From respected columnist to Mean Girl", Daily Kos, April 23, 2013.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ Brennan Suen, "New York Times' Maureen Dowd Writes Yet Another Anti-Clinton Column", Media Matters, July 10, 2016.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ Dowd, Maureen (March 23, 2008). "Opinion | Haunting Obama's Dreams". Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  43. ^ Ritchie, Jessica (2013). "Creating a Monster". Feminist Media Studies. 13 (1): 102–119. doi:10.1080/14680777.2011.647973. ISSN 1468-0777. S2CID 142886430.
  44. ^ Willis, Oliver; Groch-Begley, Hannah (June 18, 2014). "The Numbers Behind Maureen Dowd's 21-Year Long Campaign Against Hillary Clinton". Media Matters.
  45. ^ a b Ackerman, Spencer (March 11, 2019). "Alleged 'Dove' Donald Trump Will Increase War Funding by 139 Percent". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  46. ^ Smith, Ben. "The Media Keeps Letting Trump Get Away With His Iraq Lie". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  47. ^ Politi, Daniel (May 3, 2016). "No, Maureen Dowd, Trump Didn't Actually Oppose the Iraq War From the Start". Slate Magazine. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  48. ^ Lopez, German (May 1, 2016). "The NY Times' Maureen Dowd fell for Trump's claim he opposed the Iraq War from the start". Vox. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  49. ^ Davis, Charles (August 3, 2016). "Why Do Liberals Keep Calling Donald Trump a Dove?". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  50. ^ "Maureen Dowd". Media Matters for America. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  51. ^ Taylor, Adam (August 23, 2017). "It's time to drop the myth of 'Donald the Dove'". The Washington Post.
  52. ^ Johnson, Martin (August 8, 2020). "Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column". The Hill. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  53. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  54. ^ "2004 Summit Highlights Photo". New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd receives the Golden Plate Award presented by fellow Pulitzer Prize recipient and Awards Council member Neil Sheehan at the 2004 International Achievement Summit in Chicago.
  55. ^ "Inside The New York Times Book Review: Maureen Dowd on Clinton and Trump". September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.