Talking Points Memo bloggers won’t comment on Maureen Dowd controversy

Earlier today, a blogger for TPM Cafe provided stunning evidence that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had lifted an entire paragraph from a blog post written by TPM founder Joshua Marshall.

Here’s the Dowd paragraph:

“More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”

And here is Marshall’s paragraph:

“More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.”

The Huffington Post reached out to Dowd, who said, “i was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent — and I assumed spontaneous — way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column. but, clearly, my friend must have read josh marshall without mentioning that to me. we’re fixing it on the web, to give josh credit, and will include a note, as well as a formal correction tomorrow.”

I reached out to both Josh Marshall and the TPM Cafe blogger who broke the story. Marshall responded with a polite, “I really don’t have any comment.”

The TPM Cafe blogger (I believe his first name is Joshua as well but I don’t know the last) said, “Honestly, I’d rather not. I’m pretty sure I can’t add anything that isn’t already clear cut. Obviously, I don’t know what happened, but I am interested in hearing what Dowd’s explanation is though considering how big a role she played in Joe Biden’s plagiarism problem in 1988. ”

I can’t help but wonder why Marshall doesn’t want to comment on this issue. Either way, a virtual “lynch mob,” as one blogger called it, has already been set loose within Twitter and the blogosphere. The New York Times will be feeling the repercussions of this for weeks.