ink-stained wretches

Maureen Dowd Defends Funny Political Journalism

Maureen Dowd

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The Harvard Political Review interviewed Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and she came clean about her longtime affection for comedy-show hosts Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (once, at the Time 100 dinner a few years back, MoDo confessed to us that she had spent the evening tossing notes to Stewart from her table one level above his). According to Dowd, like many young people she watches The Colbert Report and The Daily Show more than she watches the nightly news. “I really think the alarm about that is silly, because I think if you watch Colbert and Stewart, you learn a lot,” Dowd points out. It’s better than, say, trying to learn about the world by watching Letterman. Explains the Ginger Zinger:

I went on the Colbert show for my first book, and it spoiled me because you’re talking about all this kind of politics stuff and either the audience is really savvy from watching him every night, or they just love him and laugh a lot. Then I went on Letterman and made a joke about Paul Krugman and Letterman and the audience were just dead silent. And at the break, I said to Letterman I promise if you ever invite me back I’ll never make another Paul Krugman joke.

Dowd also defended her use of humor (not “her use of humor” as in, how she thinks writing in a tortured, circuitous manner is the same as being funny, but the actual use of comedy in general). “When I first started my columns, Michael Kinsley and Bill Safire said to me, ‘You have to stop doing humor columns because you’ll be seen as too girly,’” Dowd said. “And I said I would never take humor out of politics. I think it’s a fantastic way to tell the truth, but to take a fresh angle that can lure people in and tell them something true. And I grew up loving Johnathan Swift and Evelyn Wong [sic], and I think we can use humor and satire to get at the truth and a larger and different audience.” Good point, Maureen! Except only you do it. We don’t think we could handle it if William Kristol started cracking blonde jokes — and you know he’s dying to.

The More Things Change… [Harvard Political Review via Romenesko]

Maureen Dowd Defends Funny Political Journalism