New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd responded to complaints about her frequent use of gender stereotypes by saying that "nobody had objected to her use of similar images about men over seven presidential campaigns," according to Times public editor Clark Hoyt. However, many writers and organizations -- including Media Matters for America -- have noted Dowd's feminization of male Democratic presidential candidates.
A Media Matters for America review of Maureen Dowd's columns since the beginning of 2007 reveals that Dowd frequently characterized Sen. Hillary Clinton as masculine, while portraying Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards as feminine. By contrast, Dowd rarely feminized the all-male Republican field and, during the period Media Matters reviewed, has never feminized Sen. John McCain, whom she has referred to in one column as a "tough guy."
On Fox News, Morton M. Kondracke presented a "theory" for why Sen. Hillary Clinton may be having a "good time" on the campaign trail: "[S]omebody I know has a theory about this. Remember back when [Bill] Clinton was president of the United States, people said that he's really Satan because he walks through life and people collapse around him and go to jail and die, and all this kind of stuff? Well, this person says Hillary's a vampire. She's sucking the blood out of Barack Obama." Kondracke did not name his "theor[ist]," but the purported "theory" has been publicly articulated before, by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
In recent days, members of the media asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton displayed "mood swings," "could be depressed," "[r]esembl[ed] someone with multiple personality disorder," and "has turned into Sybil."
Responding to an online commenter who said that a lot of women are "getting incredibly angry about the progressively dismissive way" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "gets treated by the [New York Times columnist Maureen] Dowds and [MSNBC host Chris] Matthews of the world," The Washington Post's Anne E. Kornblut asserted, "I think there is something to that" and "certainly Chris Matthews has taken her on quite aggressively over the last few weeks."
Discussing a recent campaign event during which Sen. Hillary Clinton's voice broke while answering a question from the audience, several media figures have baselessly claimed that Clinton's actions were not "genuine" or were "pretend," including Glenn Beck, who said of the incident, "Hillary Clinton isn't just running for president, but she's also making a run for the best actress nomination." Michelle Malkin wrote that "[a]nyone who believes Hillary spontaneously teared up and got emotional on the campaign trail has been in a coma the last three decades."
Echoing an article by New York Times reporter Patrick Healy about President Clinton's appearance on PBS' Charlie Rose Show, Maureen Dowd wrote, "He got so agitated with Charlie Rose -- ranting that reporters were 'stenographers' for [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] -- that his aides tried to stop the interview." But neither Dowd nor Healy noted Rose's actual on-air comments on the matter, indicating that the interview had gone "over" time -- not that the aides were concerned about the content of the interview.