Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Commentary

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Commentary

Article excerpt

The New York Times

Maureen Dowd raced to a computer to check the Web site announcing the Pulitzer Prizes to make sure her award for distinguished commentary wasn't a joke. She had heard rumors all week that she was going to win but didn't believe it.

"I had been nominated so many times that my bosses were beginning to think I was the Susan Lucci of journalism," she admits sheepishly.

Even though the judges called her winning columns in the Times "witty and insightful," Dowd recalls how hard it was to figure out how to cover the President's affair with Monica Lewinsky and still remain classy and dignified.

"The material was so graphic. There was so much tacky, cheesy stuff," Dowd sighs. "I was dealing with the Tom Wolfe syndrome. How can you write satire in a world where the material coming out of the White House was so much better than anything on Saturday Night Live?"

She used a combination of light and thoughtful satire to describe the state of affairs in Washington. "Things were funny, but they were also very serious," Dowd explains. "I kept thinking, let's not do this to the Constitution. I pretty much dealt with Starr's obsessive tactics, Clinton's lame behavior and Monica's wackiness. If there was a general theme to my columns it was that Clinton's behavior was grounds for divorce, not impeachment."

Dowd describes the Washington atmosphere where she wrote her columns as depressing and partisan. "Nobody in the rest of the country seemed to be paying too much attention to what was going on. …

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