Columnist Reports About Transcript

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk about a brewing controversy that’s causing quite a stir in the world of politics and journalism. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has accused the Biden campaign of pressuring her publication to alter the wording in an article that transcribed a recent gaffe made by President Joe Biden. Buckle up, because this story has all the makings of a political thriller!

In her Sunday column titled “Joe Biden, in the Goodest Bunker Ever,” Dowd detailed an intense exchange between herself and the Biden campaign. It all started after she quoted the president in her Saturday column telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would feel content staying in the race, even if Trump won, as long as he gave it his all and did “the goodest job” he could. However, this quote quickly became a point of contention.

Initially, the ABC News transcript of Biden’s Friday interview also recorded him as saying “goodest.” But soon after, ABC News updated the transcript to read, “I did the good as job as I know I can do,” adding an editor’s note stating the update was made for clarity.

Dowd’s column, which used the original quote, caught the attention of T.J. Ducklo, a Biden campaign spokesman. Ducklo contacted Dowd, asking her to “tweak” her column to match the updated ABC transcript. Dowd and her researcher, however, had listened to the footage multiple times and insisted that Biden had indeed said “goodest.”

When Dowd brought up the correction request with her editor, Ducklo doubled down, emphasizing that ABC News, who conducted the interview, had updated their transcript. He suggested it would be unusual for the Times to assert Biden said something different from what ABC had corrected.

Dowd questioned whether the Biden team had influenced ABC’s decision to change the transcript. Ducklo denied this, maintaining that ABC News made its own editorial decisions independently. Yet, Dowd remained skeptical, especially after a follow-up email from Ducklo mentioned that ABC had received a tape and confirmed the error. This left Dowd more confused than ever, prompting her to question the whole process and the role of the White House in the transcript alteration.

In her column, Dowd expressed her frustration, hinting at a deeper issue of the White House’s attempts to manage Biden’s public image. She pointed out that the White House had requested ABC News to recheck the transcript after their stenographers noticed a discrepancy, leading to the update. This led to an editor’s note being added to Dowd’s column, clarifying the revised quote.

Dowd highlighted the broader implications of this incident, suggesting that it signals a tense relationship between a defensive White House and a diligent press corps. She argued that journalists should resist making corrections based solely on the White House’s assertions and that it’s not their job to reinterpret the president’s words.

Furthermore, Dowd mentioned how Biden’s debate performance last month has put his team on high alert, ready to contest every word. She also noted that radio show hosts have admitted to receiving pre-interview questions from the White House, indicating a more controlled approach to Biden’s public appearances.

The strained dynamic between the press and the White House is evident, and Dowd warned that this could lead to more conflicts. She concluded by emphasizing the importance of journalistic integrity and the need for journalists to maintain their independence when reporting on the president.