Maureen Dowd Gave Draft To Former Colleague Before Finishing Column About His Wife/Sony Co-Chair

The latest release in the Sony hacking scandal involves a serious breach of journalistic ethics by NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd. According to an email obtained by Buzzfeed,  “Dowd promised to show Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal’s husband, Bernard Weinraub, — a former Times reporter — a version of a column featuring Pascal before publication.”

The resulting Dowd column, “Frozen in a Niche?” displayed Pascal as a leader in creating jobs in the movie industry for women:

When Pascal greenlit Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers rom-coms, some male executives sniffed “So what’s next?” Adam Sandler, Will Smith, the “Spider-Man” franchise, “The Social Network,” and this year’s “American Hustle” and “Captain Phillips” impressed the guys in the boardroom. Pascal says, given this year’s crop of female protagonists, she feels more sanguine. “Between ‘Gravity,’ ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘The Heat,’ and others, that’s $4 billion,” she told me. “That’s a gigantic change.”

Pascal said she learned from Geena Davis, who runs an institute in Los Angeles on gender in media, that “the most important thing is having female protagonists. It doesn’t matter if they’re a villain or a hero. It just matters that their actions have consequences.”

She thinks that Hollywood men are no longer reluctant to work with women, saying “any problems are completely unconscious. It’s obvious that women understand how to make money. You can’t have a year like last year and not see something different. Women have to help each other more. It’s our duty.”

Buzzfeed reported that the column “painted Pascal in such a good light that she engaged in a round of mutual adulation with Dowd over email after its publication. It also scored Pascal points back at the studio, with Sony’s then-communications-chief calling the column ‘impressive.'”

But the leaked documents show that when Dowd emailed Pascal on March 3 for the column — which would run online the next night and in print on March 5 — Dowd told Pascal “i would make sure you look great and we’d check it all and do it properly.”

Before Pascal actually interviewed with Dowd for the column, she talked to Weinraub.

“I said the rap that you jus like to make womens films is unfair amnd sexist,” Weinraub said in an email to Pascal on March 4. “You made all these “women’s movies ===league of their own, 28 days,,,the nora Ephron films…zero dark…. but you also do spifderman… denzel….Jonah hill…..bad teacher etc etc.”


Weinraub assured her, “you cant tell single person that I’m seeing the column before its printed…its not done…no p.r. people or Lynton or anyone should know.”

After the column was published later that night, Pascal emailed Dowd, saying “I THOUGHT THE STORY WAS GREAT I HOPE YOUR HAPPY ”

Dowd responded: “I hope you’re happy! Thanks for helping. Let’s do another.” Pascal replied, “Your my favorite person so yes” and Dowd finished the conversation with “you’re mine! you’re amazing”

About 10 minutes later, Sony’s then-communications-head Charles Sipkins forwarded the column to Pascal and Lynton, saying “this is impressive.”

Apparently Dowd has done this before:

This isn’t the first time one of Dowd’s columns has been leaked — in 2012, Times intelligence reporter Mark Mazetti fowarded an advance copy of a column Dowd wrote about Zero Dark Thirty to then-Central Intelligence Agency spokeswoman Marie Harf. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy described it as “a mistake that is not consistent with New York Times standards.”

This was more than a “mistake.” 


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