Language Log shows why you shouldn't believe Maureen Dowd. People just don't remember that sort of thing verbatim. Or is the non-lame response: Everyone these days understands that "talking to" includes emailing and IM'ing?
Certainly, in blogging, we say "X said" to mean "X wrote." And I see that I just said "we say" to mean "we write"... And I just said "I just said" to mean...
Oh, enough! Let me say instead that I didn't even bother to blog the Maureen Dowd "plagiarism" story (until now) because I don't consider that kind of thing serious plagiarism. It's sloppy and embarrassing, but it's completely unintentional and not a deliberate effort to pass off someone else's writing as one's own.
It was dull prose, not an eloquent phrasing or snappy quip. So this was was the sort of faux-plagiarism that constantly threatens all of us in these days of quick cutting and pasting. You think you know what is a quote when you're compiling your notes, but maybe later you see it and think it's yours.
Now, I like to believe I'll remember what blocks of text I dropped into my documents, and if I'm not too rushed or I think I might forget, I put quote marks or indentations to remind me what's not mine. Also, I think if I look back on something that I didn't write, I'll recognize that it's not my style.
But it's possible to slip up, and what Dowd did looks like exactly the sort of thing that can only be a slip.
The real fault is not making it a point always to write sharp, distinctive prose. Prose like the stuff Dowd lifted called out for rewriting. She might not have known to think I can't use that because I didn't write it. But she should at least have thought I can't use that because it's dull.
It's sad, because Dowd tends to err in the other direction — rewriting things into the snappiest possible prose. That quirk should have saved her from this slip. It didn't this time. She's been embarrassed. That's all.