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Friday, March 24, 2006
Domenech in the Deep Stuff?

Okay, some of the charges against Ben Domenech are trivial, like these:

As Augustine, Domenech has engaged in numerous personal attacks, some of which were compiled by the blog Dragonfire. Domenech has called cartoonist Ted Rall a "steaming bag of pus"; said Teresa Heinz Kerry looks like an "oddly shaped egotistical ketchup-colored muppet"; called Pat Robertson a "senile, crazy old fool"; and described's "White House Briefing" columnist Dan Froomkin as "an embarrassment."

Hmmm, I never noticed Teh-RAY-za's ketchup color. But Rall? Steaming bag of pus about sums him up.

However, the charges of plagiarism, if true, are more serious. And they do appear to be true. Look at this article Domenech wrote for his college paper:

Most parties are not real parties. And some parties can never be real parties no matter how hard the partygoers try. Among these are:

- Christmas parties.
- Wine tasting parties.
- Book publishing parties.
- Parties with themes, such as "Las Vegas Nite" or "Waikiki Whoopee."
- Parties at which anyone is wearing a blue velvet tuxedo jacket.
- Parties at the homes of people who don't smoke, have subscriptions to "Commentary" or were ever in the Peace Corps.
- Parties at which more than six of the guests are related by blood.
- The Republican Party.

Compare that with the results of a search for "Waikiki" on Amazon from a PJ O'Rourke book:

1. on Page 176:
"... • Office Christmas parties • Wine-tasting parties • Book-publishing parties • Parties with themes, such as "Las Vegas Nite" or "Waikiki Whoopee" • Parties at which anyone is wearing a blue velvet tuxedo jacket • Parties at the homes of people ..

There are times when plagiarism isn't obvious, but that's not one of them.

Note that the plagiarism issue is not the reason why the lefty blogosphere went berzerk over the hiring of Domenech. That just happens to be the hammer they're using, but if the Post had hired a conservative blogger who didn't have this issue in his past they'd still be howling. So the proper response from our side of the blogosphere should not just be "Ben's gotta go" but "Replace Ben with another conservative blogger".

Hat Tip: Memeorandum

Red State's defense of Domenech is here. I agree with them that the left-wing blogosphere has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Ben. But this defense is weak:

And now those opposed to Ben have googled prior writings that on the surface appear suspicious, but only because permissions obtained and judgments made offline were not reflected online by an out dated and out of business campus newspaper. But that's all the opponents want - just enough to sabotage a career, though in the process they will sabotage themselves. Facts have no meaning. Only impressions have any bearing on this. The charges of plagarism are false, meant to bring down a good and honest man. The presented facts to prove plagarism are specious -- products of shoddy work. One could easily think the producers of 60 Minutes II were behind them.

I am sure that the Post is actively investigating the charges. If permission was granted to use others' material, it will certainly be discovered, and Ben will be exonerated. I'm not saying saying he should be fired. But he will (and should) be if the plagiarism charges are proven.

Also see this post over at Confederate Yankee on the hypocrisy of Media Matters.

Other apparent examples of plagiarism here.

Rick Moran issues a call for Ben to resign. Michelle Malkin as well:

The bottom line is: I know it when I see it. And, painfully, Domenech's detractors, are right. He should own up to it and step down. Then, the Left should cease its sick gloating and leave him and his family alone.

Red State doubles down.

The critics of Ben Domenech are on a fishing expedition. They attacked the fact that an ex-political appointee would ever be given a job in journalism. Then, they trolled for comments he left on a blog. They attacked his upbringing. They attacked his mother. They attacked his father. They called him a homosexual. “Plagiarism” is only the sixth or seventh line of attack they’ve tried in their campaign to assassinate the character of a good and decent person.

When they invoked the man’s family, when they resorted to an unremitting torrent of smears and lies and invective, they lost their right to be respected in this argument. Their accusations no longer carry any weight. Because Ben Domenech is no longer the issue. They are.

Sorry, Ben's the issue. When that's been resolved, we can all apply a good paddling to those making baseless smears. Saying that this is only a witchhunt is a valid defense right up until the witch is found. Then it's a distraction

I'm sympathetic to the folks over at Red State. This was real coup for them, to have one of their founders move on up to the mainstream media. But there comes a point where it's a credibility issue for them. At the very least they should issue a call for a full investigation of the charges.
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