Domenech Has To Answer Or Go
In light of what appears to be several obvious cases of plagiarism, if the facts are as they appear – Ben Domenech has to go. And the sooner the better.
Domenech is the WaPo’s new conservative blogger. I made an initial post defending Domenech on one point. Frankly, the attack by Media Matters was about as fair, or accurate as the New York Times – not very. However, if any, let alone all, of the charges of alleged plagiarism are deserved, Domenech is an embarrassment to all bloggers, not just conservatives.
Now, even the defense of him I made is in question if he can’t produce a link to an original article containing the deficit quote re the above link.
Though apparently a co-founder, I would also encourage RedState to think very seriously about his role as a RedState blogger going forward. If Domenech plagiarized as freely and often as it would appear, there is no excuse for it.
No one with a healthy respect for original ideas, or the written words of others could do what it seems Domenech has done. If he’s guilty, his judgment displays a profound lack of moral and ethical grounding. Ambition is no excuse for theft. And that’s precisely what plagiarism is.
I’m assuming the WaPo will act, if it hasn’t already. If guilty, allowing him to continue representing the Right would be terribly wrong.
Ben Domenech is a co-founder of RedState, the web’s leading Republican community blog. He began his career as a political journalist covering Capitol Hill, writing for numerous publications and working as a contributing editor to National Review Online. After 9/11, he abandoned the journalism field for a taxpayer-funded life and was sworn in as the youngest political appointee of President George W. Bush. Following a year as a speechwriter for HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and two as the chief speechwriter for Texas Senator John Cornyn, Ben is now a book editor for Regnery Publishing, where he has edited multiple bestsellers and books by Michelle Malkin, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Hugh Hewitt.
Update: Apparently RedState is standing with Ben. I want to be clear. I am troubled by some of the content that’s been attributed to Domenech – troubled enough that I doubt he’s a good spokesperson for the Right. But it’s for the WaPo to decide if they want someone writing for them who has called Coretta Scott King a communist right after she died.
My judgment is based solely on the plagiarism issue. The only defense I have seen to date is that he was in college, or had permissions – if PJ O’Rourke and others gave him permission to copy their work, fine – can’t say I believe it without verification, though. But if he did plagiarize the amount of work it appears he did, being in college is no excuse.
If the plagiarism allegations are true and RedState and other notable right wing bloggers stand behind Domenech – it won’t be because of principle. It’ll simply be a classic example of cronyism and connections getting in the way of the truth.
UpdateIII: It appears the evidence against Domenech is mounting. At the very least, he was obviously often simply re-writing other’s material in his earlier music and film reviews. See here and here where Salon weighs in, which undermines the excuse that he had permission for some text he evidently lifted from there.
Some may call it jealousy, I don’t know. At all of 24, Domenech certainly has come a long way. And founding RedState was not a small matter. No one should begrudge him that.
But my personal feeling is that I have no patience for a relatively young man with political connections getting ahead when he clearly took significant short cuts along the way. Domenech is starting to look more like a Kennedy than a conservative to me.
Having read only a small portion of his writing at RedAmerica, I can well imagine he would be stridently attacking a liberal were they to find them-self in the same place.
Were I the WaPo, I’d likely conclude Domenech needs a comeuppance and much more seasoning before he’s ready for the slot he occupies there.