Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 24, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IT'S TIME TO VOTE BEN OFF THE ISLAND....As I've mentioned, I basically don't care very much that the Washington Post has hired a conservative political operative to write a blog for them. In fact, I sometimes wish mainstream news outlets would hire more gaffe machines like Ben Domenech. It might serve as a wakeup call to moderate news consumers who basically don't understand that people like Domenech really exist. See here for an example of what I'm talking about.

However, if the guy has a long history of plagiarizing material from sources online and off and he does then he needs to go. I'm all for giving Blue America a taste of what Red America is really all about, but if you're going to write spittle-flecked polemics about the moral decay of liberals you really ought to think up your own insults.

UPDATE: Domenech has resigned.

Kevin Drum 12:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (109)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Word.

Posted by: SteveK on March 24, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

However, if the guy has a long history of plagiarizing material from sources online and off and he does then he needs to go.

As usual, liberal LIARS like Kevin Drum refused to print Ben Domenech's refutation of the plagiarism charge.

Link

"Domenech said he needed to research the examples but that he never used material without attribution and had complained about a college editor improperly adding language to some of his articles."

Posted by: Al on March 24, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Word.

Posted by: Vladi G on March 24, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

You know, great thinking. As I was saying to my wife the other night I basically don't care very much that the Washington Post has hired a conservative political operative to write a blog for them. In fact, I sometimes wish mainstream news outlets would hire more gaffe machines like Ben Domenech. It might serve as a wakeup call to moderate news consumers who basically don't understand that people like Domenech really exist.

Do you agree?

Posted by: GOPlagiarize on March 24, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

But concepts like personal integrity and morality and stuff like that, don't apply to conservatives.

That's not even sarcasm - you can go to redstate.org and see them defending this behavior. It's amazing. They really, really have no shame left.

Posted by: craigie on March 24, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The best part of this is watching redstate.com's ever increasing ridiculousness in its defense of him (and I thought it couldn't get anymore ridiculous after the first post).

Posted by: Ugh on March 24, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ben - if you're going to write spittle-flecked polemics about the moral decay of liberals you really ought to think up your own insults.

Posted by: FMguru on March 24, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

They really, really have no shame left.

Oh, to hear the next prez intone, "Our long national mob action is over."

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Al, I hope you're being a fake right now.

I can't deal with the possibility your last comment was real.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 24, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Is that true? When I first read that I thought, yeah, people really don't know how insane the movement conservatives are, the more crazy the more better. But then I thought, hang on... Limbaugh. O'Reilly. Hannity. Savage. Etc.

I don't know, I think maybe regular shmoes are already aware of the insanity, and the more it goes mainstream the more they make this calculation in their heads: insane rightwing talk = mainstream political dialogue from the right, therefore left mainstream thinking most likely = insanity, also.

I run into more people that think Micheal Moore is the same as Ann Coulter than I run into people who think it's just mainstream (movement) rightwing thinking that's insane.

Posted by: The Tim on March 24, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's definitely the fake Al, but the quote was real. Ben is basically weaseling around the issue rather than confronting it.

Posted by: PaulB on March 24, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, but why does Al consistently show up two or three comments into every thread? What is UP with that?

And check it out, the real Don P. has returned as "Atheist" and is arguing with rmck1 down in the atheist thread.

(What am I, 12? I sound like Charlie!)

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Domenech is toast. Let the wingnuts defend him, and they can follow him out the door.

How many times is it going to take for the media elite to understand the base hypocrisy of the right? They're the ones always whining about "morals" and time and time and time and time and time again they're the ones who don't have any.

Posted by: JJF on March 24, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

you really ought to think up your own insults.

Tell that to Ann Coulter and P.J.O'Rourke who spend their time thumbing through Mencken.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 24, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I run into more people that think Micheal Moore is the same as Ann Coulter...

Well, that's just silly. One is liberal and one radically conservative, one is overweight, and one anorexic, one has facial hair and the other is clean-shaven, one is brunet and the other blond.

All they really have in common is the XY chromosomes.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh come on.

I'm sure it was just sloppiness on the part of his editors. He probably inserted those section in his working documents (for inspiration) and the editors (receiving the wrong version) edited it -- removing the substandard text between the italics sections and turning the italics font into regular text. It could happen to anyone. Let's wait for his response and google search it for plagerism before passing judgement.

Posted by: B on March 24, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it is a reflection of his home-schooled education that he never learned what plagiarism is.

Posted by: Wombat on March 24, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the real Don P is, in fact, an atheist, so it's not too surprising that that post would push his buttons. The furor and sputtering at redstate.org is hilarious. I wonder if they realize just how self-referential their posts and comments are?

Posted by: PaulB on March 24, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Our long national mob action is over."
All they really have in common is the XY chromosomes.

Somebody had a great vacation, and is ready for action!

Posted by: craigie on March 24, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

poor katharine graham - this is what her legacy has become: morons running the editorial page and morons being defended for plagiarizing. to think that a newspaper that once stared down nixon and agnew and mitchell has now come to this.

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Im not sure where I come down on this one. In this particular case, it seems that the Post really failed to do their homework and picked a lemon. But until the plagiarism evidence started to roll in, it really felt like the blogosphere was engaged in the same kind of character assasination that the Right has been using for years. It just feels a little dirty.

Domenech seems to deserve it, but I wonder whether the MSM is going to take away a different message than you might expect, or hope for. Rather than conclude that they need to try to filter out right-wing hacks, they might just conclude that the left and the right are exactly the same... loud-mouth crybabies.

So yeah, eventually, they'll start printing unchallenged right and left-wing talking points side-by-side. But isn't that just Truthiness Squared?

Posted by: enozinho on March 24, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: I sometimes wish mainstream news outlets would hire more gaffe machines like Ben Domenech. It might serve as a wakeup call to moderate news consumers who basically don't understand that people like Domenech really exist.

Pace's disagreement with Rumsfeld may not be consistent, but your illogic sure is. You talk as if no one's ever heard of Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage or Sean Hannity or Pat Robertson or Michelle Malkin or Bill O'Reilly or literally hundreds of others.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 24, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

All this inside the blogsphere stuff is fun and watching the WashingtonPost.com self destruct is amusing, but this week apparently GM and the UAW have entered into an agreement concerning the buyout of a lot of UAW workers. To me that buyout signifies another body blow to the American middle class.

Maybe its just me, but if all our highly paid workers are given the boot, who is going to buy anything down at Wal-Mart? Who is going to pay me for my services?

I guess what I am saying is I am becoming increasingly worried about the future of both the American middle class, and America. Isn't anybody else? If nobody else is worried, I'll stop worrying. I don't think I am alone.

I would like to see more reporting on the GM UAW agreement and less on the Washington Post. Please.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 24, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

jeeeez, I was joking about the editor excuse.

Posted by: B on March 24, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers - you're right, there are more important things to worry about. Like that arctic ice shelf melting. Our property in Oakland Ca is at an elevation of maybe 30 feet - it will be waterfront in a hundred years.

Posted by: Leila on March 24, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ben's blowup has a few paralells.

1) Stephen Glass. Remember that schmuck at TNR? Remember how he had a privileged upbringing, hung out with rightwing groups in college (UPenn for Glass)? Remember that sense of privilege?

And remember how long TNR printed that incredibly ludricrous stuff?

2) This is yet another example of how the major media managers lumping all the blogsphere together gets them into trouble. They habitually lump together Atrois, RedState, Michael Moore, Ann Coulter - everyone as just this group of screaming extremists that they can ignore. (Accept that they want to know what all these nuts are talking about.)

But what they don't do is really do any thinking of which ones of these commentators are heated by generally correct factually, and which ones are just heated.

And like it or not righties - the left wing commentators have had a much better factual record than the right wingers. In other words, if Kevin Drum, Duncan Black, or Kos write something - you can put money on it. If Red State, Sullivan, or Limbaugh does - I won't advise opening your wallet.

But the major papers just ignored all that history - and it blew up in their faces.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on March 24, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

But until the plagiarism evidence started to roll in, it really felt like the blogosphere was engaged in the same kind of character assasination that the Right has been using for years. It just feels a little dirty.

Well, this is what it's come to. I read the "Red America" blog and thought 'they must be kidding."
No one could be so in-your-face and expect that there would not be serious opposition, including research into his 'work'. This is just the other face of the Dan Rather/'Bush in the National Guard' controversy. And to see this wretched weasel admitted calling Coretta King a 'commie' after her funeral (and please, go to the Post, and no, I'll not post a link) and read his non-apology
(she was for gay rights, and abortion rights, so it's ok..), and that fewer black babies would be less of a drag on society (in a majority black city)... Words fail me.
They didn't need another Republican activist, they've got Will and Krauthammer...

Posted by: Mr. Bill on March 24, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

This defense was priceless:

Did Ben Domenech study Journalism in college? IS he a trained journalist? Or a blogger, like so many of the rest of you! There IS a big difference you know. Trained journalists LEARN all about plaigerism, libel and the laws concerning journalism...bloggers don't!

I also loved the post in which the poster claimed that Ben should not be fired for plagiarism, while at the same time saying that he was going to scrutinize Milbank's and Froomkin's prior work and try to get them fired if he found any evidence of plagiarism.

Then there was the idiot who wrote: "You'd be hard pressed to find a single person in the entire civilized world that has been required to write a paper that didn't plagarize, whether on purpose or not."

Wow, just wow....

Posted by: PaulB on March 24, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Domenech has the potential to change the terms of the MSM debate. Every time anyone mentions Dan Rather as an example of liberal agenda in the media, liberals have an easy answer. This fiasco has made a deep impression on media people, and it'll be a long time before any major media outlet bends over backwards in the name of false "fairness" again. It may also be the beginning of the end of that bland "both sides have a point" coverage. I think some people are really going to try to get back to basics, report the facts, don't worry that much about perception of bias, and print the research suggesting that certain lies are lies.

You watch -- the Domenech thing may be pretty significant.

Posted by: Martin on March 24, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The more interesting issue, which I think could never be fully explored, is the set of circumstances that led to the selection of this person for the position at Washington Post. If some enterprising journalist could flush out all the detail, that will be the story.

Posted by: lib on March 24, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

The whole sense of entitlement by rich people continues to amaze me. My dad worked full time starting at 12 during the Depression, supporting his parents and siblings; I had a much richer childhood -- actually owned more than one pair of shoes at a time -- but I worked weeding fields, washing dishes, and other general labor from grade school on and thought it normal. I work as an editor now in a very large rich firm; I deal with youngsters coming in from rich families often.

The kids from money are handicapped.

I tried to teach one how important it was to be polite to staff, specifically to introduce himself to the chief librarian and ask for help with something he didn't know how to do, not walk in and demand a librarian do it for him and without any courtesies. And he came back to me later and said: "You were right, I never realized how useful it is to make people feel more important than they are."

I told another after fixing one of his early attempts to write that many of us staff stay there longterm because of the amount of pro bono work the firm does, it's a rare best-of-a-bad-lot place. He said "I never thought clerical people would care who they worked for, since what they do doesn't make any difference."

These young people are mushrooms, raised in the dark and fed bullshit. They come out into the light of the work day leaking arrogance in all directions.

Where do you suppose they learn it?

Posted by: me on March 24, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

When even Michelle Malkin calls for him to quit, the game's over. How many more hours does he have? And will the Post ombudsfraud continue to pretend that this doesn't reflect badly on the paper because he's online-only?

Posted by: theophylact on March 24, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the subject pieces were actually produced by an evil doppelgnger, I don't really see any possible defense at this point.

The posts at RedState defending the guy, and the attendant comments, are truly fucking bizarre. Paranoid, you-lefties-with-your-substantiated-allegations-of-plagiarism-better-get-off'n-my-land, crazy shit.

Posted by: Hubris on March 24, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't know, I think maybe regular shmoes are already aware of the insanity, and the more it goes mainstream the more they make this calculation in their heads: insane rightwing talk = mainstream political dialogue from the right, therefore left mainstream thinking most likely = insanity, also."

DEAD ON!

The false equivalence of Froomkin with Bernacke is killing us.

The fact of the matter is that there are loonies on both sides. But a) our loonies aren't as crazy as their loonies (American right wingers kill people with political violence, the American left's absolute worst just burn down empty buildings) and b) our loonies are way further out on the fringe than theirs are.

For instance, today's Democratic fiscal policy is: "we have to pay for this shit." Republican fiscal policy is: "we can cut taxes, increase spending and we don't have to pay for it. Ever."

One of those fiscal policies is clearly radical and insane. The other is quite mainstream. And yet...no one thinks the Republicans are insane.

That's a problem, and I think the media's false equivalence of moderate liberalism to radical right-wingdom is largely to blame.

Posted by: theorajones on March 24, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hubris, we wish you'd come 'round more. We don't really care about your job, family and other commitments. Heh.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Domenech Resigns! http://tinyurl.com/qa8ow

Posted by: Mr. Bill on March 24, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I take it that from now on you guys will not be insulting me any more, given that my posts are well-reasoned, logical, and invariably devoid of any ad-hominem attacks?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 24, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Good to see you too shortstop. :)

Posted by: Hubris on March 24, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Bill's linked story didn't get into it, but Ben and another recent right-wing resignation will be teaming up to form a new DC communications firm, Domenech and Deutsch.

Between providing GOP clients with the best media strategies a college dropout can steal, er, buy, they'll also be doing a lounge act in the Poconos this summer. "Ben, the two of us need look no moooooore/We both found what we were loooooking for" is slated for the opening number, I think.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

ben just resigned..

Posted by: evermore on March 24, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

here's the interesting thought experiment: is there an honest conservative blogger out there whom we could recommend to the post? the best i can come up with is bruce bartlett, who isn't really a blogger, although he's playing one at the nytimes website currently....

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

howard -

this guy is pretty good, though I think he's already left the reservation

Posted by: craigie on March 24, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: good point. john cole is pretty good and i hadn't thought of him. it would, of course, be impossible to be an honest conservative and not have left the reservation, but i wouldn't have any problem with the wapo hiring him.

i have a problem with the overall balance of the wapo, but hell, if they would just fire krauthammer, hoagland, samuelson, and cohen....

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Update: He's gone.

Posted by: theophylact on March 24, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

...if you're going to write spittle-flecked polemics about the moral decay of liberals you really ought to think up your own insults.

Great line. You, uh, did write it yourself, right?

Posted by: Mike B. on March 24, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Nice little liberal witchunt to get rid of Domenech. I guess I'm in the minority, but ripping of some movie review prose doesn't seem like a big deal to me. So impressive that you managed to derail a young man's career. Anyone want to talk about Martin Luther King and his plagiarism in his doctoral thesis? Anyone?

Anyway, I look forward to seeing weeks of gloating about how powerful liberal blogs are now. For your encore, why don't try winning an election....oh, I forgot you can't do that. And the reason why isn't that "moderate" people are unaware there are people with conseravtive values in America (per Drum), it's becuase the majority of Americans have conservative values. Kevin, check out the ratings for Limbaugh, Hannity, and Fox.

Posted by: Tom on March 24, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

tom, very impressive piece of nitwittery! stupidity on every level!

the young man's "career," such as it is, has consisted of getting positions by dint of either cheating or being connected.

Martin Luther King's plagiarism on his thesis, which no one here will defend, is neither here nor there to your man.

and no, the majority of americans do not have what what you seem to hink, incorrectly, are "conservative" values: Limbaugh, Hannity, and Fox do not represent 150M people by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm in the minority, but ripping of some movie review prose doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

Yeah, I guess you are in the minority. Plagiarism is pretty damn serious, especially when you're employed as a writer. It's not a partisan issue.

Nice attempt at tu quoque, though.

Posted by: Hubris on March 24, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

is there an honest conservative blogger out there whom we could recommend to the post?

I'm available.

Posted by: TLB on March 24, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

to think that a newspaper that once stared down nixon and agnew and mitchell has now come to this.

I blame Cokie Roberts. And her brother Hale Boggs.

And all their friends, too.

Posted by: obscure on March 24, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"These young people are mushrooms, raised in the dark and fed bullshit. They come out into the light of the work day leaking arrogance in all directions.

"Where do you suppose they learn it?" me at 1:41pm.

I was going to say something snarky like "Harvard, Yale or both," but I realized that I know some hardworking Harvard grads. The real answer is that rich kids learn arrogance from their parents, their private school teachers, but mostly their peers.

I really feel sorry for rich kids. They are truly deprived. Many of them would be well served if they were fired from their first three jobs.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 24, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Tom you're a moron. Nice sour grapes though.

Posted by: ckelly on March 24, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Domenech resigned.

Posted by: NSA Mole on March 24, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: good point. john cole is pretty good and i hadn't thought of him.

I had a run in with Cole when he posted that Clinton's surplus wasn't a surplus if you threw out social security.

I showed him some CBO numbers from 1999 and 2000 that said otherwise, and he responded with a link that showed something completely different.

Turned out his link was to an article written in the fall of '98 and was only a prediction. I called him on it, but as far as I know, he's never followed up, though I stopped checking after a few weeks.

Cole was tolerant, did not ban people for disagreeing with him, but he's honest only so far as it's convenient and no further.

Posted by: Boronx on March 24, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Domenich resigns.

You crucified him, you vicious, hateful liberals. I hope you're happy. Now he has to go back to working for the governemnt.

The BoxTurtle will rise again!

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 24, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ben has been voted off the island. Too bad he didn't have the cojones to stick around and defend himself.

Posted by: raj on March 24, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah, I guess you are in the minority. Plagiarism is pretty damn serious, especially when you're employed as a writer. It's not a partisan issue.

Nice attempt at tu quoque, though."

I can imagine, if I were a writer, that it would be a bigger deal to me. Honestly, I would like to understand what it is about plagiarism that makes it such a unforgiveable act. If it were from an unpublished work or if the plagiarism somehow generated income, fame, or opportunity that was not accorded to the original author I would understand it. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Domenech. Is plagiarism unforgiveable in all cases?

As for the MLK citation, I wasn't trying to justify anything by it other than to point out it seems few people care about it. That may be because it seems uncharitable to criticize a man who risked and lost his life in a noble cause. Maybe Biden would be a better example of relatively soft reprecussions for more serious offenses than Domenech's.

Posted by: Tom on March 24, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to say something snarky like "Harvard, Yale or both," but I realized that I know some hardworking Harvard grads.

Hey, don't blame us. Domenech was home-schooled and then dropped out of William & Mary.

Posted by: Stefan on March 24, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can imagine, if I were a writer, that it would be a bigger deal to me. Honestly, I would like to understand what it is about plagiarism that makes it such a unforgiveable act. If it were from an unpublished work or if the plagiarism somehow generated income, fame, or opportunity that was not accorded to the original author I would understand it. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Domenech. Is plagiarism unforgiveable in all cases?

Posted by: Jerry on March 24, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

And where might one go to find spittle-flecked polemics about the moral decay of conservatives?

Just asking...

Posted by: mirrormirroronthewall on March 24, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Plagiarism is theft. Not of ideas but of the creative expression of those ideas. To steal someone's writing is as much theft as stealing the hand-made object of another and selling it as your own work.

That some don't 'see the big deal' is a sad reflection of their values. Surely someone along the line told them it's wrong to steal stuff.

Posted by: Dave In Texas on March 24, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Jerry,

I forgive you. And I also think you should try plagiarising better writers. My prose isn't going to get you anywhere.

Posted by: Tom on March 24, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Compare and contrast, via an alert poster at DailyKos:

Ben Domenech wrote:

Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, splaying their tentacles and snapping their jaws, dripping a discomfiting acidic ooze. They're known as the Phantoms, otherworldly beings who, for three decades, have been literally sucking the life out of the earthlings of the human. [sic?] They are swollen, insectoid, the nightmare descendents [sic] of Lovecraftian grotesque if only the filmmakers had created a plot that was as memorable.

Steve Murray, writing for the Cox News Service, wrote:

Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, wriggling countless tentacles and snapping their jaws. They're known as the Phantoms, alien thingies that, for three decades, have been sucking the life out of the earthlings of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Swollen nightmares from a petri dish, they're the kind of grotesque whatsits horror writer H.P. Lovecraft would have kept as pets in his basement.

Yes, I'm sure that's an honest mistake....But you know, if you replace the word "Phantoms" in Domenech's passage above with "young Republicans" it actually makes sense!

Posted by: Stefan on March 24, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Behold Tom, the completely amoral man. This is what we're dealing with, ladies and gentlemen. Hold on; the ride's going to get bumpier.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Behold Tom, the completely amoral man. This is what we're dealing with, ladies and gentlemen. Hold on; the ride's going to get bumpier."

I'm not trying to argue that plagiarism is acceptable, I was just saying I didn't think Domenech deserved to lose his job for what he did. I'm sure most of you think he didn't deserve the job in the first place, which makes this verdict assuredly appropriate.

How about something people here might agree with me on: Biden should lose his job. Can we all agree on that?

Posted by: Tom on March 24, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Guess what Michelle Malkin is saying about Domenech.

Posted by: Bark At The Moon on March 24, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

doesnt this episode remind anyone of that NASA spokesperson that resigned a few weeks ago?

Another crony bites the dust...

Posted by: evermore on March 24, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Guess what Michelle Malkin is saying about Domenech.

Posted by: Bark At The Moon on March 24, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I second Tom's assertion - Domenech's plagiarisms weren't that bad. He certainly shouldn't have resigned over it.

You want to see some REAL plagiarism? Check out Heath Ledger stealing my moves in Brokeback Mountain.

Posted by: Al on March 24, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I understand your point about exposing these people to the harsh light of day, but I have real doubts about it. It opens up dangerous possibilities.

After all, it was when the media began granting the lunatic fringe a veneer of credibility that they began to gain a foothold. American history since 1980 is the story of that foothold.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 24, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Tom, if the job wasn't writing for the Washinington Post you might have a point. They do have a certain image to protect. Would you like their motto to be "only inconsequential plagerism not directly benefitting the author and probably due to laziness or poor habits learned during home schooling."

Posted by: B on March 24, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

He didn't lose his job because of what he did, he resigned. BTW, any plagiarism by MLK isn't nullified because he was a great and brave man, nor does any plagiarism by Ben prevent him from becoming a great and brave man.

Let Ben become the conscience of a nation, and his plagiarism will be viewed by history as a detour on the road to greatness. Right now, it's the most important thing he's ever done.

Why is plagiarism bad? Not because you're denying someone their due, though that is tacky in the extreme, but because you're leading other to believe you're someone other than you really are.

A writer has an obligation to the truth, and plagiarism is a lie.

Posted by: Boronx on March 24, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

In fairness, I've seen no evidence that he plagiarized insults. It would appear that the incidences involve the writing he did in college and various reviews. (Please note that the fact he was younger when he did it does not strike me as a plausible defense; taking others work as your own is wrong at any age.) Nonetheless, you shouldn't be able to make a living as a writer if it appears that your writing may not even be yours.

Posted by: Andrew on March 24, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

It would appear that the incidences involve the writing he did in college and various reviews.

Nope, he also plagiarized straight news articles.

Posted by: Stefan on March 24, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

The guys day job is as an editor at Regenery.
How can the continue to employ someone as an editor who obviously has no idea what the rules and ethics of print media are. Maybe Malkin did make up all that stuff in her book, Domenech inserted it right before it went to press.

Posted by: evil copy editor on March 24, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The shame of it for WaPo is that they did not see it fit to fire him for the Mrs. King remark. Whether he apologized for it or not, he should have been fired.

Posted by: lib on March 24, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

The guys day job is as an editor at Regenery.
How can the continue to employ someone as an editor who obviously has no idea what the rules and ethics of print media are.

Maybe you don't know Regnery. They are just as ethically challenged as Ben Domenech. I'd call them the publishing equivalent of Fox News, but that's probably an insult to Fox.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 24, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

all right, let's help Tom out here dspite his foolishness.

we don't care what people do i ntheir everday conversation: you want to steal someone else's ideas or manner of speaking, that's life.

but we value writers (among others) for two things: the quality of their expression and the quality of their thought. when you steal someone else's expressions and thought, you don't deserve a job on the basis of it. you can just link to them.

as for biden, yes, we can all agree that biden stole someone else's campaign speech, and he deserved to be ridiculed for it (although he would have lost anyhow). really, what is going on in right-wing central today: are they issuing great moments in plagiarism because they want to defend this little squirt?

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Plagarism certainly is bad, and an easily fireable offense, in fact it is likely a 'must fire no matter what' offense due to the legal ramifications of doing anything less. IP theft can have some pretty ridiculously bad outcomes. Something like having an entire issue of a magazine pulled from the shelves is at least theroretically possible.

Unfortunately being a government paid propagandist or known liar is aparrantly not a firing offense at some media outlets. No liability there, just integrity.

Posted by: jefff on March 24, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Plagarism certainly is bad, and an easily fireable offense, in fact it is likely a 'must fire no matter what' offense due to the legal ramifications of doing anything less. IP theft can have some pretty ridiculously bad outcomes. Something like having an entire issue of a magazine pulled from the shelves is at least theroretically possible.

Unfortunately being a government paid propagandist or known liar is aparrantly not a firing offense at some media outlets. No liability there, just integrity.

Posted by: jefff on March 24, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Part of me agrees with you Kevin, and part of me feels that the major news outlets have done us no favors by legitimizing the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and Hannity.

But really, the problem wasn't so much that WaPo paid to publish this batshit loon, but that they did so as a counterbalance to Froomkin. It's not so much that the extreme right demands a voice in media, but that they claim these people are the equivalent of journalists who may happen to be personally left-leaning. It's part of the whole bias smear, and I just can't go along with that, no matter how much fun it is to mock Box Turtle Ben.

In the same way that negative campaign ads decrease voter turnout, winguttery seems to cause people to tune out politics as a whole, thinking that anybody who advocates a position is too rabidly partisan to be trusted. Call it the Crossfire effect.

Posted by: Royko on March 24, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Intellectual dishonesty and laziness are rampant on the right. Limbaugh was a drug abusing felon, and yet he remains the wind in their inflated ego. The lesson here is that wrong is wrong, and we better damn well start defining the boundaries for the wrong wing.

Posted by: Sparko on March 24, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Awfully compassionate of WaPo to let him resign . . . once again, imagine the play this would get if it were coming from "the other side."

Although I realize it would be an excellent Lenten discipline to avoid talk of "sides"--or would it? I guess I need to acknowledge my enemies as such in order to love them as such.

As an emblem, he's hard to beat but easy to equal. Is it not the characteristic of right-wing (I am trying to avoid using the word "conservative" in vain; so much violence to the language abounds) appointees. Guckert/Gannon to Benny-boy; what's next?

Posted by: Cassandro on March 24, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, don't blame us. Domenech was home-schooled and then dropped out of William & Mary. Posted by: Stefan

Interesting. This is the second dishonest young Republican that is a college drop out. I see now why the Rethugs want to do away with the Department of Education. They apparently can see the point of getting one.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 24, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

When is the College of William & Mary revoking his bachelor's degree? Domenech has been unmasked as a serial plagiarist and the College newspaper says that the value of the school's diploma must be protected. Stripping "Augustine" of his degree would be a good step in that direction.

Posted by: Zeno on March 24, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

From the link in Drum's post to Domenech's writing, I don't see a qualitative difference between Drum, Kos, Huff and Domenech when it comes to invective or hate.

Posted by: mark on March 24, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

That depends on whether you're looking at the comments or at the posts. To pretend that Kevin, in particularly, comes even close to Ben's level of invective, is ludicrous.

Posted by: PaulB on March 24, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Zeno wrote: "When is the College of William & Mary revoking his bachelor's degree?"

He never received one, if I recall correctly. He dropped out without finishing.

Posted by: PaulB on March 24, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Murray, writing for the Cox News Service, wrote...

Holy moly! Ben ripped off Steve?! I know Steve. Been a few years since we last talked but he worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He's a mighty fine playwright, too. His plays have garnered great reviews s'here in Atlanta.

Small world...

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 24, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

No degree? Oh, goodie. Slackers are getting snatched up for high-class jobs when they can't even manage to finish their degrees. I'm surprised Domenech didn't lie about having a degree like that Deutsch character did over at NASA.

Right-wing drop-outs: the sewage-clotted wave of the present.

Posted by: Zeno on March 24, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

howard: really, what is going on in right-wing central today: are they issuing great moments in plagiarism because they want to defend this little squirt?

It's absolutely ridiculous and ethically skank-icious to minimize plagiarism. I thought that redstate.org was a piece of pile of elephant dung but Ben being one of the four "Directors" cements the opinion for me. Toilets in a crack house have more sparkle. Sheesh. Un-@#&%*!^-believable!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 24, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

i notice, apollo 13, that even michelle malkin is down on the poor lad, but our friend tom wasn't up on the latest i guess.

otherwise, gotta like "Toilets in a crack house have more sparkle!"

Posted by: howard on March 24, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

> And check it out, the real Don P.

Woah ... mighty impressive level of certitude there,
for an entirely gratuitous reference on another
thread. "Uncanny" might be an, umm, word for it.

What are you working with? Textual hermenuetics or ... telepathy?

> has returned as "Atheist" and is arguing
> with rmck1 down in the atheist thread.

Not for very long. I dropped him after about five posts when
his deal became apparent. Whoever the guy is, he doesn't seem
terribly trollish, though. Typical extremely nit-picky and
literal-minded atheist type, but not a big ad-hom jockey.

Now Joel, who is definitely *not* a troll (but who
is also a dogmatic atheist), was a lot snarkier.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 24, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

I just knew that P.J. O'Rourke would clear things up for us:

[Domenech] explained the passage that appeared to be copied from Mr. O'Rourke's book by saying that Mr. O'Rourke gave him permission. Contacted at his home in New Hampshire, Mr. O'Rourke said that he had never heard of Mr. Domenech and did not recall meeting him. "I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy," Mr. O'Rourke said of Mr. Domenech, "but I didn't give him permission to use my words under his byline, no."

Now, what was Al saying upthread about "refutations?"

ta,

Posted by: Rand Careaga on March 25, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Couldn't have happened to a more classless guy. His first post at redstate.org on the controversy was truly remarkable. It was everyone else's fault but his own and he sort of, maybe, kind of plagiarized some things, but not really, because P.J. O'Rourke gave him permission and those evil editors at his school newspaper must have slipped plagiarized text into his reviews without his knowledge, and he may have gotten his notes mixed up. His final sentence in that rambling bunch of tripe was remarkable for its venom, thereby confirming what his critics had been claiming all along.

It wasn't until 8 hours later that he finally wrote the post that he should have written in the first place, and only after it was discovered that he had lied in his first statement. Personally, I loved the sentence: "I am a conservative, but not a partisan." Talk about self-deception....

I also love some of the other folks at redstate.org, including one of the other founders, who wrote:

Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.
To those conservatives who couldn't wait to find wrongdoing where none existed: Gee, funny you didn't get all hyped up about this with Bob Bork. Or Sam Alito. I guess maybe your common sense detector -- or decency reserve -- only kicks in when it gets you something you want?
You're all dead to me, as well. Too bad: One lady in particular was a favorite writer of mine. Ah, well.

That same site founder, several hours later, wrote:

But therein lies their greatest weakness: destroying a conservative is not to destroy conservatism. And while they put all their energy and venom into this campaign, it is worth remembering that for all the noise they have yet to present a real alternative to an America that rests on the foundation of freedom, free markets and family. Against that, the only answer they have is yet another personal attack.

Yes, because liberals absolutely hate freedom, free markets, and families.... Spare me from ever achieving that level of blind partisanship and self-delusion. I'm truly amazed that they can look in the mirror and not see what they have become.

Posted by: PaulB on March 25, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

It turns out that Ben was just as classy, and just as dishonest, in the first interview he gave after the resignation:

While I appreciated the opportunity to go and join the Washington Post, Domenech said, if they didnt expect the leftists were going to come after me with their sharpened knives, then they were fools.
...
Although Domenech says there is an explanation for nearly all the examples cited by the left-wing bloggers, he felt he was left no choice by washingtonpost.com but to resign.
I felt like if I didnt resign, they would have pushed me outif not today, then Monday, he said.
...
Asked about the voluminous amount of documentation cited by left-wing bloggers and some conservatives decision to believe it, Domenech said: In a lot of this stuff, its based on who you believe. And if you believe the lefties are right or if you believe someone who you know and who youve worked with is right.

Well, Ben, I would say that you have certainly showed us whom we should not believe.

Posted by: PaulB on March 25, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, howard.

Shoulda said redstate.org was a piece of [the] pile of elephant dung... meaning another hiss in the Repub Noise Machine (see book by David Brock of Media Matters).

You know, Cox News Service sells content to other media to earn royalty revenue. Cox is cozy with WaPo as well as other media outlets who buy their content/news stories so they might not object too strenuously to the Steve Murray rip-off (although I bet Steve would). But I wonder if Cox knows? I wouldn't think folks there would appreciate the plagiarism. Who would? It's petty thievery for people who earn their livelihood with words.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 25, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the important thing to focus on is that he was a young man when he made these youthful mistakes during his youth, young man that he was when these youthful indiscretions occurred.

I know that had I plagiarized when I was 18-22 years old at Harvard, it would have been laughed off because heck, I was just a kid. Or that the real lesson would have been how mean the professor who caught me was.

Posted by: Hubris on March 25, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB, thanks for your 2:20 a.m. post. Mind-blowing.

Sometimes I wonder if it's really that much fun if the bad guys who get caught are incapable of understanding just how fully humiliated they've been.

Who am I kidding? Of course it's still fun!

Posted by: shortstop on March 25, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone noticed how the political and journalistic first instincts of the writers on this site have really been off kilter over the past few weeks and months?

What is it going to take for them to critically review their ideas behind political tactics and strategy???

Posted by: justmy2 on March 25, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Here is an awesome take down of the racists at RedFace.org

I don't see a qualitative difference between Drum.. and Domenech when it comes to invective or hate.Posted by: mark at 6:53 PM

Then you are either a fool or a liar.

Posted by: Mike on March 25, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps it is a reflection of his home-schooled education that he never learned what plagiarism is." Most home schoolers will never learn what plagiarism is, if they keep writing what only mommy and the good book says. I bet they don't mention Darwin in home schooling. So much for fair and balanced.

Posted by: zimmjim on March 25, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Ben knew what plagiarism was. He may have lied about whether he did it or not, but at least he wasn't stupid enough to pretend that he didn't know what he was doing. Another example has turned up, in which Ben plagiarized Jonah Goldberg in a column he wrote for his school paper.

What I found most amusing about the incident is just how much those at redstate.org enjoyed playing the victim card. They had trouble finding any prominent liberal bloggers who had written anything offensive, so they resorted to trolling the comments sections of unmoderated blogs, looking for anything they could find so they could talk about how "unhinged" and "vicious" liberals are. They even found an obvious satire post and used that as "evidence" of just how terrible the left half of the blogosphere is.

The other thing I found amusing was the defense that everyone who has spent any time writing posts and comments online would be found guilty of such an offense if their writings were subjected to this kind of scrutiny. ("How many of us could stand such scrutiny? Not me. How many, in college since the advent of the net, would be found guilty?") I really do hate to break it to them, but most of us know the difference between genuine plagiarism and an occasional similarity in phrase or idea. And very few of us have done the former.

I have no doubt that some of them are even now scouring the net looking for plagiarism examples from, say, Kos or Atrios or some of the other prominent liberal bloggers, or Froomkin or Milbank, two of the prominent targets of their venom at The Washington Post. I rather suspect that their search will be fruitless.

Posted by: PaulB on March 25, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

I really do hate to break it to them, but most of us know the difference between genuine plagiarism and an occasional similarity in phrase or idea. And very few of us have done the former.

No kidding, Paul. In these threads it's obvious that the commenters know how to identify quotes with italics or blockquote tags (although sometimes the tags get boinked, but usually there's a follow up ost). Come to think of it, I wouldn't put it past the RedState crew to look for an obvious example of dropped tags as "plagiarism."

Now, I've seen some few commentors here -- mostly trolls, though, IMO -- cut and paste blog posts/wingnut press articles without attribution. Uusually they're chided for it, not just for the stealing but for wasting everyone's time and bandwidth as well.

Posted by: Gregory on March 26, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

音乐,歌曲,music
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song
song

Posted by: hgfhgfhgf on March 26, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this was truly amazing, in RedState's commentary on those who nailed Domenech:

Unlike Ben, there is far less hope for their redemption. You see - before they settled on the attacks on his writing - they spent three days proving that they are the lowest of the low. Charges of racism were born of poor reading comprehension. Threats of violence. Obscene commentary about his mother, his sister, his father. Loathesome, vile, and disgusting - their contempt for civil behavior surpassed only by the emptiness of their own souls.

Who is "they"? Did any of the people who hunted down Dom's plagiarisms also insult his relatives? Nah. But whatever - they're all a buncha stinkin' libs, right? Sure, the Benster had his problems, who doesn't - but he was one of us, a reg'lar guy! And then you namby-pamby goody-goody libs come along, with your plagiarism this, plagiarism that, destroying the reputation of a good man...

Wait - this is from "Mystic River", right? Or is it "Bad Lieutenant"? "The Usual Suspects", maybe?

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 26, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

check out:
http://flathat.wm.edu/story.php?issue=2006-03-24&type=1&aid=1

Posted by: SRN on March 27, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Tom, this seems like a very politely worded, reasonable question:

"I can imagine, if I were a writer, that it would be a bigger deal to me. Honestly, I would like to understand what it is about plagiarism that makes it such a unforgiveable act. If it were from an unpublished work or if the plagiarism somehow generated income, fame, or opportunity that was not accorded to the original author I would understand it. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Domenech. Is plagiarism unforgiveable in all cases?"

Allow me to do you the courtesy of a polite, reasonable response. I write for a living. Most writing jobs don't pay a lot, yet it's a highly competitive job market. Your words are your sole product -- if you want a job (especially one that pays well), you need to be able to sell your style, your reporting, your voice. When you apply for a job, your work samples are the most important part of your resume.

So in that practical sense, plagarism in the writing world is like stealing someone else's painting or sculpture and selling it off as your own. You took all that work and effort someone else poured into writing, made yourself look good, and (in this case), got into a prestigious job through a career that relied at least partially on theft. With every job you take on your way up the ladder, you beat out honest people who are trying to get where you are by doing their own work.

On a moral level, if you're working for a newspaper, even as a commentator, you are not supposed to lie. If you're a columnist, you can quibble about interpretation of the facts, you can give them your own gloss, you can even spin. But you can't put your name on someone else's words and claim them as your own. It's such a blatant, undeniable lie that no ethical editor will want you near their paper or magazine. If you're willing to lie about something so fundamental as "this is my work," how can you be trusted on anything?

Is it forgivable? I would say no, not in this particular field. If you can find it in you to plagarize, you should find yourself a different job. Occasionally you'll find someone excusing a possible plagarism case with "bad memory" and an apology, but those are typically not as shamelessly obvious as this guy's examples. And even then, other writers view that excuse with a level of skepticism and disgust.

Hope that helps clear things up.

Posted by: Tracy on March 27, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Beyond the fact that anyone who serially plagiarizes has proven him/herself incapable of fresh thinking on a given subject and has resorted to passing off someone else's thoughts as his or her own... Isn't it a shame that it took flagrant plagiarism at several different publications to get the Post's attention? Forget about his cheap insults: He FABRICATED a question from Press the Meat about deficits to make his Leader look fearless. He was called on it, denied denied denied, then admitted that maybe the ARTICLE he saw was in error. Only the article never existed. IT WAS RIGHT THERE, FOLKS. For Jim Brady and everyone else (including Tom, above) to see.

Posted by: Jason Cravat on March 27, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly