Friday, March 24, 2006

Domenech Resigns. Where do we send the bill?

"Box Turtle" Ben Domenech, after a long two day stretch at the's new blog Red America, has resigned to spend more time with his family. Well, maybe that wasn't what he intended to do but that is what's going to happen. This, from Jim Brady,, executive editor:

Ben Domenech Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady Executive Editor,
My gawd, Jim, what were you thinking?

It took two days for... well... the entire left-wing blogosphere to explode over the idea of a blog dedicated to a single extremist view, written by... well... an extremist. Even some of the right-wing scream-merchants saw through this one and had to begrudgingly admit that Brady's selection of Ben Domenech was beyond the bounds of journalistic integrity. Despite the fact that Malkin turns the incident into something about her and although she spits and farts like a chicken being drowned in vegetable oil, she had to lower her wand long enough to say this:

I certainly understand the impulse on the Right to rally around Domenech. But I can't ignore the plain evidence. And the charges can't be dismissed as "lies" or jealousy attributed to Ben's age.


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.
(That's right, Honey, and none of the base insults in the remainder of your post do anything to mitigate the episode in the slightest.)

It speaks poorly for the Washington Post that blogs from Fort St. John, British Columbia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida were, within hours of the WaPo's announcement of Domenech's ascendancy to the "big daily", completely able to expose him of holding extreme views, being possessed of arrogance and of having engaged in plagiarism. Even attempts by his right-wing supporters to dismiss charges of plagiarism hit the spike within hours of their publication, as demonstrated by Scott's dismantling of two such efforts here and here.

Where the Washington Post apparently engaged Domenech with blind faith and without the due diligence of a background check, the blogosphere turned into a massive link-farm of evidence exposing Domenech's intolerant views and journalistic theft.

Malkin's concern that Domenech will be further harassed demonstrates that she is reasoning at the same level as a garden slug hot on the trail of a lettuce leaf.

The target wasn't Domenech. It was the Washington Post and Jim Brady. It was the ludicrous idea that the readers would accept the journal, in all its forms, could portray itself as unbiased when its executive editors intentionally created an organ dedicated to a single constituency, without making provisions for all others. Domenech was nothing more than collateral damage.

Brady's announcement contains at least one elevated finger. It is defiant and his last line speaks volumes. Short Brady: Screw you. I'll just go out and hire another one.

Indeed, he probably will. And he can expect that the blogosphere will conduct a thorough vetting of whatever shill he tosses on the chair.

Given that so many of us are doing the employee reference checks on behalf of the HR department and executive editors of the Washington Post, I think it only proper that they tell us where to send the bill for service.

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