After the liberal blogosphere unearthed a giant throbbing vein of blatant plagiarism by the Washington Post's prized new right-wing blogger, Ben Domenech, the Post wasted little time getting rid of him. Given his snippy defensiveness following Domenech's hiring, I had expected Post Executive Editor Jim Brady to resist the inevitable, or at least depict Domenech as the hapless victim of a ruthless left-wing vendetta.
But to his credit, Brady basically said, "He's gone right now; plagiarism is an unforgivable sin for a journalist; and we are grateful to everyone who brought this to our attention."
This was probably the minimum required to maintain any semblance of dignity, but still not exactly Snoopy Dance-inspiring:
1) Ricoh Suave was forced/allowed to resign, rather than summarily fired. A technicality, I know.
2) Brady says they were not aware of the plagiarism when they hired him, and that they are now investigating it. Umm... Shouldn't they have done some kind of checking before they hired him?
2a) There is no apology or mia culpa, either personal or institutional, for what was clearly an incredibly bad hiring decision (see #2).
3) Brady's last sentence, "We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area," reads to me as, "We are still committed to hiring a blogger to represent the right-wing lunatic point of view, and will do so just as soon as we can find one capable of composing an original thought."
So, good but not great. But at least they didn't go all in like Ricoh's buddies at RedState. Here's Erick, via Atrios:
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.This is just complete baldfaced lying and obfuscation, as Erick desperately tries to brazen his way out of the facts. Just go to Eschaton and look at Atrios's posts from yesterday - the plagiarism is incredibly blatant and obvious, and impossible to excuse or explain away. It also extended to Domenech's career at the National Review, so it can't just be blamed on the William & Mary student paper. The comparison to "Rathergate" is just asinine - there is absolutely no question of provenance or authenticity here.
Okay, so maybe the argument that there was no plagiarism isn't a winner. Not to worry - trevino comes to Erick's rescue in the comments of the same post:
Assume, for a moment, that the plagiarism charge is true. For the sake of argument, assume that.To plagiarize myself in the Eschaton comments (somewhere), trevino's first point sounds an awful lot like, " 'He killed people and ate them' is the sole critique of Jeffrey Dahmer by the prosecutor with any objective merit." I mean, isn't the plagiarism enough?
Now, having accepted this, what are we left with?
-- Old, dating wholly from Domenech's teen years.
- It is the sole critique of Domenech by the left with any objective merit.
- It does not have much merit, as the profferred examples are:
-- Confined wholly to movie reviews.
Others have already covered the second point quite well, so I'll just observe that "old" and "dating wholly from [his] teen years" don't reinforce each other so well when you're talking about a 24-year-old.
One final, highly subjective point:
The guy just looks like a smug, arrogant prick; the Platonic ideal of a spoiled rich fratboy who expects the world to be handed to him on a silver platter. The sad thing is, it probably still will be.