Say Goodbye, Ben

I’d dismissed the Ben Domenech (the RedState blogger just hired by the Washington Post) issue as a combination of blogger inside baseball and the usual spittle-flecked rant against the right by Duncan Black.

But looking deeper into it, it sure looks like the guy is a) careless with words – a bad characteristic for a professional writer (if he thinks Coretta King was a Communist, and said so carelessly, that’s worse to me than if he’d meant it. If he’d meant it, we could judge him and in this case most likely dismiss him as a moron. If he’s that careless with words, he say anything and we’d wonder what we should take seriously…); and b) a serial plagiarizer.

Now I don’t think that b) is particularly an issue for blogs (if it matters enough to be read, the blogger involved will almost certainly get busted) or for the right (unlike Matt Stoller who says: This Ben Domenech debacle is more than a sad story of a young conservative with integrity problems. The toxic brew of racism and dishonesty is really part of their DNA, and it has practical real world consequences.), but I do think it’s a significant issue for journalism, and since a job at the Post is a job in journalism – I think he ought to step out or be shown the door.

12 thoughts on “Say Goodbye, Ben”

  1. First of all, he looks pretty guilty. But the big smoking gun was not related to blogging, it was an article he wrote five years ago for NRO – a review of “Final Fantasy”.

    Plagiarism is theft, and it’s a particularly pathetic kind of theft. But committing plagiarism in order to review a cartoon movie based on a video game is doubly pathetic.

    So I would nail these theses to Domenec’s forehead, thus:

    1. I don’t understand why anyone would play a video game like “Final Fantasy” when they could play mindless games with the real world, like I do.

    2. I don’t understand why anyone would go to see a movie based on a video game. Don’t tell me it’s because they’re good – I saw “Doom” and I know better.

    3. Worst of all – worse beyond imagination, really – are soundtrack albums from movies that are based on video games.

    4. All of which makes for a culture of impoverished imagination, false empowerment, and the triumph of computer-choreographed form over substance; a culture suitable for plagiarists, shop-lifters, and people who say “pro-active” with a straight face.

    5. To get back to the subject, plagiarism is bad. Down with Doris Kearns Goodwin.

    6. The appropriate punishment for plagiarism is exposure, ridicule, and exile. A job at the Washington Post is almost fitting for that, but for Domenec to suffer true punishment he ought to be made to go to work as a New York Times reporter.

    7. The Kos-hole who crawled through everything Domenec wrote (including reviews of films based on video games) in order to discover this plagiarism should be rewarded with Mary Mapes’ old job, or maybe even made the next chairman of the DNC.

  2. I think the bigger question should be, what kind of vetting did WAPO do before they hired the guy? Given the nature of blogs in general, it would probably be prudent to do some basic checking on his writing. If it was so easy for the Team Lefty blogs to rip this guy apart (about a day really) then why couldn’t WAPO have done even basic due diligence on him?

    :tinfoil hat:
    Unless of course exposing him was their goal?

  3. I was thinking the same as Gabriel, I must confess. But I don’t think the MSM is that machiavellian, to deliberately hire someone who will be discredited. After all, they are not that smart, and it makes them look bad too.

    Before Domenech’s inexcusable behavior was exposed, the left intensely attacked him (going ballistic over the fact that he was homeschooled, for example). They intensely attacked the Wapo for even thinking to hire a conservative in the first place. Now that he has (rightly) been discredited, they look vindicated instead of unhinged, which is a shame.

  4. “Captain’s Quarters”: has a pretty good write-up. Jim Brady seems to be on the up and up by starting an investigation and Domenech realized he’d be uncovered (I guess) so he resigned (good move).
    Not sure if a thorough vetting would have picked up this from five years ago, tho. But Brady at least kept a little credibility for WAPO, something in dire need of by all of Antique Media.
    Sure raised a ruckus.

  5. Team Lefty crowing on about their “triumph” in taking down Ben will prove to be yet another hollow victory.

    Their insistance that his plagarism should trump all of his work will be the icing on the cake in my view, when the Right can turn around and use that very same standard to discredit everything uttered by Joe Biden or Lawrence Tribe.

  6. Wait, the NRO article was written when he was only 19? Poor kid. Didn’t know how what he did would plague him for the rest of his life.

    The age between 18 and 25 is a vulnerable one, where young people are prone to do something stupid that haunts them forever. Old enough to do adult things and live away from their parents, but young enough to not be wise to the ways of the world..

  7. I’ve liked Michelle Malkin ever since she drew a hard line against Dick Cheney dropping an f-bomb in the Senate, not quibbling over circumstances or degrees but just saying this is wrong, the same as she would have if a leftie had done it. Little things like this show character and fairness, or the lack of same.

    Again on Ben Domenech she took the right and really the only view: no you can’t do that, and no excuses are wanted. Goodbye. (link)

    Over and over again we get tested, usually in seemingly or actually petty ways: do you have standards you believe in, or just a side?

  8. David Blue,

    Yes. ANd this is what separates the right from the left (except AL, of course).

    DailyKos would never condemn a leftist blogger who had done the same, because they don’t have principles, only an ideology.

    Hell… they don’t even condemn the mass murders by Saddam, just Bush and the US Military for accidentally killing thousands while freeing millions.

    We are used to that by now, but when you think about it, the hypocritical fanaticism of the DailyKos/MoveOn left really is quite shocking…

  9. The person who really should resign after this embarrassment, his second major one as the Post’s Web Editor, is Jim Brady.

    What an idiot, hiring a serial plagiarizer whose antics were exposed in a matter of hours by the liberal blogos.

    Maybe he was the best they could find. There’s no doubt that there is a serious shortage of intellectual heft (and honesty) on the Right side of the blogosphere.

  10. Wizener, you’re a tool. Demonizing those who disagree with you – as Stoller does – ought to be embarassing, and certainly does little to convince me or anyone else that you’re fit for power. And no, the existence of right-wing tools does not make you less of a tool.


  11. LMAO.

    If I’m a “tool”, what does that make you? A nail? Maybe a “screw” (as in -job).

    Demonizing those who disagree with you – as Stoller does – ought to be embarassing, and certainly does little to convince me or anyone else that you’re fit for power.

    Who’s not “fit for power”? Matt Stoller? Me? What the frig are you going on about?

    Or perhaps you’re saying he/we represent “THE DEMOCRATS”, so that means “THE DEMOCRATS” must not be “fit for power”?

    And does “demonizing those who disagree with you” only count as a negative trait if you’re a DEMOCRAT? Because that is the Republican Modus Operandi, bubble-boy.

    Forget about “fit for power”, I’m questioning whether you’re fit for rational discourse.


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