I just got home from Pittsburgh and am late heading out the door for the Abdul Rahman event in D.C., but I can’t let this blog sit silent about the plagiarism debacle now engulfing young conservative Ben Domenech, the Washington Post’s “Red America” blogger.
I cheered for Ben, the editor of my last book at Regnery, when he announced his new position. I criticized unhinged bloggers on the Left who leveled vicious ad hominem attacks against him. It’s clear, as the good folks at Red State (which Ben co-founded) note, that his detractors were on a search-and-destroy mission from the get-go.
But now the determined moonbat hordes have exposed multiple instances of what clearly appear to me to be blatant lifting of entire, unique passages by Ben from other writers. It is one thing to paraphrase basic facts from a wire story. But to filch the original thoughts and distinctly crafted phrases of a writer without crediting him/her–and doing so repeatedly–is unacceptable in our business. Some of the cases occurred while Ben was in college; he is blaming an editor for these transgressions. But at least one other incident involved a piece he wrote for NRO after he graduated. The side-by-side comparisons of these extensive passages is damning.
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.
As someone who has worked in daily journalism for 14 years, I have a lot of experience related to this horrible situation: I’ve had my work plagiarized by shameless word and idea thieves many times over the years. I’ve also been baselessly accused of plagiarism by some of the same leftists now attacking Ben.
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.
Stephen Spruiell says the Post should salvage the “Red America” blog.
Fishbowl DC is looking for Red America candidates.
NRO posts at The Corner:
As the previous links on the matter mention, at least one of the pieces Ben Domenech is accused of having plagiarized was a movie review for National Review Online. A side-by-side comparison to another review of the same film speaks for itself. There is no excuse for plagiarism and we apologize to our readers and to Steve Murray of the Cox News Service from whose piece the language was lifted. With some evidence of possible problems with other pieces, we’re also looking into other articles he wrote for NRO.
Ed Morrissey wishes the best for Jim Brady.