Saturday, March 25, 2006

Plagiarizing Ben Domenech

Now that Ben Domenech has been forced to resign from The Washington Post Online amidst charges of plagiarism, a number of conservatives from Michelle Malkin to the National Review's Stephen Spruiell have decided to cut and run and join the liberals attacking him. Even Domenech himself has abandoned his earlier defense of his actions and apologized.

Of course, I am opposed to plagiarism. And I think if he is guilty of these charges, he should be required to pay a large sum of money to hush it up and make it go away. But I think instead of focusing so much on Domenech, we should be focusing on his accusers. Because it turns out that many of Domenech's opponents are also plagiarists--of Domenech himself. While they may not have actually plagiarized him word for word, they have stolen many of his ideas and tactics without giving him credit, which is almost the same thing.

The firestorm that erupted on the liberal blogosphere when Domenech was hired is eerily similar to the attacks on liberal Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin. In fact, just a few weeks before he was hired, Domenech called Froomkin "leader of the hack" and accused him of writing his column by "cutting and pasting." How many of the liberals who called Domenech a "hack" and accused him of "cutting and pasting" acknowledged that they had "borrowed" this line of attack from Domenech himself?

Indeed, the whole idea of accusing Domenech of plagiarism is not an original one but appears to have been lifted from some of Domenech's earlier columns. On his blog Domenech often assailed writers for plagiarism, including Michael Bellesiles, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Jayson Blair. When it comes to attacking writers for plagiarism, Domenech was there first.

Many of Domenech's attackers also seem to have stolen the style and tone of his writing when going after him. Domenech, who often wrote under the pseudonym "Augustine" at the site he co-founded RedState, specialized in delightfully skewering opponents with ad hominem attacks, calling Coretta Scott King a "Communist" and lampooning some judges as "worse then the KKK." But did even one of the liberals who called Domenech a "fascist" or a "racist" acknowledge their debt to him?

Virtually the entire campaign against Domenech was stolen right from the besieged young blogger's own playbook. Nitpickers might say this does not meet the technical definition of plagiarism, but does it seem fair?

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benmerc said...

Another right-wing punk bites the dust...whats new?

Maybe he can get a job proofing for Limpbaugh...that should be a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

Or editing for Regnery.

Matt Ortega said...

You can't be serious.

The only stuff I "steal" from Ben is when I insert things like "I saw (blank) at a party and (blank) said I could use it" or other mind-boggling "reasonable explanations" Ben tried to pass off to save his rear.

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