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Ben Domenech

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Ben Domenech resigned March 24, 2006, from the Washington Post following allegations that he had "plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write" the new daily blog Red America, that just launched on March 22, 2006. "An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately," the WaPo said.

Domenech is "a board member and one of three founders" [1] of conservative RedState.com, Editor & Publisher reported March 21, 2006. "After a stint as chief speechwriter for Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx.), he co-founded [RedState.com] and became a book editor at Regnery Publishing, where he worked with Michelle Malkin and others."

Domenech is "also known as a Bush appointee, and the son of a Bush appointee, and as a contributor to National Review Online," Joe Conason reported in Slate March 24, 2006.

  • Domenech was "an intern and researcher for the Bush White House, served as a speechwriter for Tommy Thompson, then the health and human services secretary, and then spent two years working for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.)." [2]
  • In July 2001, Doug Domenech, former Loudon County (Virginia) Republican Committee Chairman, was appointed by President George W. Bush to "the position of deputy director of the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior." In January 2002, Domenech was appointed "as the White House Liaison for the Department of the Interior." [3][4]

The "decision by Post management has provoked much speculation about its motive for employing Domenech. Many observers surmise that Domenech was brought on to 'balance' Dan Froomkin, the popular White House Briefing blogger on WashingtonPost.com whose skepticism and wit have provoked whining from the right -- and defensive reactions from certain Post reporters worried by accusations of 'liberal bias' at the paper," Conason wrote.

"Froomkin has spent a decade at the Post, and also worked for the Winston-Salem Journal, the Miami Herald and the Orange County Register. Froomkin is also deputy editor of niemanwatchdog.org, the web site of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University," E&P wrote.

"Whatever Froomkin's political views may be, he is a veteran reporter with a long résumé of newspaper jobs, including a decade at the Post. Domenech is a partisan operative with no newsroom experience of any kind, no training in journalistic standards and ethics, and nothing to guide him except home schooling and Republican reflexes," Conason wrote.

Plagiarism

"Almost immediately the liberal blogosphere exploded with outrage over Domenech's hiring by the Post. But by Thursday bloggers had more than ideological reasons to oppose the Post's move, as he plagiarized film critic Stephanie Zacharek, and Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing about television," Joe Conason reported in Slate March 24, 2006.

"As a college student Ben Domenech lifted arts criticism; as a GOP henchman, he was accused of fabricating a Tim Russert quote," Conason wrote.

On March 23, 2006, "the liberal Web sites Daily Kos and Atrios posted examples [see external links below] of what appeared to be instances of plagiarism from Domenech's writing at the William & Mary [College] student paper [The Flat Hat]. Three sentences of a 1999 Domenech review of a Martin Scorsese film were identical to a review in Salon magazine, and several sentences in Domenech's piece on a James Bond movie closely resembled one in the Internet Movie Database," Howard Kurtz reported. "Domenech said he needed to research the examples but that he never used material without attribution and had complained about a college editor improperly adding language to some of his articles."

Commentary by Ben Domenech

"Under his regular pseudonym, 'Augustine' [at RedState.com], he questioned President Bush's decision" to attend Coretta Scott King's "funeral because she is a 'communist,'" Howard Kurtz wrote in the March 24, 2006, Washington Post.

"'I regret using the term because I think it's been way overblown,' Domenech said. But he said King worked with organizations affiliated with communists in the 1950s and 1960s." [5][6]

Jim Brady, executive editor of Washingtonpost.com "called it 'a silly comment' but said he is satisfied with Domenech's admission of error," Kurtz wrote.

"As 'Augustine', Domenech has engaged in numerous personal attacks, some of which were compiled by the blog Dragonfire. Domenech has called cartoonist Ted Rall a 'steaming bag of pus'; said Teresa Heinz Kerry looks like an 'oddly shaped egotistical ketchup-colored muppet'; called Pat Robertson a 'senile, crazy old fool'; and described Post.com's 'White House Briefing' columnist Dan Froomkin as 'an embarrassment'," Kurtz wrote.

Contact Information

Website: http://www.bendomenech.com/blog/

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

Profiles

Articles & Commentary

1999

  • "Party guidelines for real bashes," The Flat Hat, November 19, 1999. Editor's Note: "It has been brought to the attention of The Flat Hat that Ben Domenech, a writer for The Flat Hat from 1999 to 2001, copied from and failed to cite sources in several articles. The Flat Hat is currently investigating these allegations."

2002

2005

2006