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Blogger Tries To Spin His Plagarism Problem, Then Acts Contrite

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I never thought I would be saying this but Michelle Malkin is right.

Well, right, at least, about The Washington Post blogger who resigned this week after an avalanche of bloggers wrote about him.

I wrote yesterday about what happened with blogger Ben Domenech, but there are two additional elements to the story that should also be shared.

One is that Domenech remained in denial until sometime later, when he became contrite. More on that in a minute.

The second of those is that Malkin, a conservative blogger who I have criticized repeatedly for being the kind of blogger who gives bloggers a bad name, split from her partisan allies and criticized Domenech.

Malkin, who has worked closely with Domenech in the past, wrote:

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.

Now, when someone like Malkin calls a conservative out like that, that’s bad news. A conservative has to be really stinking up his party to get the ire of someone like Malkin.

So Domenech resigned, and he’s going to give up the fight, right?

Nope. Instead, in an article printed last night at Human Events Online, he choose to attack his bosses — oh, my bad, his bosses of one week — at The Washington Post for not anticipating the attacks from leftist bloggers.

He seems to be in denial. For that piece, Domenech is still saying that the multiple instances of plagiarism, which have been reported on from publications ranging The Washington Post itself to the National Review Online, could all be explained away.

However, in a statement on his blog last night, and reported at Human Events Online today, he admitted he was guilty of plagiarism.

From a statement titled Contrition he wrote:

I want to apologize to National Review Online, my friends and colleagues here at RedState, and to any others that have been affected over the past few days. I also want to apologize to my previous editors and writers whose work I used inappropriately and without attribution. There is no excuse for this — nor is there an excuse for any obfuscation in my earlier statement.

I am glad that he has admitted his problem, but I can’t resist making one last observation. Does anyone else notice how similar his handling of this issue, as well as his confession, sound like the one given by black journalist, Jayson Blair, about his instances of plagiarism while at The New York Times?

When conservative white bloggers start to sound like Jayson Blair, when conservative bloggers turn on their own, it leaves me with just one final question: Is this April Fool’s Day or what?

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • Michelle Malkin is hardly alone among those on the right for condemning him. But most of them balance it out with equal parts of condemnation for the virtual witch hunt directed at him by the left who were so offended to see the post featuring the work of a conservative on their website.

    The real downside is that it means that the post is less likely to replace him with another conservative, and that will be a disservice to everyone, since they have a history of being relatively balanced and not as left as they are often accused of leaning.


  • According to Domenech’s ertwhile boss, they’re looking for a replacement. Just one that has “a more journalistic background”, is what he said I think.

    And that’s my problem with this issue. Why exactly do so many people think that if you blog, you’ve never heard of plagiarism? Probably because they’ve been listening to ppl like Domenech, whose defense was that he did most of it back when he was 17 and therefore is not accountable.

    Well, excuse me, but not all 17 yr olds are quite as stupid as Mr. Domenech seems to have been. I was 17 once and i understood what the word “plagiarism” meant and that it was not ok. and so did everybody else who worked with me on that school paper, not to mention anybody and everybody who ever wrote any kind of paper in college. or did he think when the prof said no plagiarizing he only meant schoolwork and that it was ok at the newspaper?

    Give me a break.

  • I’m at a complete loss as to your amazement that conservatives have denounced Domenech. You cite only Michelle Malkin but I’ve read far and wide across the conservative blogosphere and they’ve all denounced Ben D.

    You’re giving the readers some impression that it’s only an exceptional case that has conservatives denouncing Domenech. Not true. I’d quote them all but not enough space.

    Why on earth do you think conservatives would accept a known plagiarist as being an okay thing? What in conservative idealology causes you to think they think it’s okay to steal someone’s work?

    There’s Jason Blair and last week the NY Times got caught in some whoppers that typify sloppy journalism. There’s CBS and Dan Rather, that fake AP story…but I never once felt that liberals condoned such things.

    Ben D. screwed up and he needs to stop blaming it on being a teenager. I read a review he obviously copied and he was no teenager when he did it.

    I ask you this, in all of the blogosphere, they got to find such a contemptable liar? I read plenty of good bloggers for God’s sake. Plenty of good conservative bloggers. Ben D. just totally messed up his own cause.


  • Maybe they should look for a blogger who’s older than 25 if they want someone they can count on? A track record might help more than a journalistic background. As I understand it Domenech had about as much journalistic experience as you’d expect from someone that young – college paper and all that. Though he apparently plagiarized some of his print work too.

    Someone tell them I’m available. I’ve been writing for magazines for 30 years and haven’t plagiarized a word in thousands of articles. Not plagiarizing isn’t exactly rocket science.


  • Scott Butki

    Pat: The articles I was reading via Poynter and other sources were suggesting that it was liberal blogs that were attacking him and pointing out the plagarism.

    I saw Malkin mentioned and found that interesting.

    I saw a quote from Instapundit suggesting the problem only came to light because the blogger in question was conservative.
    The way I was reading it was that some conservative blogs were suggesting the problem was not plagarism but the liberal blogs attacks.

    Dave: I agree. They should pick someone with more experience. I also agree the Post is not as left as some would have them believe.
    If they pick the right conservative blogger – one who understands not only not to plagarize but, if caught, to own up to it and not blame it on youth

    Incidentally I’ve helped explain – while student teaching – what plagarism is. That was to fourth graders! Suggesting he didn’t know better – I don’t buy him on that line of b.s.

    I’ll take a look at other blogs and report back.
    I’m not saying conservative bloggers condone plagarism – i’m saying i wasn’t aware of others beyond Malkin calling for him to quit.

  • Dave Nalle

    Scott, you should check out some of the discussion on Redstate.org. There are supporters and deriders there – a good mix. And some are quite articulate.

    And yes, many are saying that the plagiarism accusations are blown out of proportion and that it was basically a left-wing witchunt. I suspect this is at least partly true, but they wouldn’t have been able to do it if there wasn’t some plagiarism there to work with.


  • Scott Butki

    I will check it out.
    I read some summaries via Instapundit and see you and Pat were right – I understated the number of conservative bloggers having issues with his history.

  • Dave Nalle

    I have to say that one of the things that surprised me is the koolaiders who have decided that Michelle Malkin is the great traitor to the cause for exposing this situation. One moron on Redstate has a piece called “Michelle Malkin is Dead to Me” or something equally stupid. As if rejecting plagiarism is somehow contrary to conservative values.


  • Nigel

    “You’re giving the readers some impression that it’s only an exceptional case that has conservatives denouncing Domenech. Not true. I’d quote them all but not enough space.”

    Yeah right, not enough space. Thankyou Mrs. Fermat…

  • Many of Domenech’s opponents are also plagiarists–of Domenech himself.

  • Dave Nalle

    Say what?


  • Scott Butki

    Yeah, you need to elaboarate on that one, Jon.