[UPDATE: Domenech has resigned. As I explain below, especially in the updates, I think this is for the best.]
I have learned that Washington Post blogger Ben Domenech has some ‘splainin to do.
And when I say “similarities,” I mean Domenech appears to have directly lifted entire pages from the O’Rourke book.
And just to show it was deliberate, Domenech did a bit of adaptation. As this fellow notes:
How do we know this wasn’t some misunderstanding? Because BenDom adapted his column to include particular William & Mary references such as the fraternity Psu-U, former President of the College Tim Sullivan, and Sam Sadler, vice president for student affairs.
Now, the plagiarism in question appears to be seven years old, which raises the question: should it matter now?
This reminds me of a story I don’t think I ever told here before. In law school, Mrs. P. was writing a note for her criminal law journal about the topic of medicating convicted murderers to render them competent for their execution. She used many different sources, including a student law review note and a book on the subject.
She discovered at some point that the law review note had lifted several pages from the book. I remember sitting there with Mrs. P. (who was not yet Mrs. P.), me with the book in hand, and her with the law review note. We read out loud, in unison, for pages — both of us shaking our heads.
It was no mistake. The note didn’t even cite the book.
We wondered what to do about it, if anything. If I recall correctly, the culprit was a female at a California law school. She is probably still practicing law today. We thought about writing her an anonymous note: We know what you did.
In the end, we did nothing.
Does that person’s law school plagiarism mean that she is a bad person? a bad lawyer? I don’t know.
Does Domenech’s apparent plagiarism from 7 years ago disqualify him from blogging for The Post?
I don’t know. But it makes him an embarrassment. That much I do know.
UPDATE: Atrios has more examples.
P.S. We gotta talk about this, guys. We all talked up the fact that this guy was getting a blog on the WaPo. This is a genuine issue, and it should be discussed on conservative blogs.
P.P.S. RedState is defending Domenech and suggesting that he had permission to lift the various writings:
And now those opposed to Ben have googled prior writings that on the surface appear suspicious, but only because permissions obtained and judgments made offline were not reflected online by an out dated and out of business campus newspaper.
Color me suspicious.
UPDATE x2: More evidence at Kos.
UPDATE x3: Some of the alleged plagiarism is from 2001, and was published in National Review Online.
Given that this guy appears to be a serial plagiarizer, there is a very good argument that he can’t be trusted and should be canned. I certainly have no desire to see him held up as a representative of the conservative viewpoint.
UPDATE x4: Michelle Malkin has come to the same conclusion, which will no doubt surprise her critics, but doesn’t surprise me at all.