Patterico's Pontifications

3/25/2006

Domenech Has a Way with Other People’s Words

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Scum — Patterico @ 8:48 pm



This is hilarious — in a sad way. Rick Moran of RightWing NutHouse — a blog I don’t read enough but plan to start reading a lot more — had a post about Ben Domenech. Rick was making a perfectly logical point: Domenech may have been a serial plagiarizer, but he does seem to have a way with words. As an example, Moran quoted this passage from a Domenech piece:

I walked out of the bright Friday sun and into the Capitol Bldg.’s Document Entrance two hours before the gunman arrived. The back of my collar scratched sweat against my skin, and I loosened my tie in a vain effort to find relief from the sultry July heat. I remember nodding hello to the tall black policeman who was standing at the metal detector in front of the Document Entrance door. I don’t remember if he smiled back. From what friends tell me now, he usually did.

At 3:40 that July afternoon, Russell Weston Jr. stepped into the air conditioning of the Capitol Bldg. through that same door. He took five short steps across the tiles to where the officer on duty, 58-year-old J.J. Chestnut, was writing down directions for a group of tourists who had just finished the official tour. Weston raised his gun with speed and silence and put a .38-caliber bullet through the back of Chestnut’s head.

Moran then says: “I don’t care whether you’re right wing, left wing, or a chicken wing, if you can’t recognize that the boy plays music with words there’s something wrong with you.”

Then — and here’s the funny and pathetic part — it turns out that Domenech plagiarized that passage too! Moran explains in an update:

My jaw is on the floor and I am royally pissed off.

After Anne informed me in the comments that the piece I linked to from the New York Press above was actually cribbed from an article from the Washington Post I initiated a search of lefty blogs and sure enough, Domenech had copied almost word for word a piece that appeared in the Post on July 26, 1998 on page one!

It appears that my praise for Mr. Domenech was given for a piece in which he had lifted large segments of someone else’s beautiful work and claimed it as his own.

I apologize to my readers for 1) implying that Ben Domenech has any proven talent, and 2) misleading them about the author of the piece I linked above.

I want to make it clear that I am not laughing at Moran. My point is, quite simply, this: Good Lord. Has this Domenech guy ever written anything original?

He’s a freaking embarrassment to conservatives. From this point forward, my posts about him are filed under “Scum.”

14 Responses to “Domenech Has a Way with Other People’s Words”

  1. Yeah, that’s lame.

    But not as lame as, say, invading a colleague’s e-mail account.

    See-Dubya (921613)

  2. All I can say is that after reading Ben’s resignation and apology letter, I am pretty sure he lifted it directly from Richard Nixon’s letter of resignation!!

    Stacy (e5478a)

  3. Ben Domenech

    Wow, lookee here, there’s a blogging job on offer to some lucky conservative type at The Washington Post. To provide balance to the paper’s more normally liberal output, or perhaps, as some have suggested, to allow the WaPo’s more normally

    Tim Worstall (72c8fd)

  4. Many of the attacks on Domenech have been a kind of plagiarism as well.

    Jon Swift (061c61)

  5. Well.

    He certainly appears to read a lot of good stuff anyway.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  6. Oliver Willis was so gleeful about this that he had seven separate posts on his website, including one which in which he claimed that most conservatives are intellectual frauds:

    Look. While Domenech’s violations were blatant, it is status quo for the conservative movement. Quite frankly, intellectual dishonesty is what these people do for a living . . . .

    The left is just overjoyed with this situation, but, using the site search functions on Mr Willis’ site, I got zero returns for “Jayson Blair,” “Dan Rather,” “Mary Mapes,” “Rathergate” or “forged documents.” It seems that their indignation is reserved for conservative mistakes.

    Dana (71415b)

  7. Richard Nixon’s resignation letter was so short that it looks like it may have been cribbed from a book on “how to write a resignation letter”.

    Let me try to recreate it from memory:

    “I hereby resign as President of the United States.”

    I honestly don’t remember more than that being on the page (other than a signature and the normal business letter stuff).

    Jaybird (5843b3)

  8. I was just kidding…:)

    Stacy (e5478a)

  9. I figured…. but Nixon’s resignation letter was my wallpaper for a period of six months. It’s fresh in my memory.

    Jaybird (5843b3)

  10. I am more and more convinced that there is no way that someone at the WaPo wasn’t aware of Ben’s plagerism before he was hired. So why would they hire a known plagerist? To set up the right, to make it look bad.

    ubersalesgirl (8d60b3)

  11. uber s-g, notwithstanding conventional wisdom among those on the right who have, with a broad brush, written off MSM outlets such as the WaPo, that paper’s editorial page isn’t what most people would describe as left-leaning (it actually tends toward center-right — not quite as conservative as WSJ opinion page, but with a similar traditional Liberal (what some call neo-con) slant — they continue to support the US effort in Iraq, for example), and the paper’s blogs are in the opinion section. I don’t know if that means the opinion editors are responsible for hiring the bloggers, but you should consider that before you jump to the conclusion that this was a set-up. They were probably blindsided. Not too hard to understand — if Domench had had more recently been a reporter primarily, rather than a blogger, his plagiarism would probably have been known and it would have disqualified him early in the hiring process.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  12. #10 & 11. I too am still not entirely convinced that it was not the work of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy or one of its splinter groups, namely, the Society To Elevate America’s Karma exposed not too long ago by Calvin Trillin (or possibly P.J. O’Rourke) in The New Yorker.

    nk (8214ee)

  13. I want to make it clear that I am not laughing at Moran. My point is, quite simply, this: Good Lord. Has this Domenech guy ever written anything original?

    But imagine the talent it took to do the research, copy others’ work and pass it off credibly as his own.

    Do we not also learn from bad examples?

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)


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