Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times on Domenech Resignation

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:53 pm

The Los Angeles Times has a story about Ben Domenech’s plagiarism and resignation, but nothing about his latest post admitting the plagiarism and expressing contrition.

I hope whatever the paper runs tomorrow is current and contains a reference to his latest post. Then again, they might not. After all, Times editors don’t have Allah keeping them up to date.

UPDATE 3-25-06: Nothing on his apology.

It’s not as though his apology cured the problem. Not only had he been a serial plagiarizer, but he was initially dishonest about it. He still deserved to be fired from the Post.

But it’s part of the story that he is now contrite — even though it seems the apology was dragged out of him very reluctantly, when his back was against the wall. It’s only fair to report that the guy has issued a no-holds-barred apology. It doesn’t make matters right, but people should know about it.

The apology was available by 8:15 p.m. Pacific time last night, and was reported on this blog within an hour. Yet even the next day, the Times web site has nothing about it. One wonders if the paper will ever mention it.

UPDATE x2: Commenter JRM says it’s not surprising that the apology was not reported, given its late timing (late Friday evening — the time when virtually everything is ignored). Maybe, as a practical matter, the apology couldn’t have been reported this morning, given the dinosaur speed of newspapers. (That was part of my point: to contrast newspapers’ slow reaction time with the speed of the blogosphere.)

But the apology should be reported at some point to complete the record. It’s just not fair to leave readers with the false impression that Domenech never apologized. If it’s not reported today, it should be in the future.

Also, JRM says the apology was not “no-holds-barred” because Domenech told a big pack of lies yesterday, and didn’t sufficiently acknowledge and address that fact. JRM has a point. But, on the other hand, Domenech did indeed appear genuinely contrite in his apology, and refused to pad it with more rationalizations. That is a positive step, even if the apology wasn’t everything it should have been.

It should be clear that I am not making excuses for this guy. I was one of the very first conservatives to denounce his plagiarism and suggest that dismissal might be appropriate, posting something about it in the early morning hours of Friday. I spent a lot of time and energy last night taking apart his excuse on O’Rourke. I agree with JRM completely on this point:

From the conservative side, it’s vitally important to make no excuses, to participate in no RedState “Yeah, he made a mistake but all the liberals are way worse,” sort of rhetoric, and to admit Domenech is not an honorable person. (If he were now, he would not have lied about O’Rourke and his editors.)

Amen. (Except: I don’t want to talk about what kind of a person he is, but his initial actions yesterday were definitely not honorable.)

Domenech’s Explanation Doesn’t Wash

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

Having criticized Ben Domenech’s apparent plagiarism this morning, I think it’s only fair to link to his explanation, such as it is. In the post, he gives several defenses to the various charges.

I don’t find them convincing.

[UPDATE 9:03 p.m. Pacific: Via Allah in the comments, apparently Domenech himself doesn’t find it convincing either. He has a new explanation up in which he simply admits having reprinted material without attribution. And now, back to my original post, which took apart his initial quasi-denial . . .]

Domenech’s lifting of passages from a P.J. O’Rourke book is what initially got my attention, so I was especially interested in his explanation for that. Here it is:

I have been accused me of passing off P.J. O’Rourke’s writing as my own in a column for the paper. But the truth is that I had met P.J. at a Republican event and asked his permission to do a college-specific version of his classic piece on partying. He granted permission, the piece was cleared with my editors at the paper, and it ran as inspired by O’Rourke’s original.

Is that so? The link to the piece available on the Internet bears no indication that it was said to be inspired by P.J. O’Rourke. Indeed, all indications are to the contrary. The linked piece contains this editor’s note:

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 2000, may have copied from and failed to cite sources in several articles. The Flat Hat is currently investigating these allegations.

Why would the editors have included such a note if the original version had said it was inspired by O’Rourke?

This doesn’t sound innocent, Mr. Domenech. Your story doesn’t ring true.

Plus, the Domenech article was hardly “inspired” by O’Rourke’s work. It simply lifted it, with a few very minor word changes.

Here are just a few excerpts from Domenech’s article, paired with excerpts from O’Rourke’s book. I have put the differences in bold. There aren’t many.

Here is the beginning of the article on “real parties”:


And You Get to Ride Marilyn Monroe for $1.35

Filed under: Bear Flag League,Blogging Matters,Dog Trainer,Public Policy — Patterico @ 12:25 am

Kevin Murphy of the Interocitor blog has a letter to the editor in today’s L.A. Times with a clever idea:

A humble suggestion for naming the Metro lines: forget colors or letters or other mundane schemes. Follow London’s example of memorable names.

To visitors, this is Hollywood. Name the lines “Bogart,” “Monroe,” “Hepburn,” “Gable” and such. Public awareness will take care of itself; all language issues will vanish with proper signage; and the map color can be arbitrary.


Los Angeles

Good idea.

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