pageok
pageok
pageok
Domenech Resigns:
Ben Domenech, a founder of Red State who started a strident conservative blog at WashingtonPost.com on Tuesday, resigned today amidst plagiarism allegations. Meanwhile, over at Red State, Domenech (posting as "Augustine") challenges several of the allegations and claims that he has been the victim of "the liberal attack machine."

  Notably, however, Domenech does not directly state that all of the allegations are baseless. After discussing a few examples, he writes:
  But all these specifics are beside the point. Considering that all of this happened almost eight years ago, and that there are no files or notes that I've kept from that brief stint, it is simply my word against the liberal blogosphere on these examples. It becomes a matter of who you believe.
  The truth is, a more responsible teenager would've nipped this sort of thing in the bud. A less sloppy writer would have made sure that material copied from other places never made it into a published piece, and never necessitated apologies or explanations that will do nothing to stop the critics. I was wrong not to do so.
  I confess I'm not exactly sure what that means. Anyone?
Cornellian (mail):
Read the article at Salon.com exposing him and decide for yourself. The article certainly leaves one with the impression that he's a spoiled, arrogant kid who hasn't learned a fully developed sense of responsibility. I haven't heard his side of the story but the dodgy, Clintonesque quote from the post doesn't give me a lot of confidence that he's the victim he claims to be.
3.24.2006 4:36pm
Jacob (mail):
In the light most favorable to him I've read that to mean basically:


1. Some of their accusations are definitely wrong.
2. Unfortunately, I have not retained the materials to defend myself against the balance of their accusations.
3. The particulars of the situation do not favor the accused.
4. Not retaining the materials for a proper defense was a significant mistake on my part.
5. Again, the particulars of the situation are as such that any defense I do manage to furnish now will not salvage my reputation.
3.24.2006 4:38pm
Apodaca:
Three words come to mind: "consciousness of guilt."

In fairness, prior plagiarism standing alone shouldn't require someone in Domenech's (former) position to resign. Like St. Augustine (heh!), I believe that a thief may be redeemed.

No, IMHO the problem with hiring Domenech is the lunatic notion that he had the journalistic skills, background, or judgment one would expect of a writer for washingtonpost.com. The past plagiarism is merely a symptom of the greater disease, that being his lack of professional qualifications and his abundant qualifications as a party hack. Hiring him was a foolish stunt aimed at getting attention, an objective the Post seems to have achieved rather too well for all involved.
3.24.2006 4:39pm
Glenn Bridgman (mail):

The Corner has repudiated the work he did for NRO

I highly recommend reading the posts at redstate. True lunacy.
3.24.2006 4:49pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I confess I'm not exactly sure what that means. Anyone?

It means he has no integrity to speak of?

My deadpan comment praising him for exercising the personal responsibility for which conservatives are famous, was quickly waxed from the RS site.

The Corner was calling on him to "take it like a man" or somesuch. No dice, it seems.
3.24.2006 4:49pm
MikeWDC (mail):
I think I know what it means, from my experience of having dealt with plagiarism as editor of my college newspaper. (Where, incidentally, staff members received academic credit, and so after being kicked off staff plagiarists we caught were referred to the provost, who was known to suspend people for at least a semester for "hard plagiarism," i.e. direct lifting.)

And yet it happened repeatedly. Plagiarism didn't happen in a vacuum of the perpetrator's personality; it was inevitably accompanied by lies, fabrications (in print and out of it) personal delusions and denial. While it's possible to accidently cut and paste or confuse notes, no one who writes published material can consciously plagiarize "accidently." They know what they're doing, and that it's wrong. So there has to be a level of psychological disruption going on there.

When people are caught in a lie, or a series of lies, often what they do is lie more. It can actually cross into delusional behavior.

One characteristic is young people, who were stars growing up, and are used to excelling and impressing. As the pond gets bigger, they lack inner confidence and need to impress more and more. So they turn to lifting, to reconcile a need to impress with a low self-confidence in their abilities.

A good example is Stephen Glass, actually a serial fabricator, who took his editors out to the alleged site of one of his fabrications, and only after a security guard denied his story to his face did he break down, in tears. He was later put on a suicide watch.

So my guess is that Domenech is still in the bargaining stage, or something--I'm not a psychologist. Please, I'm not trying to be a destructive, nasty liberal. But Domenech's stance is not unusual. It's sadly typical, and will be yet another entry into the annals of journalistic disgrace.
3.24.2006 4:56pm
Mark T. Blair (mail) (www):
On the WP blog, Domenech claimed he was the youngest Bush appointee. Does anyone know what he was appointed to?
3.24.2006 4:56pm
Cornellian (mail):
That notorious lefty, Michelle Malkin, is saying on her blog that she knows plagarism when she sees it, and Domenech is a plagarist. Looks like the end of the road for Mr. Domenech, and what a short road it was. The Salon.com piece includes the statement that Mr. Domenech, on the day after Coretta Scott King's funeral, referred to her as a "communist." What a charming individual he must be. Probably has a bright future in politics ahead of him.
3.24.2006 4:57pm
Angus (mail) (www):
His whole apologia is deeply dishonest.

He claims that an editor at his campus newspaper inserted material from other sources in his movie reviews without his authorization, but fails to mention that he plagiarized part of a movie review at National Review Online. (The editor in chief of the campus paper at the time has, by the way, denied Domenech's accusation.)

He suggests that the parallels between one of his stories for The New York Press and a piece from The Washington Post are a matter of "similar descriptions of the same event," when in fact the content and structure of several sentences in the two pieces are virtually identical.

He's lying about his plagiarism. He's lying about his critics. And he's accusing innocent people of his own crimes.

It's repulsive.
3.24.2006 4:58pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Very thoughtful, MikeWDC. Mr. D. should've taken the weekend off from the internet, killed a bottle of scotch, cried a little, and then come back on Monday or whenever and decided what to say then.
3.24.2006 4:59pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
The evidence is pretty damning. In 24 hours, people the "liberal attack machine" was able to come up with a pretty hefty portfolio of examples of blatant, undeniable plagiarism. The truth is, the guy just got an amazing job and a few days later his world suddenly came crashing down on him and he probably just hasn't had time to figure out how he should handle it. Hence, the somewhat nonsensical defense.
3.24.2006 5:01pm
Cornellian (mail):
A good example is Stephen Glass, actually a serial fabricator, who took his editors out to the alleged site of one of his fabrications, and only after a security guard denied his story to his face did he break down, in tears. He was later put on a suicide watch.

A scene well depicted in the movie "Shattered Glass" with Hayden Christensen playing Stephen Glass, and Peter Sarsgard playing his increasingly suspicious editor. Perhaps Mr. D should rent that movie over the weekend. He might learn that this sort of thing always catches up with you eventually.
3.24.2006 5:02pm
plunge (mail):
I'm not sure why he thinks he deserves sympathy for being the subject of personal attacks. This from a guy for whom name-calling and personal attacks on people's character and mental stability were his bread and butter? This from the same guy who said that maybe if Andrew Sullivan would be more stable if he found himself a girlfriend (Andrew being gay). This from a guy who referred to journalists as "pusbags" and so forth? Come on.

His personal character and history are fair game. He came from a very privaleged family with lots of political connections, connections he used to catapult himself past far more qualified and experienced people. He can't be criticized for that?
3.24.2006 5:03pm
plunge (mail):
The most interesting example was when he basically re-wrote an WaPo article describing Bill Frist. His rewrites, of course, were all to make Frist seem even more heroic and decisive.
3.24.2006 5:05pm
SP:
What does Neil Kinnock think of all of this?
3.24.2006 5:05pm
none_:
its like when jason giambi apologized for something, but couldn't say what it was.
3.24.2006 5:07pm
anonymous coward:
Has a blogger ever before provided so much amusement in so little time? I for one will miss Domenech.
3.24.2006 5:11pm
SP:
Red State's reaction is disappointing. Granted, they are the right wing version of Kos, and so the battle vis a vis the other side is often more important than principle or long term goals, but you'd think they'd just realize that Domenech is done.
3.24.2006 5:11pm
Steve:
The whole thing is a brutal train wreck, with Domenech's friends at RedState lining up to solemnly proclaim their 100% unfailing belief in Domenech's innocence, when his story includes the utterly implausible claim that his student editors at William &Mary repeatedly inserted rewritten paragraphs from other sources into his wholly original work. It's the worst defense ever, and they all believe it. Words fail me.
3.24.2006 5:15pm
Cornellian (mail):
This would be a good time for young Mr. Domenech to spend a quiet weekend with his father and have a long chat about personal responsibility, growing up, and redemption.
3.24.2006 5:18pm
Glenn Bridgman (mail):

This would be a good time for young Mr. Domenech to spend a quiet weekend with his father and have a long chat about personal responsibility, growing up, and redemption.


Maybe not:

http://www.redstate.com/comments/2006/3/24/151255/259/12#12
3.24.2006 5:22pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
RedState is living up to its name, all right. I have never seen such devoted Stalinists.

More grist for the theory that there's a frame of mind for blind ideological support in general, and whether the object of devotion is "left" or "right" is a secondary consideration at most.
3.24.2006 5:28pm
MikeWDC (mail):
I could not like the guy less, but at this point anything you say about him, use the past tense. His life is destroyed. Not over--he's 24, and he didn't kill anyone--but in a weeks time he's gone from ascendent to disgrace. Somewhere inside him he knows he cut-and-pasted, that those strings of lifted passages across contexts are not accidental and coincidental. Michelle Malkin turned on him. At this point professional newspaper reporters--he knows this too--would be cleaning out their desks under watch of security. It's a journalistic sin, up there with fabrication and libel.

Now he's never going to shake the "plagiarist" label, wherever he goes. (He will have to accept that, and accept that his life will go on.) I think what we're observing is a short term psychological process--blame, denial, rationalization, etc. Absolutely he should have just stayed away from the Internet for a few days. Yes, it would have been admitting guilt, but sometimes that's the right move if you're guilty. For someone who as sneered and scorned others his whole adult life, it's hard to realize more people are doing the same to him than ever knew his work.

Maybe he'll continue to deny it to himself and learn nothing from this, continuing to preach for a rump audience that considers him a martyr. Too bad for him. More likely the rush will wear off and someone will stage an intervention and he will take that time off and disappear for a few weeks. At the very least, the liberal blogs are going to have their moment, which he paved the way for with his years of vicious rhetoric. (If he stands pat and Malkin et al have to stage a public intervention, then it's Christmas in March for liberal bloggers--all the more reason someone will want to get to him before that.)

I feel sorry for the guy, as a person--actually, he's in the neighborhood of a year younger than I am--but the sooner he confronts himself the better off he'll be in the long run.
3.24.2006 5:32pm
plunge (mail):
There's just no way to feel all that sorry for someone who actually had the gall to write something like this:

"To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America."

Someone get this man a Medal of Honor!
3.24.2006 5:38pm
MikeWDC (mail):
It's self-parody. How can anyone on the left not laugh?
3.24.2006 5:44pm
John Herbison (mail):
Perhaps Mr. Domenech should now offer his services as a speechwriter for Senator Biden's expected campaign for president.
3.24.2006 5:55pm
Guest2 (mail):
"His life is destroyed. Not over--he's 24, and he didn't kill anyone--but in a weeks time he's gone from ascendent to disgrace."

If he plays his cards right, he could come back in 8-10 months with a promising career as a former conservative who has seen the light, turned liberal, and now wants to expose conservatives for the racist, elitist, secret-society members they really are.
3.24.2006 5:58pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
His daddy's connections will make sure he has a job somewhere. There are still remote corners of America where no one's heard of bloggers or would care about them if they did. (Some call them "red states.")
3.24.2006 6:03pm
wavemaker (www):
His reference above, I think, is to his explanation in the piece that unoriginal material had been inserted into his college newspaper works by others without his authority. In other words, pointing the finger elsewhere.
3.24.2006 6:05pm
Steve:
I'm quite certain that Mr. Domenech, as a young, well-connected Republican, will do quite well for himself. Just not in journalism.

In any event, this is America, where abject disgrace is just another marketing tool.
3.24.2006 6:11pm
Mark from W&M (mail):
I was two years ahead of Domenech at William and Mary and though I didn't really know him, I had several friends who lived in his dorm. I will not repeat anything they said about him (infer what you will), but I did become familiar with his writing by the time I graduated. I always found his work mediocre, an observation I could make about most any other college writer, but there was something about Domenech's writing that was especially bothersome. I vividly recall an article of his on the W&M website in which he used a joke from the movie Tommy Boy (about yelling "Luke, I am your father!" into a fan) without attribution and with the clear suggestion that it was the product of his own comic mind. I'm not sure if this item has been highlighted in the recent plagarism discussions, but I was troubled by it then and since. I am skeptical that any student editor took it upon himself to insert that joke into the piece. I was stunned to see such blatant theft at a school with a very serious honor code. I didn't say anything at the time because it was just an insignificant college humor piece, but imagine my shock years later to see that same plagarist get a blog on the Post site. I am not at all suprised, however, to learn that he continued plagarizing throughout the intervening years. I am to the right of center politically and an avid reader of blogs and commentary sites. I would have been very proud to see a young conservative writer from my alma mater achieve such success, that is, had it been anyone other than Domenech. I viewed his rapid ascent as a dispiriting example of how cheaters actually can prosper, though his even more rapid fall provides great reassurance that honesty still matters, even in the world of political commentary. What a difference a couple of days make.
3.24.2006 6:19pm
Fishbane (mail):
Has a blogger ever before provided so much amusement in so little time?

Agreed - this is a truly amazing little drama. He literally wrote his own professional destruction, and is now whining about it.

I doubt it is permanent, though. He'll take a low-profile job at a partisan thinktank or something, and be on the talking head circuit in a few years.
3.24.2006 6:22pm
James Lindgren (mail):
1. The recent NRO example is a clear example of plagiarism for which there is no excuse. If this were the ONLY example ever, one might not be 100% certain that the lifting was intentional. But with many other examples, he is clearly guilty of intentional plagiarism.

2. Rewriting sentences by paraphrasing them is very common, and most people do it at least occasionally. That should not be considered plagiarism unless it is particularly gross. If someone does it repeatedly in paragraph after paragraph of the same piece, as one of the Harvard Law professors did in his book (probably ghost-written by a research asst), only then does it rise to the level of plagiarism IMO.
3.24.2006 6:40pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Agree w/ Prof. Lindgren, w/ the proviso that this kind of "rewriting sentences by paraphrasing them" does not cut the mustard:
Salon:

"Or when, as a study of teen girls' attitudes last year reflected, young women proclaimed that they didn't actually like the No. 1 girl act of their time and demographic. When questioned, during this study, about what celebrities they'd like to hang out with, they had pricelessly characterized Spears as someone whom they probably wouldn't want in their social group, but then amended it: OK, they might, but only because she'd attract the guys. (The idea was that she was dirty and it might rub off, and it even seemed to be supported in reality: When "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" star Melissa Joan Hart began a high-profile friendship with Spears, within a month or two Hart had shed her goody-goody image and shown up barely clothed on the cover of a lad magazine)."

Domenech:

"In a study of teen girls' attitudes last year, young women characterized Spears as someone whom they probably would only want in their social group because she'd attract the guys. The idea was that she was dirty and it might rub off, a view that even seemed to be supported in reality. When Sabrina the Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart began a much-publicized friendship with Spears, within a month or two Hart shed her goody-goody image and had shown up barely clothed on the cover of the men's magazine Maxim."
(Started to boldface the parallel passages but soon realized that I was going to boldface 95% of the words.)
3.24.2006 6:54pm
mistermark:
His statement is something less than an apology, and what's more, he essentially is accusing his college editors of committing plagiarism themselves with the following quote: "I once caught an editor at the paper inserting a line from The New Yorker (which I read) into my copy and protested. When that editor was promoted, I resigned. Before that, insertions had been routinely made in my copy, which I did not question. I did not even at that time read the publications from which I am now alleged to have lifted material. When these insertions were made, I assumed, like most disgruntled writers would, that they were unnecessary but legitimate editorial additions."

This is itself a pretty serious accusation, and he's provided nothing to back it up. In fact, if his former editors (who would be fairly easy to identify if one went into the paper's records to see who the editors were at the time of his articles) are still in the journalism business, they might consider his accusation to be an attack on their ethics and if untrue, borderline libelous. Domenech hasn't conducted himself well in this whole matter, and his compatriots at Red State might want to reconsider their choice of friends.
3.24.2006 7:36pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Domenech hasn't conducted himself well in this whole matter, and his compatriots at Red State might want to reconsider their choice of friends.

Given the # of RS commenters who are making good-faith statements that Domenech has some 'splainin' to do, &getting banned for it, I really wonder what this means for RS. It was already too much of a right-wing echo chamber; I wonder if it'll split up.

I am also curious to see what Josh "Tacitus" Trevino will have to say about Domenech's refusal to accept responsibility &his putting the blame on others (as Mistermark notes).
3.24.2006 7:41pm
Enoch:
If he plays his cards right, he could come back in 8-10 months with a promising career as a former conservative who has seen the light, turned liberal, and now wants to expose conservatives for the racist, elitist, secret-society members they really are.

If he plays his cards right, he can write a prize-winning work of history just like another reformed plagiarist has! =D
3.24.2006 7:45pm
MikeWDC (mail):

There is no evidence that the few copied paragraphs in Goodwin's massive, original work The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys were anything but accidental. She explained how her system of keeping notes got some passages she copied to quote from mixed in with original drafts, and it was plausible. Because what could her motive possibly have been to slip in couple copied passages in a totally original book? She got a bum rap on that. Deserving of charges? Yes. But ultimately not guilty.

Sorry Enoch if you were trying to be funny.

Also, when I said Domenech's life was destroyed, I meant in the and-now-he-must-pick-up-the-pieces sense, not the his-life-is-ruined sense. Who knows what his future holds. [**profound banality alert**] Life's like that.
3.24.2006 8:08pm
dimitrir:
Would anyone care to comment about how lights of our society like Sen. Biden and Prof. Tribe go on, while guys like Glass, Blair and now Domenech get (justifiably) fried?

Also, I can't help but feel like I'm smelling a smug sense of gloating and condescention from some of the commenters here.
3.24.2006 8:52pm
mistermark:
The plot thickens. See the latest from NRO.
3.24.2006 8:59pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Acccording to Media matters
Domenech's defense distorted apparently plagiarized column
Summary: Ben Domenech, defending himself from charges of plagiarism, falsely claimed that one of the articles that apparently included plagiarized material "ran as inspired by [author P.J.] O'Rourke's original." There is, in fact, no mention of O'Rourke at all.
In a March 24 post on RedState.com, made following his resignation from washingtonpost.com, Republican activist blogger Ben Domenech defended himself against evidence that he repeatedly plagiarized the work of other writers. But Media Matters for America has evidence that at least one of the claims he made in his defense is false. Domenech resigned from washingtonpost.com, where he had been hired to write a conservative weblog called Red America, earlier in the day after evidence surfaced regarding the plagiarism allegations.

Domenech wrote on RedState:

In one instance, 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.

Media Matters has obtained a pdf copy of the column in question as it appeared in the print version of the College of William &Mary student newspaper The Flat Hat. The column contains no indication that it "ran as inspired by O'Rourke's original." There is, in fact, no mention of O'Rourke at all.
link and to the pdf

Along with the wild claims that someone else put other people's words in his work, it seems Ben's confession/rebuttal should not be believed.

I don't think that matters to the people at Redstate who seem to put loyality above ethical concerns. It does seem pretty stupid of them to let a person who seems to be guilty of plagarism make accusations on their site then believe them without checking the facts. Then accuse others of rushing to judgement.


The server logs tell us that many of you are coming here looking for the Redstate reaction to Ben's resignation from the Washington Post. And no doubt you want to know what his status with Redstate is, and 'where we go' from here.
The left has their blood today. Ben resigned from the WashingtonPost.com. He did not resign from RedState - and even if he tried to do so, we would have refused to accept it. The four Directors of this site, including Ben, had a call earlier today shortly after he spoke with the Post and we're happy that Ben's staying right here.

We are disappointed in the turn of events, yes. We are also disappointed in some of our allies in their rush to judgement. But, alas, we live and die by the speed of the Internet. As I said yesterday, the conservative movement is larger than me, you, Ben, Redstate, or any individual or group.
3.24.2006 9:02pm
mistermark:
Oops. Link didn't work that time. Let's see if it works now.
3.24.2006 9:04pm
Shangui (mail):
Wow, the new stuff up at NRO is really damning. Is he going to claim that the NRO editors actually snuck all this into his pieces as well? If the Redstate folk continue to defend him in the way they have been, they've basically flushed any cred they have left down the toilet. And they should be furious at him for the Clinton-like treatment (that is, lying to friends and family and letting them defend you in public based on those lies).
3.24.2006 9:46pm
James Lindgren (mail):
MikeWDC wrote:

There is no evidence that the few copied paragraphs in Goodwin's massive, original work The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys were anything but accidental. She explained how her system of keeping notes got some passages she copied to quote from mixed in with original drafts, and it was plausible. Because what could her motive possibly have been to slip in couple copied passages in a totally original book? She got a bum rap on that. Deserving of charges? Yes. But ultimately not guilty

___
You seem to believe Goodwin's original cover story, parts of which even she dropped after they became untenable. I am not an expert on Goodwin's case, but your account does not fit the facts as I recall them.

Here are some excerpts from HNN's partial account:
http://hnn.us/articles/590.html#beam10-6-05

Later on the twenty-third the Weekly Standard ran another story, this time featuring an interview with Lynne McTaggart, author of the book on Kathleen Kennedy. This was the first time McTaggert had ever spoken out. She said she felt compelled to after Goodwin misconstrued the record. Goodwin had told the Boston Globe that just a few paragraphs had been borrowed without proper attribution from McTaggert. McTaggert charged that so many of her words had been copied that she decided not to ask Goodwin to put them all in quotes. "I never asked for quotations [because] I felt it would be impossible because of the sheer number of them. It would have taken hours and hours of determining what was an exact quote, almost an exact quote, and what was a close paraphrase. . . . So we said it was enough to attribute everything that came from my book."

Eight days after the story first broke Goodwin defended herself in a piece in Time.com. She blamed the entire mess on faulty note-taking. She did not address the charge of hypocrisy (i.e., accusing Joe McGinniss of the same offense of which she herself was guilty). Unlike Stephen Ambrose, she did not claim that it was a legitimate practice to drop into her book whole passages from another without using quotation marks.

On Saturday February 23, 2002 the Goodwin story took a new turn. Ms. Goodwin told the New York Times that "she failed to acknowledge scores of [additional] close paraphrases from other authors." She said that after the January flap she had asked her researchers to stop working on her next book, which is about Lincoln, so they could do a thorough check of possibly borrowed passages in her Kennedy book. She said that was when she discovered that many more passages had been borrowed. She said that at her request Simon and Schuster is going to destroy the copies of the book on hand and publish a new corrected edition in the spring. This will cost the publisher about $10,000. ...

Goodwin declined to identify the borrowed passages or the books they came from. That Saturday night History News Network revealed the names of three of the books, providing a list of borrowed passages. . . .

Just how many words did Goodwin borrow from Lynne McTaggert? On March 16 McTaggert herself gave the answer in an op ed in the New York Times. The answer: thousands of words. "Whether Ms. Goodwin had used footnotes or even quotation marks around the passages taken from my book would not have mattered," McTaggert wrote. "It was the sheer volume of the appropriation — thousands of my exact or nearly exact words — that supported my copyright infringement claim." (Editor's Note: McTaggert in January in a letter to the Weekly Standard indicated that Goodwin had borrowed dozens and dozens of phrases; she did not mention thousands of words.)

In a searing conclusion, McTaggert wrote "it is important not to excuse the larger sins of appropriation. In this age of clever electronic tools, writing can easily turn into a process of pressing the cut-and-paste buttons, or gluing together the work of a team of researchers, rather than the long and lonely slog of placing one word after another in a new and arresting way." . . .

On March 23 the Associated Press reported that the McTaggert/Goodwin fight had become nastier, McTaggert complaining that Goodwin had taken the "heart and guts" of her book about Kathleen Kennedy. McTaggert charged that "they have copied passages appearing on 91 of the 248 pages of my book." She added, "and at least 45 of 94 pages of Goodwin's book that discuss Kathleen Kennedy contain my material." Michael Nussbaum, Goodwin's attorney, responded: "It is preposterous for McTaggart to say that Goodwin copied 'thousands of words' from McTaggart or that Goodwin ... took the 'heart and guts' from McTaggart's work."

On August 4, 2002 the Los Angeles Times, which had ignored the Goodwin story, published a long piece putting the scandal into perspective. About midway through the story, which was written by Peter King, however, there was this bombshell:

For this article, The Times contracted with an outside reader to select a half-dozen or so of the books listed by Goodwin as source materials and simply follow the footnotes, randomly reading passages of "No Ordinary Time" against the other works. The process, which consumed roughly one full workweek, produced nearly three dozen instances where phrases and sentences in Goodwin's book resembled the words of other authors.

Goodwin's response?

As for any parallel language reflected in the passages, she said: "As long as a person is credited," on occasion there is "leeway to use some of the words. Just using individual words now and then, and when it is clear where it is coming from, that is what paraphrasing is." Moreover, she said, in some instances, references to the source were included in the text.

In some cases, she said, "if you had the whole thing quoted, you would lose the flow of the narrative." In others, the language in question was simply a common expression--how many ways are there to describe, say, a "white linen suit" or a camera being knocked "to the ground"?

And in still others, Goodwin said, sequential action was being described, and to tamper with the language would be to risk inaccuracy. She offered as an example of this the similarities between her description of Roosevelt's Guantanamo Bay visit and that of Sherwood: "This chronology and structure had to be adhered to in order to describe the visit accurately. Furthermore, the end-note anchor phrase of 'At Guantanamo Bay, etc.' clearly alerts the reader that general information about the Guantanamo Bay is derived from Sherwood's book."

Finally, Goodwin said: "The most important thing I keep coming back to, and what most people would agree with, is that the standard to be met in every instance is providing appropriate credit to the source."

A week after the LA Times story broke, political writer Mickey Kaus, writing in Slate, wondered why Goodwin isn't "toast": "Either nobody reads the Los Angeles Times, or it's summer and nobody reads anything, or people are sick of the Doris Kearns Goodwin plagiarism story -- but for some reason attention hasn't been paid to a fairly damning front-page Times piece that knocks one of the remaining props out from under Goodwin's defense."

Kaus noted that Goodwin had continuously maintained that the Roosevelt book was pristine. Her spokesman, lawyer Michael Nussbaum, had told the NYT that "Everything is fully credited and attributed" in No Ordinary Time. Yet the LAT showed that there were dozens of examples of copying, at least one, egregious.

Goodwin herself admits to scores of "borrowings," though she denies that she committed plagiarism. And her Kennedy book was not "totally original"; parts of it are highly derivative of McTaggart's work. And her improper borrowings without attribution include not only the Kennedy book, but as the LA Times establishes, also her Pulitzer-Prize winning book on Roosevelt.

Domenech's plagiarism is quite bad and disqualifying, and more examples are appearing every few hours. If a few dozen more examples come out, as seems likely, then Domenech's "borrowing" will indeed be as serious and as extensive as Doris Kearns Goodwin's.
3.24.2006 10:02pm
A. Friend:
Is it just me, or is the P.J. O'Rourke piece totally nonfunny?
3.24.2006 11:01pm
Apodaca:
It just gets worse and worse for Domenech. That column "inspired" by P.J. O'Rourke? O'Rourke himself now says
I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy ... but I didn't give him permission to use my words under his byline, no.
3.24.2006 11:02pm
Bezuhov (mail):
"RedState is living up to its name, all right. I have never seen such devoted Stalinists."

You need to get out more.

"Michelle Malkin turned on him."

She didn't turn on anyone. She values truth over power. Try it sometime, you might like it.

Funny how this 24-year-old guy gets crucified (losing his job would seem sufficient to me) for plagiarism while another 24-year-old gets a scholarship to Yale for merely serving as a mouthpiece for a totaltarian government. Nice to see we have our priorities in order.
3.24.2006 11:26pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
It just gets worse and worse for Domenech. That column "inspired" by P.J. O'Rourke? O'Rourke himself now says
I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy ... but I didn't give him permission to use my words under his byline, no

Apodaca, that should be the nail in the coffin. The nerve of Ben Domenech to flat out lie to his readers after being busted for plagiarism is beyond anything anyone should stand behind. I could kind of understand Redstate keeping him because he didn't do anything wrong on their site. Now all that has changed, he has been exposed as a liar, to the readers of that site. If Redstate doesn't get rid of him now, I don't think anyone should value their words anymore.
3.24.2006 11:47pm
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
While some people are analyzing the psychosis of Mr. Domenech, I think the most facinating subject is the conduct of Redstate itself, from a political voyeur's point of view. I'm sure that there have been even more solid caes against someone, but the case for Mr. Domenech's guilt in this matter seems to be pretty solid. And yet despite this guilt which seems apparant to all impartial (heck even partial) observers of the matter, The Redstate crowd is vehemently asserting the innocence of Mr. Domenech, and his status as a poor victim of a vast left wing conspiracy. I recall one commenter stating that even if the barking moonbats had produced video of Mr. Domenech commiting these offenses he still wouldn't believe them because of the evilness of the left.

I don't think the entire crowd there is as ignorant in these matters as they let on. Many of them, no doubt do believe Mr. Domenech to be an innocent victim of a leftist fabrication. Others may have doubts about him, but those doubts would be instantly relieved upon the most superficial of explanations (My editors lifted paragrpahs from other articles &put them in mine.) I have a hunch that many of his stalwart defenders don't have as much confidence as they let on, but still tow the talking points as a matter of maintaining unity until (hopefully) the matter has blown over. Either way, this is one of the most fascinating studies of the partisan mind, even by blog-age standards.
3.24.2006 11:51pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"Funny how this 24-year-old guy gets crucified (losing his job would seem sufficient to me) for plagiarism...."

You mean he got a dose of his own righteousness turned back on him? Read some of his previous comments on plagarism.

http://www.bendomenech.com/blog/archives/000932.html

Let's not pretend that this was just some 24-year old kid blogging from his parent's basement. Whatever you think of the WaPo, it's one of the biggies in American media and this kid was given the plum blogging spot on staff. When you're on top of the mountain, it's a long fall to the bottom.
3.24.2006 11:55pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Dustin Ridgeway is right that the real question is what RedState will do.
3.25.2006 12:09am
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
It appears that after PJ O'Rourke denied letting Mr. Domenech use his words, and after some more piling on from National Review, Mr. Domenech has finally come clean.


Contrition
By: Augustine · Section: Miscellania

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 hope that nothing I've done as a teenager or in my professional life will reflect badly on the movement and principles I believe in.

I'm deeply grateful for the love and encouragment of all those around me. And although I may not deserve such support, it makes it that much more humbling at a time like this. I'm a young man, and I hope that in time that I can earn a measure of the respect that you have given me.

Regards,

Ben


As for what Redstate will do, it appears they have already forgiven him &congratulated him on his courage to tell the truth. Diarists suggesting Mr. Domenech no longer associate himself with the site are being eviscerated, &many in the community are now turning on Michelle Malkin &other conservative bloggers critical of Mr. Domenech for betraying a fellow "brother in the cause."

It's like Dailykos, only LESS thoughtful &more prone to herd mentality &groupthink.

God bless the internets.
3.25.2006 12:22am
Steve in CA (mail):
A. friend,

It's just you.
3.25.2006 12:23am
Apodaca:
Jim, here's the answer re what RedState will do:
And you know what? He'll take the time to wander in the wilderness as he rightly should. He'll walk that road. The least the rest of us can do is be waiting for him at its end. So today, the world thinks ill of Ben Domenech. But perhaps it should step back a bit. His crime was not mortal, and his character is not irredeemable. Indeed, most of his friends believe this episode a _deviation_ from a core character that is fundamentally good. He is my friend. He is our friend and will remain so. He needs some time away from this – and he’ll get it in the form of a leave of absence.
Meanwhile, Domenech has started to admit fault and, for a moment at least, ceased to blame his critics:
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.
3.25.2006 12:33am
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
Ok, this is piling on, but I really can't resist. A commenter from Redstate by "BlueHoo" writes



For all we know, these "editors" were a bunch of liberal kooks intent on setting Ben up to tear him down later (I'm sure Ben's politics were no mystery to the rest of the Flat Hat staff, and these "editors" seem to be conveniently lurking on Atrios). They could have easily snuck passages into Ben's original work, and stored this nugget away as ammunition against his promising future. It's really sad what antics people will stoop to...
3.25.2006 12:46am
llamasex (mail) (www):
I'm sorry if he would have come clean at his first damn chance, I would have had alot more forgiveness and understanding. But screw him, he had his chance to come clean and start anew, and instead decided to lie about PJ O'Rourke giving him the ok to copy his work (A lie that Redstate has yet to admit and correct). Now when busted for that "obfuscation" (He obviously doesn't want to come that clean calling it obfuscation) he really wants to truly apologize.

He deserves to be kicked to the curb, not embraced and forgiven.
3.25.2006 12:46am
Bobbie:
Was anyone on the DailyKos making remarks about Ben raping his sister and mother, etc.? Several times Ben has mentioned that he has been personally attacked along those lines and that bloggers have said all sorts of aweful things about him, but are there links of this? (Not that I have any reason to doubt that Ben would lie or try to make himself appear to be a martyr . . . )
3.25.2006 1:07am
David M. Nieporent (www):
You know, I am a little surprised that this happened. I'm not surprised at all that the blogosphere was able to do this wrt Domenech; this is the sort of research the blogosphere is made for. But it's a little surprising to me that getting hired to blog at the Washington Post's website was such a big deal that so many people decided they wanted to investigate him. I mean, this isn't Bush's AWOL status or Kerry's Purple Hearts. Are people so eager to tear down anybody of the opposite political persuasion that merely getting hired for a minor gig like this is enough to get the saliva flowing?

(That shouldn't be read as a defense of Domenech; he's not getting something he didn't deserve. This clearly isn't an isolated case, but a long pattern, so there's no real defense, and he has only himself to blame. But I'm just a little surprised that people had nothing better to do than go after him.)
3.25.2006 1:28am
Former Redstate Contributing Editor:
As a former contributing editor to RedState, I am appalled by the lack of candor about the plagiarism and the attacks that Domenech has made against the left. Whenever the right uses the "oh, it's the lefties fault!" argument, I become skeptical. I find few plausible explanations and only blame in his response to the accusations. He's got some serious issues to deal with.

As for college writing: the emphasis on not plagiarizing is perhaps highest in college. When I wrote a movie review for the campus newspaper, I made it a point not to read any reviews of the movie so I wouldn't be influenced and I could not be accused of plagiarism.

I am unconvinced that Domenech has truly and publicly come to terms with his conduct.
3.25.2006 3:08am
raj (mail):
One thing that conservative bloggers supporting Domenech, and particularly the people over at Red State appear to forget is that plagiarism is lying (passing off someone else's work as one's own), theft (stealing someone else's work) and possibly copyright infringement. It is interesting that they would dismiss such issues so cavalierly.

But I suppose that that is what passes for "conservative values" nowadays.
3.25.2006 7:41am
Apodaca:
David B., I think it's pretty clear why the long knives were out for Domenech. A great many people -- including but not limited to the Kos/Firedoglake cabal -- were justly incensed by a series of recent statements and acts (rather, failures to act) on the part of Jim Brady, Executive Editor for washingtonpost.com. (In a nutshell, the print paper's ombudsman made a stupid, factually incorrect assertion about the Abramoff scandal and refused to back down; Brady fueled the outrage by dismissing the criticisms and making some fairly juvenile comments of his own in an online chat.)

As a result, Brady was seen (fairly, in my view) as flipping the figurative bird to the Post readership, and also widely seen (fairly or not) to be in the tank for Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove. Naming a red-meat party-liner like Domenech to "balance" the Post's experienced journalist-bloggers was, as a result, deeply provocative. IMHO Brady thought he was provoking discussion in a good way -- "let's get some competing viewpoints into WaPo Online" -- but the effect was to throw gasoline on the still-smoldering coals of the blogosphere.

In short, I think the reaction wasn't just about Domenech himself, but rather about the Post's -- and at heart, Brady's -- failure to meet the readers' expectations. There's nothing wrong with challenging readers' settled beliefs (afflicting the comfortable and all), but Brady's ham-handed efforts at creating artificial "balance" earned him furious backlash. The great irony, of course, is that the oppo research on Domenech is precisely what was lacking in his blog: you know, that tired old journalistic, citing-to-sources approach to writing?
3.25.2006 10:13am
mistermark:
Domenech's follow-up "apology" is still pretty weak. The key sentences in it are: "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."

While that is a big improvement over what he said previously, his use of the weasel-word "obfuscation" to describe what was essentially an accusation of plagiarism by him against his former editors isn't much of a statement of contrition or a statement that he was not telling the truth when he said they must have inserted the plagiarized text. I still think what he said about his college editors could be libelous, given that accusing someone of plagiarism is a serious, fact-based allegation, at least with regard to people who are still working in the journalism business, and his former editors could be identified with a little homework in the college paper's archives, and therefore the allegation could stick to them professionally (again, if they are still in the journalism business).

I wouldn't want this guy on the same team with me, that's for sure. If the Red State editors want to keep him around, that's their prerogative, but that would seem to me to be a case of someone putting personal friendship ahead of the good of the organization.
3.25.2006 10:37am
Anderson (mail) (www):
What Dustin said:

And yet despite this guilt which seems apparant to all impartial (heck even partial) observers of the matter, The Redstate crowd is vehemently asserting the innocence of Mr. Domenech, and his status as a poor victim of a vast left wing conspiracy. I recall one commenter stating that even if the barking moonbats had produced video of Mr. Domenech commiting these offenses he still wouldn't believe them because of the evilness of the left.

Domenech has (finally) apologized. The remaining shame is on RedState for its contempt for the truth and for ethics. Of course, they don't think *they've* done anything wrong.
3.25.2006 11:54am
Cornellian (mail):
Domenech has finally come through with a real apology (pasted from RedState.org):

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 hope that nothing I've done as a teenager or in my professional life will reflect badly on the movement and principles I believe in.

I'm deeply grateful for the love and encouragment of all those around me. And although I may not deserve such support, it makes it that much more humbling at a time like this. I'm a young man, and I hope that in time that I can earn a measure of the respect that you have given me.

Regards,

Ben


So maybe he'll re-emerge some time in the future, sadder but wiser.
3.25.2006 11:59am
Francis (mail):
sadder Budweiser?

Pabst, Pabst not.
3.25.2006 12:33pm
Nikki:
Honestly, paragraphasing is totally kosher in college as far as academic work goes. You just have to clearly indicate which portions of your paper are paraphrased. Naturally, this isn't really possible (at least not in the same format) in journalistic writing.
3.25.2006 6:12pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Actually, Nikki, not quite. Even if you cite, you have to use quotation marks when you take phrases verbatim.

--Ex-English Comp TA
3.25.2006 9:55pm
Nikki:
Eh? I was always taught that when paraphrasing (not paragraphasing, as I typed originally, whatever that is) -- as opposed to an exact quote -- quotation marks are not required.
3.25.2006 10:52pm
Bezuhov (mail):
I see the quality of the left's mercy remains unstrained. You'd think with this glass house we all share, we might leave a few stones unhurled. Oh yeah, two wrongs make a right, I forgot.
3.26.2006 3:03am
MegaTroopX (mail):
Can't help but wonder if the WaPo set this up.

"See, we tried to "balance", but the guy was a plagarist!"
3.26.2006 3:24pm