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March 23, 2006

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» Washington Post Blogger Caught Plagiarizing from Zigzagger
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» Ben Domenech is a serial plagiarist from Majikthise
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» Plagiarism and Ben Domenech from PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts
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» THE DOMENECH DEBACLE from Michelle Malkin
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» Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery from Hold The Mayo
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» Luci e ombre sull'Washington Post from Reporters
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» Luci e ombre sull'Washington Post from Reporters
Jim Brady, direttore di washingtonpost.com, farà molta attenzione la prossima volta che sceglierà un blogger, ora che Ben Domenech si è licenziato prima di essere cacciato. Non soltanto Media Matters for America e altri si erano chiesti come mai il [Read More]

» Luci e ombre sull'Washington Post from Reporters
Jim Brady, direttore di washingtonpost.com, farà molta attenzione la prossima volta che sceglierà un blogger, ora che Ben Domenech si è licenziato prima di essere cacciato. Non soltanto Media Matters for America e altri si erano chiesti come mai il [Read More]

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» Rookie of the year from PuddingTime!
I suppose this just makes me one more liberal who's forgotten how to behave at funerals, but if you want a look at what Ben Domenech's defenders see in the mirror, read the comment section that follows "Contrition," his final word last week. It's all t... [Read More]

» Rookie of the year from PuddingTime!
I suppose this just makes me one more liberal who's forgotten how to behave at funerals, but if you want a look at what Ben Domenech's defenders see in the mirror, read the comment section that follows "Contrition," his final word last week. It's all t... [Read More]

» Rookie of the year from PuddingTime!
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Comments

I have some observations of my own about this. First, plagiarism is very serious. I don't know how much this view is shared by people who don't write for a living, but for writers, it's pretty much the most serious dishonor there is. Your reputation as a writer or a scholar depends on your written work, and the discovery that you have been passing someone else's work off as your own is the closest thing we have to a crime.

Second, in my opinion, the Post should not have hired him, not because he's conservative, but because he has no record as a journalist, and as well, his first few blog posts were quite dreadful.

So that's what I have to say about that.

But I do think Red Dawn is a fun movie, although with as much political reality as Conan The Barbarian.

You don't seem to have linked to his WaPo blog, which is here, by the way (it doesn't seem to yet be on the paper's blog page). Anyone else notice that in his second post, the first that wasn't about the blog itself, he links to an article, and then just says "This is ridiculous and wrong. It's always better to just let kids be kids and keep the psychologists out of the way - to follow the dictum of an aging hippie couple I know who, despite their pacifist beliefs, still let their boys run around playing army with sticks made into guns"?

There's no actual substantiation, or linkage, or attempt to back up his assertion. It's just a link, a quote, and an announcement that something is "ridiculous and wrong."

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but shouldn't one at least pretend to be trying to substantiate assertions?

Man alive, this is a train-wreck.

A train-wreck with slo-mo explosions!

Whoops, WaPo blog page here.

I am so disappointed in WaPo.

Here's what galls me:

If a liberal wants a job at a newspaper, he has to go to journalism school. He has to start at a small-town paper. If he's lucky, maybe someday he'll work for a big respected paper. Along the way, everything he says or does will be carefully monitored by editors and by the public - if he makes too many mistakes, he gets demoted. All this is as it should be.

If a conservative wants a journalism job, no problem. Just walk in the door. No fact-checking will be done. Red-baiting is okay. Want to write for the most prestigious paper in the nation? Okay, no credentials required. Lying is okay. Plagiarism is okay. Anything goes.

Drives me up a wall.

Okay, having looked at them now, I'd say that the swipe from O'Rourke is absolutely indictable.

I'd say that this is much more damning than plot summaries of movies, which are a limited form in which it's easy to accidentally summarize in similar words; but the piece on throwing parties is original writing, and is unmistakably stolen.

The movie summaries are also clearly stolen, but I regard the stealing of original material as a mildly higher-level offense, although one can certainly argue that since both are stolen both offenses are therefore equally wrong.

I suppose he can just do another "mea culpa, it was useful indiscretion, and I was wrong to have plagiarized," just as he's already done a mea culpa for calling Coretta Scott King "a communist" only a couple of months ago.

I meant to include "we'll see if such a further mea culpa plays with the bosses at washingtonpost.com (which has different management than the paper, I point out to anyone unaware).

As it was, it did seem to me that although it's perfectly reasonable for the company to hire a partisan Republican blogger, if they like, they should obviously balance it with an equally partisan Democratic blogger, if so, or they're obviously being unbalanced.

Hilzoy- you're going to get this boy fired! And we were looking forward to making fun of him for the next few months at the very least!!!

You go girl!

I'll never forget how you really ripped me a new one about plagiarism. You should link to that Hilzoy, and show how you really care about that topic and not just when it's a conservative.


Subtle. Stupid, but Subtle...

Gary ;)

The O'Rourke bit is incredible to me. I mean: you Just Don't Do That.

With college papers, I normally distinguish two basic types of plagiarism: one if just outright theft, the attempt to pass someone else's work off as one's own. The other happens when someone really truly doesn't know what to write, and thinks: well, if I stick really close to the text I'm supposed to be writing about, surely I'll be safe; but being completely and totally and inexplicably wrong about the line between paraphrase and plagiarism. (Thus, this generally involves plagiarizing the primary source, or at least an assigned text.)

The second type has led to such would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-serious moments as: freshmen plagiarizing Kant's Prolegomena in a course in which I assign Kant's Prolegomena. (I mean: calculate the odds of any freshman writing like Kant. Not the implausibility of having Kant-like content, which is implausible enough, but the implausibility of a freshman spontaneously coming up with his writing style..)

I always give great long stern lectures about this, designed to make absolutely sure that no one is confused. I tell them to consider not just how wrong it is, but how stupid they will feel telling their parents that they were kicked out of school for plagiarizing in an ethics class. But does that stop them? Nooooooo.....

It's just so wrong, and also so stupid.

Dear Doris,

Since your plagiarism occurred several years before I started blogging, you'll just have to trust me when I say that I was appalled.

Yours,

hilzoy

1. Mine may be one of the only professions where plagiarism isn't just condoned, it's encouraged.

2. Conservative blowhard is a little light on integrity. Stop the presses.

No. 2 wasn't really well thought out. Please disregard. Apologies to anyone offended.

I did not know that Domenech was "Augustine." Here you can find him comparing judges to the KKK (worse than the KKK, in fact). Given how frequently "Augustine" posts there, Domenech must spend his day posting to RedState. Must be nice to have a job that affords that kind of leisure, even if he doesn't take the time to produce original prose.

But I do think Red Dawn is a fun movie

I've always loved that flick--and have ever since I first saw it in the theater, ridiculous though it was. Wolverines! I gotta say though, the last time I watched Red Dawn on AMC, or TNT or whatever, the conceit of angry young men resisting the occupation of their country by any means necessary struck me a little differently than it did back in the day.

It's not just plagiarism. It's copyright infringement.

That he infringed the copyright of his new employer, well... cake.

"mea culpa, it was useful indiscretion, and I was wrong to have plagiarized,"

That was supposed to be "youthful indiscretion," alas. And, of course, not an excuse; I'm just saying it's about the only ploy one can try short of simply resigning.

Doris Kearns Godwin, I'd at least note did a lot of good original writing before she made herself in to an industry and Did Her Wrong Thing. Her first books on Johnson, though very much apologetics for him, had value; so did other work she later did; this is not to excuse her problematic product, but just to note that she also contributed value, as well.

But it's pretty stupid to screw up your career when you can do good work, of course; probably even stupider than plagiarizing because its your only hope of producing good work, though I'm not setting aside mere ethics, of course, while discussing stupidity as a separate aspect.

I won't bother blogging about this, since I expect no shortage of coverage Dommench's plagiarism; he would have been so much smarter to have bitten the bullet at some earlier point, but it's never easy to do that sort of thing, of course (but, hey, I did an extremely painful "these are the worst things I've ever done in my life" post a while back; it was like flaying my skin off, but better to have gotten done, even if the doing was no fun at all).

Well, on the bright side for Dommenech, he's gotten an early start on his comeback.

The school newspaper he wrote for, The Flat Hat is neither outdated nor out of business. It is the student newspaper for College of William and Mary, it is a weekly and it was started in 1911. I'm sure that they're very proud of Ben. The current issue on the paper's website is dated March 17, 2006. I suppose if we discover that last week's issue was the final issue before they shuttered the doors at The Flat Hat then Erick's bleating in Domenech's defense could be true.

Somehow I don't think it is.

"Well, on the bright side for Dommenech, he's gotten an early start on his comeback."

Doesn't he have to go away first, before he can make a comeback?

Domenech, sorry.

"I did not know that Domenech was 'Augustine.'"

I don't read Redstate (or dKos), as a rule, but he's always been referred to as one of the founders of the site.

To make this now the third blog I've said this on in recent days -- though I've said it at other places at other times in the past -- I share only a few of John Milius's political views, but I think he's a strong writer, and a good director; to repeat myself for the third time in five days, the guy with the co-screenplay credit for Apocolypse Now, who is the writer-director of The Wind And The Lion, one of my all-time favorite movies, has justified his existence on earth with those alone; no matter that he's a bit of a right-wing loon, and that, as I said, Red Dawn is as much a fantasy as is Conan. (And Milius was a great choice to write a film that has Ahnold declaiming "Conan, what is best in life?

Conan: To crudsh yah enemies, see dem driven bevore you, and to heah de lamentation of de vemen!")

I love The Wind And The Lion, but Red Dawn is a fine action comic book/melodrama, though, of course, entirely ludicrous. Harry Dean Standon screaming "Avenge me, boys! Aaaaaavveeeeennnngggggeeeeeee Meeeeeeee!"

Very cute Lea Thompson, too.

Besides, I live in Colorado.

"Doesn't he have to go away first, before he can make a comeback?"

Give it til Monday.

"I suppose if we discover that last week's issue was the final issue before they shuttered the doors at The Flat Hat then Erick's bleating in Domenech's defense could be true."

Who is "Erick" and where is he bleating?

I know it's like shooting fish in a barrel, but more plagiarism from Ben here.

He quite blatantly stole a review of Counting Crow's "This Desert Life" from a writer named James Hunter.

Example, from Ben's piece:

The band's third studio album opens with a virtual house party, a vow to get out-of-town entitled "Hanginaround" that jumps with the stylistic hooks and bright guitar riffs of John Cougar Mellencamp. The same jangling charisma can be found in the piano-fueled ballad "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" as well as the slower-paced "Amy Hit the Atmosphere" about someone who catches "a rocket ride out of this gutter." "Colorblind," a slow piano ballad with waltzing lyrics, is full of the soft charm of Gary Louris. "Four Days" echoes R.E.M. in all the best ways, and in "High Life" Duritz rises to the occasion of a rootsy arrangement featuring strings, synths and deep basses.

From Hunter's piece:

This Desert Life isn't exactly an upbeat title, but the band's third studio album opens with a house party, a vow to get out of town entitled "Hanginaround" that jumps with the loosey-goosey hooks and bright guitar riffs of vintage John Cougar. The same craftiness powers the piano-fueled "Mr. Potter's Lullaby," as well as the slower-paced "Amy Hit the Atmosphere," about someone who catches "a rocket ride out of this gutter." "Four Days" robustly reconstitutes R.E.M., just before Counting Crows unleash a couple of the best things they've ever done: "All My Friends," which boasts a superb melody, and "High Life," in which Duritz rises to the occasion of a stellar arrangement featuring discursive strings, spacey synths and river-deep basses.

More? From Ben's piece:

At times on "This Desert Life" Duritz could be more succinct ‹ especially on "I Wish I Was a Girl," in which he rambles far too long about movies and honesty. But on "Speedway," all his circling themes about coming and going, loving and losing, Hollywood and the heartland come together.

From Hunter's piece:

At times on This Desert Life, you really wish he'd get more succinct -- especially on "I Wish I Was a Girl," in which he goes on and on about movies and honesty. But on "Speedway," all his circling themes about coming and going, loving and losing, Hollywood and the heartland come sizzlingly together.

There's a lot more than just those instances, but you get the point.

Damnit. Apocalypse Now and Harry Dean Stanton.

Gary: see update; or click here.

[Please don't use us to Googlebomb. I don't know hilzoy's preference in this matter, but I don't like to see this sort of thing go in either direction, much less being an unwilling particpant in said activities. - Ed]

Well, that answers my question of how his 'base' handles the issue. Continuing full court press. Good times.

There's no actual substantiation, or linkage, or attempt to back up his assertion.

And besides, Gary, the Post already had Ron Nessen to produce that style of blog post.

Also, there appears to be a complete list of Post blogs here.

"Gary: see update...."

Oh. I'd ask "when did that go up?," but I do think it's nice if one time-stamps updates, but then, I'm a big fan of time-stamping, but, of course, it's not obligatory; just a suggestion on my part, of course. Meanwhile I tend to keep reading at the bottom of comments, not checking back at the top each time.

The weirdest thing about this for me is that so many of them are film reviews, which are about the easiest form of journalism to do to a medium standard, and if you can't be bothered even with that are easy to crib without outright plagiarism. Combined with the astonishing frequency of the plagiarism it suggests to me its something pathological - a desire to get caught, perhaps.


And again, you have to ask why on earth WaPo.com thought he'd be a sensible hire. There are a fair few good conservative bloggers out there - Daniel Drezner and John Cole to name a couple. So why is it always the most inappropriate, unprofessional,moronic ones who get hired? Goldberg? Domenech? What are the people who hire them thinking? And even outside of the hires - when Time lionised Powerline did they even look at the breathtaking inanity and disconnection from reality displayed in the vast majority of their posts?

"Ben is accused of being a racist, gay, homophobe, an incestuous lover of his own mother, a partisan, evil, and now a plagarist."

He's not a partisan?

"He is, according to the left...."

Who gets to speak for "the left," anyway? I'd like to send a memo.

Well, I posted a comment on RedState urging them to read all the cases. We'll see how long my account there (used maybe three times, ever) remains active.

I'm just waiting for Tacitus to do his drive-by attack on anybody who questions Ben's honor. You people watch yourself!

"There are a fair few good conservative bloggers out there - Daniel Drezner and John Cole to name a couple."

I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous to suggest John as a representative conservative; he's an apostate with few kind words for the President or the current Republican Party; I like John, but he's hardly represenative of either conservatives or Republicans.

Dan Drezner also isn't particularly representative. I don't know who conservatives or Republicans should nominate, but clearly they need to nominate their own choices, not people us Democrats happen to like.

Just a guess with no research at all, but school newspapers tend to take Spring Break off, and it's Spring break this week sooo.......

Erick: "For a group of people who yell at my side saying we censor them, jail them, and otherwise silence them, who now is censoring, silencing, and viciously, irrationally attacking? It's not Ben. It's not me. it's not my side."

Someone is censoring Ben Domenech already? Really? And silencing him? Gosh.

"Should these people succeed, how many bloggers from either side will ever again get so far?"

I hope none if they write as badly as you do, bubbele.

"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."

Yeah, that'll hold up.

"Why are we silent? We should not be, even if it costs us to defend Ben. Ben has done more and contributed more to our community than many of us, whether at RedState or elsewhere. We must not stay silent. We must defend our own. We must defend Ben."

Good times, indeed. By all means, put your credibility on the line.

But what's the reputation of this guy, Erick, at Redstate? Unknown? Minor? Major? I see that: "I'm an attorney and political consultant in Macon, Georgia."

Um, ideology aside, not someone, on the evidence of this post, who looks as if he is going to be good at either job, though maybe he was just having a very off night, or was drunk, or something.

Ah, I see that Josh Trevino is offering the only possible line of defense. Youthful indiscretion.

Expect Domenech's apology by tomorrow.

Prediction: Since Domenech was home-schooled, the next step is to accuse critics of being unable to accept home-schooling as a viable option. This will probably be helped along when enough people make cracks about Ben's education.

Interestingly, I read that he graduated from the same school as Jon Stewart, though it must have been several years afterwards, I guess.

"Why are we silent? We should not be, even if it costs us to defend Ben. Ben has done more and contributed more to our community than many of us, whether at RedState or elsewhere. We must not stay silent. We must defend our own. We must defend Ben."

Avenge me, Wolverines!

nterestingly, I read that he graduated from the same school as Jon Stewart, though it must have been several years afterwards, I guess.

William & Mary. And so far as we know, Domenech didn't graduate. He dropped ou and joined the Bush administration.

Or, in his own words:

"After studying government and less important things at the College of William & Mary, he abandoned the journalism career track for a taxpayer-funded life in the wake of the 9/11 attacks..."

"Prediction: Since Domenech was home-schooled, the next step is to accuse critics of being unable to accept home-schooling as a viable option."

Did you actually write this before seeing this?: The midgets' fury, part 2: homeschooling. (Yes, now I'm taking a glance at Redstate; I didn't say I never ever would look at it or dKos.)

Man, there's nothing more than a good denunciation of "they." You know: them.

They are always such dumb mother-effs, they are. We hates Them. They are responsible for all that is foul and wrong. Darn Them!

There's nothing more coherent than denouncing Them. Whomever They are.

Cross my heart, Gary. Though I don't think it was a remarkably prescient things to say, unfortunately.

Youthful indiscretion.

It's interesting that the phrase "teenage years" has now popped up twice. I detect a future talking point. Wouldn't "college years" be, you know, more accurate? As in "accurate".

This is a very interesting exercise in meta.

We have all had many opportunities, over the last half-decade, to see how the Republicans react to a scandal. And now we get a chance to see how their most fervent disciples have learned their lessons.

We see Erick leading off with the full-throated defense, hammering the character of the bloodthirsty liberals who raised these issues, harping on one or two examples where the critics might have overstated their case, completely ignoring the more egregious and seemingly indefensible cases. A firm assertion that the facts completely vindicate Ben, but only the vaguest assertion to back that up: "permissions obtained and judgments made offline were not reflected online by an out dated and out of business campus newspaper."

In the comments, the evolution of a talking point proceeds along various tracks. Everyone tosses out their own idea.
Clinton did it too.
These are just partisan attacks.
It's easier than you think to plagiarize by accident.
He was young, and it was only movie reviews.
We have no way of proving that permission WASN'T given.
We don't owe any sort of factual response, since the liberals attacked without asking for one.

Just as the big Republicans do, they will sit back as these talking points are knocked down, one by one, and simply go with whichever turns out to be most viable. If it turns out the most viable defense is "he was young and foolish," they will all start repeating it. Completely forgotten will be Erick's assertion that permission was, in fact, received. That doesn't fit the new story, so down the memory hole it will go.

I can't help but be impressed by how well these folks learn their lessons from the successful politicians they admire. Think of Dan Rather, disgraced and abandoned by virtually all his former fans on the Left, save a few who bravely maintain it was all a Rovian plot. If Dan Rather had been a conservative, on the other hand, the Right would be naming journalism schools after him today, just to show their scorn for the liberals who tried to smear the name of a great man.

"But, but, it wasn't really plagiarism, 'cause he was young, and it was movie and record reviews not real writing and it was on-line not in a real newspaper and he was always right so who cares and I love him. Go, Ben." These guys are so infused with the Spirit of Rove that they don't even pretend their arguments have any merit. It's just verbal chaff, tossed out to deflect the incoming fire.

FYI: A paid blogger was just fired by the Boston Globe for plagiarism.

"Dan Drezner also isn't particularly representative. I don't know who conservatives or Republicans should nominate, but clearly they need to nominate their own choices, not people us Democrats happen to like"

Well, sure, but it's hard to think of a "representative" righty blogger who isn't either a frothing bigot, a Republican shill or a cretin. The intelligent righty blogs aren't representative - would you consider the Volokh Conspiracy to be representative? I certainly don't "happen to like" Volokh or his co-conspirators, but at least he supports his arguments with pertinent facts, which is surely the basic requirement for reasonable discourse, but one which most "representative" bloggers fail to meet. Even someone like Instapundit (who I think falls into the second category, but pretends to be non-partisan) finds it difficult to construct arguments consisting of words other than "indeed", "heh" or "More here", which would hardly make him suitable for a national newspaper's blog. And take the Goldberg example - he really is the most moronic, juvenile and lazy of all the Cornerites, so why on earth did the LAT pick him? Why not someone like Derbyshire or Podhoretz who at least write like adults, however objectionable their views?

Perhaps this is all a conservative plot to demonstrate the evils of affirmative action. After all, Domenech was hired only because he was a right-winger.

Nice footwork by Trevino in the homeschooling post, by the way:

Dr P.Z. Myers of the University of Minnesota at Morris, who disagrees with Domenech on unrelated issues, sniffs that he's "not surprised to learn that he is the product of home schooling, which in its worst instances can foster an unfortunately narrow point of view, and" -- the worst from a professional academic's point of view -- "usually means the kid is instructed by someone with absolutely no training in education."

Apparently Josh thinks that Domenech's creationism and refusal to accept evolution is entirely "unrelated" to his education, which is an, um, interesting point of view. Oh and what is wrong with expecting educators to have training? When you hire a plumber do you hire someone with training or a professional?

These people are [naughty, naughty. Please read the posting rules and comply. Thanks - Ed] unbelievable. They even deny it's plagiarism. Apparently it's just inspiration. See the response of Leon H Wolf to hilzoy:

"I saw the movie in question. What both reviews have presented is an accurate description of a phenomenon that is hard to describe. Based on the paragraphs you have here reprinted, you've shown nothing more conclusive than someone who remembered some of the words another reviewer used when describing the visual effect of the ghosts in FF"

Just for the record, these are the first sentences in the reprinted paragraphs:
Ben:

"Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, wriggling countless tentacles and snapping their jaws"

Cox news:

"Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, splaying their tentacles and snapping their jaws, dripping a discomfiting acidic ooze"

You see, Leon saw the movie, so he knows there's no other way to describe it other than "translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls". The english language is just not rich enough to convey that image. And that sentence, it just reverberates in your brain, until you accidentally blurt it out.

And hilzoy also brings up another point that seems to be completely missed in the discussion. Since when do you quote whole sentences from another review in your own review, even if it's attributed? Obviously before he quoted Cox news he went through the hassle of obtaining permission, but he just didn't bother to put it in the review itself. Or, rather, he probably did it in the printed edition, but the lazy bastard who posted it online sabotaged his work.

There's the republican Occam's Razor for you - if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a table that went through an undisclosed procedure in a secret lab where dinosaurs reconstructed from DNA gave it duck qualities.

Some great quotes from your links, Steve: "How many papers/documents have you written in your lifetime? I recently graduated college and they have a nifty new program out there that will literally take your entire paper and sift through it and tell you if there is any bit of plagiarism in it. I would be glad to go through yours and I'd bet my car (not a new one, but it's nice) that you've done it a time or two without even realizing you were doing it. In fact, one thing I've learned in college is that people don't realize how hard it is to NOT plagarize. You'd be hard pressed to find a single person in the entire civilized world that has been required to write a paper that didn't plagarize, whether on purpose or not if they had someone who wasn't specifically schooled in editing for those kinds of things looking over their work."

Wow. I'm a college dropout, myself, but I've written hundreds of thousands of words that are searchable via Google and Google Groups, and I'm perfectly happy for anyone to try to find any pattern of plagiarism in my work. Some occasional parallel ideas, sure, but I'm definitely one of those people who "don't realize how hard it is to NOT plagarize," and I've done a fair amount of professional editing and copyediting, too, over thirty years.

The idea that young Ben got "permission" to write the same words as all this stuff is also hilariously risible. I'd like to hear P. J. O'Rourke's response.

Ginger Yellow: "The intelligent righty blogs aren't representative - would you consider the Volokh Conspiracy to be representative?"

I don't read it much these days, either, although it's still on my blogroll, but it's representative of the intellectual wing of a few threads of libertarian legal views, last I looked.

I definitely amn't going to play "which NRO contributor is more [anything]?," though. :-)

But I'm not much of a lumper in general, as a rule.

retsesivi: I have a certain sympathy for Leon's argument in the abstract. Once, when I was maybe thirteen, I was writing a poem, and wrote 'the still point of the turning world', and it took maybe a week for me to realize that I hadn't come up with it myself -- that it had lodged in my brain and then, later, emerged, stripped of the name 'TS Eliot'. (Maybe if I hadn't been 13, the quality alone would have been a tip-off.)

But not in this case. For one thing, that is not a remotely possible explanation of the PJ O'Rourke piece. For another, that sort of thing does not happen over and over and over and over again.

The thing is, I sort of feel for the RedState editors. I can't imagine what it would feel like if, say, Sebastian were being publicly taken down like this. That said, though, it's just wrong.

A little depresing to skim through that 7days comment thread Roxanne linked to and see all the people complaining that they don't see what the fuss was about with plagiarism, and accusing the people at the site of being "snitches" and evil people for not having kept it "private" and for having been so dreadful as to tell the editors of the site that unknowing used the plagiarized material.

But probably the majority of people are clueless about intellectual property; it's always clearly seemed so, in my experience.

My response above, by the way, relates to a comment in the Red state response by Erick

One last thing. I'm sick and tired of people treating college students like some kind of retards. So what if he was 17? I think the guy is only 24 now. There's absolutely no way he didn't know at the time it was wrong to do that. I'm not saying everyone should be burdened by every youthful indescretion, but this reflects on his character and professionalism. It's not a silly prank. It's a regular column he published in a freaking college paper.

Hilzoy: "But not in this case."

Sure. Anyone can unintentionally replicate a phrase at times, absolutely; that's perfectly easy to do in innocence. Of course.

And describing a movie plot in similar terms can also be done innocently.

But that's not plagiarism, in either case.

Long strips of material, over and over and over, is something else entirely, and that's plagiarism.

Our friends at RedState appear to be exhibiting some serious denial. Hilzoy is being remarkably gracious and gentle as she tries to nudge them towards reality.

I don't blame them for instinctively sticking by their friend. Loyalty is an admirable quality. If someone attacked my friend, I'd like to think my first impulse would be to defend them as well.

But one thing I find truly despicable is when people lie to their friends about their innocence, when they let those friends like like fools for defending them. That shows an astonishing lack of character.

A few weeks back, there was a story about pro football player Ricky Williams, who failed a drug test for about the fifth time in his career. In fact, he had quit the league at one time because he didn't want to give up smoking marijuana.

The media, for whatever reason, went and interviewed his mom, who said there must be some mistake because she knew, she just knew, that Ricky wasn't using that stuff any more. He told her so. He'd changed.

I'll tell you, I couldn't care less about a grown man smoking pot, but lying to your mother? Inexcusable. Now the entire world thinks his mother is a chump, because she did what any mother would do and trusted her son's word.

Anyway, I don't know that lying to your co-bloggers is quite as despicable as lying to your mother, but I think it's very weak of him to let his colleagues at RedState look like fools for following their natural inclinations and sticking up for him.

Steve: roughly that line of thought is part of the explanation for my having commented at RedState at all. (The only other time I can recall doing so was to correct some facts on a stem cell piece. I really do think it's their space, etc., etc.)

Why Domenech? Well, DC native, William & Mary, father works at the White House, I suspect WaPo expected that most valuable commodity, access. Believe it or not...ok believe it, paranoia cest moi...I have always thought Tacitus and the RedState crowd had some very special connections and insider knowledge, and have spent some time trying to read between their lines to know if we are attacking Iran. Condi might know less than Domenech.

Plagiarism is powerful, and will probably do it, but I wish we could have gotten Domenech on substantial grounds from his current and future posts. There would have been many Coretta S King moments I am sure, and an ideological firing would have been more useful. We need to discredit the ideology, not the personnel.

I hear Dana Milbank recommended him. I hope he gets no damage. It is possible that Milbank was set up, but see above on paranoia.

Your fear of being banned was absolutely precious, by the way. They're not THAT trigger-happy! :)

"All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I'd come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side."

Michelle. Hugh. Rush. Glenn. This is the moment. Where will you stand?

retsesivi: Domenech is a creationist, so perhaps we should apply the principles of Intelligent Design to his movie reviews. Clearly the chances of him coming up with such similar passages again and again are like those of a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747.

Gary: I'm not asking you to play "lumping" games. I'm just genuinely baffled as to why these papers with reputations to defend seem to hire the least appropriate people. Unless you go along with Brad DeLong's "discredit the right wing" theory, it's almost inexplicable.

Why Ben? Daily newspaper execs are hyper-focused on reaching young people. And they figure young people want to read young people. WaPo found a dude under 30 who could put nouns and verbs together and had all the additional attibutes mcmanus outlines above.

It just struck me: The college paper has higher standards (which led him to borrow prose from others) than the freakin' Washington Post, which ask no more of him than incoherent, stream-of-consciousness rants. Astounding.

"Steve: roughly that line of thought is part of the explanation for my having commented at RedState at all."

Link?

"I'm just genuinely baffled as to why these papers with reputations to defend seem to hire the least appropriate people."

I don't know whom else you are referring to besides Domenech, but I suspect that there's something to the notion that they're trying to hire an alien.

I suppose there's also something of an effect for pushing the system when you hire too many young prodigies (and here I'm thinking of some other famous recent youthful plagiarists, such as Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair, though Blair's "youth" was 27), though speaking as someone who was writing crap (published only in mimeographed form, fortunately) at age 12 and onwards, and who was otherwise A Smart Kid, I'd hate to see people in their late teens and early twenties not get opportunities, or be regarded with suspicion; which is why I retsesivi that being young is no excuse; one can't have it both ways, and want credit for doing good work when youngish and also have your age taken as an excuse for screwing up; pick one.

but I suspect that there's something to the notion that they're trying to hire an alien.

Not anymore, the Weekly World News already locked Zasnorb IV from the Sirius Cluster into a contract for a weekly column for the next two years.

Well, if nothing else, this is another example in a long, long line of modern Republicans who put the lie to the myth of the meritocracy; an upper-class white male of fair-to-middling talent, little real insight and apparently flexible ethics who has ascended to a position of prestige and success not because he earned it in any discernible way, but because of who he knows and who his parents are. I bet Ben Domenech disapproves of affirmative action, too.

hilzoy, you have it all wrong. Just like your quote of Eliot, young Ben's various indiscretions were nothing more than allusions. Just like you, Mr. Domenech was attempting to rewrite the tradition (of movie criticism) through his reworking of traditional material.

It's not plagiarism, it's just the homage that one artist (of movie criticism) gives to another.

Steve, I just got banned from redstate because I spoke up about somebody else's being banned from redstate, because they posted evidence of the guy's plagiarism. They (for at least a subset of the editors) *are* that trigger-happy.

It is bit sad to see some one given a job without his bona-fides checked. It certainly appears (to a total outsider) that he got the job because of who he is rather than what he can do. It is even sadder that, being a conservative, he probably does not believe people should be employed in this way.
Following links to redstate it is frightening to see them talk about the left as evil. (spartikus link 1:49) Certainly nobody at this site has ranted in ways they describe.
I find all this a good example of the political divide in the US, that has only become worse since 9/11(so it appears to me).
Disregarding all the ranting, plagerism is wrong, plain and simple, no excuses. It is good to see the college newspaper has put up a statement regarding possible plagarism before the review that hilzoy links to. At least they appear to be taking it seriously.

Not anymore, the Weekly World News already locked Zasnorb IV from the Sirius Cluster into a contract for a weekly column for the next two years.

You're thinking of the Weekly Standard. Oh, Zasnorb IV -- I thought you said "Fred Barnes."

Not that fond of Dana "Designated RNC Hitman on John Conyers" Millbank.

True, for a while he asked tough questions. a little while. Pretending to care the way woodward used to. we're seeing the real Bob now.

I hit him a while back on something almost nonpolitical, something where he and his cowriter were quite frankly incorrect (they claimed for the first time ever a majority of americans thought the iraq invasion had not made them safer) and I showed them pretty much bulletproof evidence of that (plenty of polls from 2 years before showing that exact result, including one by ABC, their partner in the new poll), and they simply both weaseled. Well, it wasn't "our" poll. So on that solipsistic basis, even with 2 other (at least) 2 year old polls saying otherwise, we are going to claim they were wrong. and stand by our fantasy.

So Millbank doesn't even give a damn about accuracy in a noncontroversial thing. I say that because you can take their error any way you like, on the one hand, americans have been more out of step with the whore media for longer than they want known, on the other hand, americans felt that way yet bush still got close enough to steal in 2004, so it can't be that big a deal, etc.

Classy...RedState imposes 5 day waiting period for new accounts. And I thought they were against waiting periods...

(yes, yes, piling on is unseemly, but they've been measured and if the word objective has any meaning in these discussions, they have objectively been found wanting.)

But will we hear that Young Ben's work is superior to that he had copied because it is much richer in allusions?

The first thing I noticed, upon reading some of the examples, was that Domenech's versions contain subtle differences that generally make them worse than the originals. Then something else occurred to me. If his excuse is that he had obtained permission but somehow "forgot" to mention that fact, then why is he posting modified versions? In my experience, if you get permission from an author to copy part of their work, you get permission to copy it verbatim to preserve the original author's meaning. It seems extremely unlikely that Domenech has consistently gotten not only permission to use others' work but the extra permission to modify it and/or post it without attribution. That's just not credible. Plagiarism is by far the more likely explanation.

Your fear of being banned was absolutely precious, by the way. They're not THAT trigger-happy! :)

They ban at the drop of a hat. I must say the cognitive dissonance on display over there is quite impressive. Trevino's comments in particular.

"The W&M stuff, in isolation, does not concern me overmuch. (And the W&M honor code, not at all.)"

Nice.

In any case, Kurtz has an interview up with Domenech now. Apparently the fault lies with "a college editor improperly adding language to some of his articles".

Of course the opposition media hires the least competent conservatives - it's a plot to discredit conservatism. They could hire conservatives who know how to write and argue (such as the brilliant Bill O'Reilly, the scintillating Ann Coulter, or the incomparable Michelle Malkin), but that would undermine their anti-american, objectively pro-terrorist agenda. Or something like that.

This is the same Josh Trevino who removed front-page posting privileges from . . . gah, I can't remember the handle . . . Trickster? at Tacitus.org because he wouldn't denounce Communism strenuously enough? That Josh Trevino, who now doesn't advocate kicking people to the curb? Well, OK then.

OT question that's not intended to slam shinypenny. I think of an interview as being pretty much non-interrupted discussion that may be slightly modified, but generally rendered in its raw form. The Kurtz piece isn't what I would call an interview, but am I just behind the times on that?

It's interesting that Domenech was a speechwriter for Tommy Thompson, which I think was also Treviño's gig. I imagine someone is going over Thompson's speeches with a fine tooth comb now.

It's not surprising a founder of Redstate is a plagiarist given their history of tight message control and inability to take criticism.
Redstate is hilariously sensitive when it comes to handing out bans. They will ban people who post totally fact based posts if they counter the current talking points. I have seen people banned for:

1) Countering a claim that Bush has "NEVER" lied.

2) Countering a claim that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

3) Debunking the methodology behind insisting that soldiers are safer in Iraq than in the US.

'Streif' has now even taken to threatening to contact posters ISP's for making unpopular posts. Can anyone name a liberal blog that is this bad?

It does seem to be a classic example of IOKIFYAR. :-)

The Flat Hat is not out of business, at least as far as I know--my spouse is on the faculty at William & Mary.

Here's a link--looks current to me. http://flathat.wm.edu/

I can't believe he's denying this! Man, they are out to lunch!

I know RedState has an itchy trigger finger. On the other hand, I am not banned, so there must be some way to soothe the savage beast.

I suspect hilzoy does not face the ban stick, not only because her posts were characteristically reasonable and nowhere near the line, but also because she buys ink by the barrel. :)

You go girl!

I'll never forget how you really ripped me a new one about plagiarism. You should link to that Hilzoy, and show how you really care about that topic and not just when it's a conservative.

This kind of statement made while posting under false names, Mac...I just don't know what to make of that. I'm sure there's a rich nugget of irony in there somewhere.

I think Glenn Greenwald nails it once again.

Ah, guilt-by-association. I haven't seen anyone reputable use that so casually in a while.

RedState's defense seems to have settled on "which of us never made a mistake in college?" Completely forgotten is Erick's statement at the head of the post referring to "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." That's odd. I mean, here we have Erick saying very clearly that Domenech had permission to use the material he used, and yet all the commentors are acting like he did something wrong.

And Domenech himself is undercutting both groups of defenders: "Domenech said he needed to research the examples but that he never used material without attribution and had complained about a college editor improperly adding language to some of his articles." As a lawyer myself, I feel for the tough spot Erick is in. It's difficult when your client decides to go with a completely different defense than the one you so carefully constructed for him.

This kind of statement made while posting under false names, Mac...

Getting the hang of this IP address thingie, eh Slart? If Mac is who I think it is, I'm more than a little embarrassed.

I have to confess I've done the same thing, myself, but I thought that DKG bit was out of line.

In the comments to Trevino's "mistakes of youth" post, we are seeing another interesting line of defense:

Do you need crediblity to write opinions on a webpage? It's an excuse to appease the far left, nothing more.

I wonder how far the RedState defenders will be willing to take this "blogs are inherently non-credible" argument?

As far as getting banned from RedState, and I have long let my tacitus account lapse and never applied to RS:

I have a general attitude toward commenting on blogs where I am not a regular or have different interests or philosophies or ideologies. I don't. Or do so very gingerly and carefully and politely. I consider it trolling. That goes from RS to Pharyngula(atheism) to the Valve to DKos.

Domenech is a friend of RS. That is not my problem.

You know, I thought about posting a reply on Redstate saying many of the same things that Hilzoy, along with some of the Republicans there with ethics, have been saying--you know, don't hang your hat on this guy, there's more to this than just liberals frothing about a conservative columnist, etc. I have made it this far in commenting there without being banned.

But I just don't care. If Redstate wants to hang their credibility on this clown, then pass the popcorn so I have something to munch on while he goes down in flames. I don't see a loss of credibility for them or their plagiarizing pet rock as anything but a net positive.

The Post ombudsman is saying it's not her job to say anything about Domenech, although she had no problem attacking Dan Froomkin a few months back. Apparently washingtonpost.com is only part of her portfolio when she wants it to be.

The flathat now has this up at the second link posted by hilzoy (I assume it wasn't there when she first linked to it):

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 2001, copied from and failed to cite sources in several articles. The Flat Hat is currently investigating these allegations.

As for redstate banning, I think they get some sort of emotional release from it, some pretending its a mock execution, saying things like "Blam!"

And 4 of the last 5 front page posts there now about this whole thing (a post by Moe being the exception). Each more screeching than the last.

You know it's funny, because I could swear they have published Molly Ivins, (some jokes I understand) Mike Barnicle, (other jokes) Doris
Kearns Goodwin (her Kennedy tome; anyone check
before giving an advance on the Lincoln book or
letting her on Imus or MSNBC; Joseph Ellis, didn't
plagiarize, but he invented whole swaths of his
bio; including his Airborne service in Vietnam, and
aide to Westmoreland. Right off the back, those examples come to mind. We don't even want to bring
up King's plagiarism do we.

LOL.

Yeah it would be just awful embarrassing, except for two facts:

1. It was just a joke, and I assumed by hilzoy's clever response that she at least got it
2. Since I know ya'll can see the IP addressing, and I was using my most common IP address, I knew you knew and you should assume I knew too.

As you would say, "lighten up Francis", but if you think it out of line Slart, then I happily apologize.


Right off the back, those examples come to mind.

These are examples of people whom you claim have plagiarised other writers?

I look forward to the reaction at redstate when Domenech admits his plagiarism. I mean, the O'Rourke thing is irrefutable (the only possible excuse is that he had permission).

The flathat also has a staff editorial on the matter here.

LOL.

Yeah it would be just awful embarrassing, except for two facts:

1. It was just a joke, and I assumed by hilzoy's clever response that she at least got it
2. Since I know ya'll can see the IP addressing, and I was using my most common IP address, I knew you knew and you should assume I knew too.

As you would say, "lighten up Francis", but if you think it out of line Slart, then I happily apologize.

Hey, if it was all in good fun, then my work is done. I figured, as you say, that you couldn't have been stupid enough to think that...but then I thought possibly that you'd thrown that up in haste and annoyance. And I thought that my response was more or less in kind.

Besides, I have no idea to what extent hilzoy bothers to check such things, so the "obviously a joke" factor may not have applied.

Now that I'm done sucking all of the fun out of this situation, have a nice day.

Oh, and: agree with hilzoy or not, her responses are rarely unclever, so I wouldn't take cleverness as a signifier that she got the joke.

Sorry, it looked as if there was just a wee drop of fun left.

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