But are any lessons learned here?
Jim Brady at WashingtonPost.com:
…When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.
Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.
We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.
We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.
Then there is Ben Domenech himself at at RedState.com. RedState.com is the online community he co-founded. After reading thru this long piece, where he belittles the charges against him (that look very confirmed by the way) his signoff is what really struck me:
To my friends: thank you for your support. To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America.
That says it all if you ask me. But ya know, I’m kinda slow sometimes, so not being a RedState.com user I followed the comments from Domenech’s post and found this beauty:
Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.
To those conservatives who couldn’t wait to find wrongdoing where none existed: Gee, funny you didn’t get all hyped up about this with Bob Bork. Or Sam Alito. I guess maybe your common sense detector — or decency reserve — only kicks in when it gets you something you want?
You’re all dead to me, as well. Too bad: One lady in particular was a favorite writer of mine. Ah, well.
Nice community there. Real swell. Not that they’d want me – but I’m certainly never going back.
Here’s the thing, from Atrios, and what I pretty much agree with:
The Post does not have to provide balance in its opinion section any more than the Wall Street Journal does. What the Post should not do is hire a conservative for the purpose of balancing journalists in order to bow to the pressure of conservatives. The former is an editorial decision, the latter is fundamentally dishonest as it tacitly admits something which isn’t true.
Pundits != Journalists. It’s apples and oranges. If they hired a liberal and a conservative pundit to go at each other, Crossfire style, there would be no uproar. If they hired a conservative JOURNALIST to provide contrast to a liberal journalist, there would be no uproar.
I know there is nuance there. People don’t like nuance. But it’s important and has to do with trust.
More by Jay Rosen who has a few ideas for washingtonpost.com.