I don't think it's even been 24 hours since I first heard of Ben Domenech, yet the guys name is plastered all over place. First it's just a move of pure bias on the part of the Washington Post, getting out the conservative message while ignoring any and all journalistic ethics (yes he's not a journalist, but the paper is, and it publishing him changes the rules.) Shortly thereafter, Media Matters is calling for the Post to fire him
for being a bigot, and now theres a million accusations of plagiarism
to go along with a healthy dose of "he's an ass". And just why the hell am I even talking about it, when it's been covered by every talking bloghead on the planet?
The controversy (if this even qualifies as such) reminds me of when MSNBC hired conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage in 2003 in a sad attempt to increase their ratings. MSNBC was warned by many public interest groups that Savage was a racist, bigot, sexist, and all around unpleasant goon. MSNBC defended him as a person that inspires lively debate, and the man certainly delivered. Despite all the warnings and protests, Savage made his way on the air with a happy MSNBC backing him all the way. Happy that everyone in the news circle were talking about them, and how they hired this disgusting human being to speak for them.
Michael Savage was fired on 7/7/2003. "His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one", says MSNBC's spokesman, Jeremy Gaines. Oh really, you think? Telling one of your callers they should get AIDS and die only offends gay people right? I thought MSNBC wanted hatred and sensationalism. Well, you got it. And now so has the Washington Post.
Both MSNBC and the Post decided to go out and get themselves a bad boy to get attention, and they got exactly what they wanted. It's just pathetic that both these so-called news organizations aren't more interested in just telling damn news, but instead only want the newest and most obnoxious talking head to stir up crap just for the sake of it.
It's of little surprise to me that the Washington Post would hire a conservative analyst/blogger/pundit to increase their readership, though. It's the only thing keeping MSNBC and FOX News afloat anymore and they probably well aware of that fact. These tools pull in the ratings because they are sensational, but in a totally mean spirited way. You can be sensational without being a jerk about it, though this fact seems to escape these people.
I'm not going to associate Domenech's actions as an accused
plagiarist with his conservative ideals like some people have, but I think the lesson here is that his issues went far beyond being an ass, and the due diligence that comes with that catchy phrase "journalistic integrity" could have, and should have, made sure this guy was never a valid option for publication. But I suppose when you stop caring about journalism, and start caring solely about having the loudest voice in the room, this is what you get.
And for something completely useless, here is Ben Domenech interviewing Jon Stewart
not too long ago.