So CBS decided to give Ben Domenech an online column, and guess what happened:
The White House ripped CBS News on Thursday for publishing an online column by a blogger who made assertions about the sexual orientation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, widely viewed as a leading candidate for the Supreme Court.
Ben Domenech, a former Bush administration aide and Republican Senate staffer, wrote that President Obama would “please” much of his base by picking the “first openly gay justice.” An administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing personal matters, said Kagan is not a lesbian.
CBS initially refused to pull the posting, prompting Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director who is working with the administration on the high court vacancy, to say: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” She said the network was giving a platform to a blogger “with a history of plagiarism” who was “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”***
The Post’s Web site briefly hired Domenech as a conservative blogger in 2006. He resigned three days after his debut after a flurry of plagiarism allegations that were trumpeted by liberal Web sites. The sites found signs of plagiarism in a movie review he wrote for National Review Online and, earlier, in his writing for the College of William & Mary’s student newspaper.
And thus ends our bi-annual Ben Domenech drama, until he is hired by ABC News in 2012 and we have another “incident.”
They didn’t mention the most pathetic part: one of the people he was plagiarizing from was the Doughy Pantload. Can’t set the bar much lower than that.
Karen in GA
Oh, for sake of fuck — this guy again? How did he even get that gig?
Lee from NC
Jesus effin Christ it must be nice to be a wingnut. Never have to say you’re sorry, never have to worry about finding a job, never have to think too hard. Life is handed to you on a silver platter so that you can turn around and bitch and moan about how the brown people simply aren’t working hard enough to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
There must be some sort of nepotistic connection that can get him work now and then. If only there had been some way to stop Jonah Goldberg when there was still time.
I have to say I like the fact that this story appeared in the WaPo, and not just on Media Matters, Sadly, No! and the like. It means that this story might get wider circulation, giving both CBS the embarrassment and Domenech the additional ding to his reputation that they richly deserve.
So many actual journalists in 2010 can’t find work and/or have to live like grad students into middle age, and this hack receives deferential treatment every step of the way.
The Post probably felt that relieved that someone else got burned by Box Turtle Ben, so now at least they can share the shame.
That is a time-tested Karl Rove tactic. Whisper campaigns. One look would tell you Mitty is flaming gay. There you go…
Has he done the Weekly Standard yet? Seems like the next logical stop.
Right-wing blogger lies, dogs bark, Zeitgeist moves on.
August J. Pollak
You know what’s really annoying about all of this? TMZ.com is probably the most vapid, pointless, irritating “news” outlet on the planet, doing nothing but finding out salacious, unnecessary tidbits about so-called important people, and yet they still have a better research and fact-checking department than CBS or any major news network. And it’s because they’re probably ten times more worried about actually facing repercussions for anything they say that turns out to be bullshit.
Way to go, CBS, for not bothering to make the effort of the mid-day syndicated show that comes between Judge Joe Brown and Maury Povich to report whether or not Tila Tequila has herpes.
@MattF: The problem isn’t that a right-wing blogger lies. That’s old, old shit, it will go on forever, and it isn’t particularly important.
The problem is when major media outlets give a megaphone to the confirmed liars of the right. It’s hard to imagine someone over the age of 2 who would be more unqualified than Ben Domenech to be given a prominent perch to share his musings, given his combined track record of stupidity and plagiarism. Hell, he makes the WaPo’s Marc Thiessen look like a respectable hire by comparison.
Heads should roll at CBS because of his hiring – not only Domenech’s, but the head of everyone who thought hiring Domenech made a lick of sense.
The so-called allegations against Domenech’s solid reporting look like they were written on a specialized computer font which is only available to comic book superheroes, thus the smears should stop.
I’d love to see CBS pay a price for their fecklessness in publishing the work of a known liar and right-wing ideologue. Ditto for the WaPo, and ditto CNN. But I don’t expect that to happen.
What I do, however, think is happening (very slowly), is that the relentless lies, the separation from reality, the unpleasant facts about the actual policies that wingers support are all becoming apparent, even to people who aren’t paying much attention. This is the hopey-changey thing, I know; but do I think it’s really happening.
Ann B. Nonymous
I’ve been wondering what Domenech has been up to, especially with his gallant defender Erick Erickson regularly spraying the inside of my television screen with a fine mist of pork chop grease. Looks like “Augustine” has truly found the City of God.
Fellow Red State alumnus Joshua Treviño is still playing Wormtongue for Chuck DeVore, right? What a candidate, what a stepping-stone. Even his name sounds like a cartoon–Cruella DeVil’s ex-boyfriend with a taste for exotic meats, or the sixth paterfamilias in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the one that Roald Dahl’s publisher rejected as too disturbing for children.
Well, it could be worse: They could give James O’Keefe his own show after he…y’know what, I’m not gonna finish that sentence. Don’t wanna give them any ideas.
Is it okay to admit that as an out of work writer who can’t get ARRESTED, this shit makes me stabby to the eleventy power. Fuck!
Unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo? Hey, that’s Jeffrey Rosen’s job!
Fleas correct the era
There really isn’t anything a winger can do that’s bad enough to be kicked to the curb by Our Nation’s Liberal Media, is there?
I loved the Post’s story, too. “Signs of plagiarism in a movie review he wrote for National Review Online and, earlier, in his writing for the College of William & Mary’s student newspaper” Signs of plagiarism. Isn’t that glorious writing?
@mslarry: We can only pray that in the next decade, too ethical to hire will become a badge of honor for you. Good Americans dig blacklisted writers.
Very classy use of “if” here. Makes that apology really “sincere.”
Isn’t it time to have Malkin stalk this woman to catch her holding hands with another woman (who will turn out to be her mother).
Let’s just reinforce this point a last time: It NO LONG MATTERS to CBS or any of these outfits whether the report was true or not. They will have noticed a discernible increase in page views as a result of this crapulence and chalk it up to a good week for their Web site. The calculus is as cynical as that. It’s also automated.
But I’ll predict something grimly optimistic: the economy will improve soon enough to the point where outlets that news have some hope to live on will do less and less of this pandering to the reactionaries. The tea party industrial complex is one of the only cash engines out there today. It’s a lot of people who have time and money to waste creating paranoia and buying snake oil, and every news outlet — not just FOX — wants a piece of that action. but once there’s some other action out there, the tea gangsters will be less and less the go-to outfit for fast dough needed to get through the week.
Even FOX realizes this. Murdoch is so damn quick off the mark — he senses the backlash against the Teatards and is already shifting a bit against them, hoping to draw mainstream and even leftist eyeballs. He won’t kill that golden goose, but he’ll offer some bones to the non-crazies in the simple name of adding viewers. Watch and learn.
Isn’t it time to have Malkin stalk this woman to catch her holding hands with another woman (who will turn out to be her mother).
And you have to know she’ll catch them in a kitchen…with GRANITE COUNTERTOPS.
We have a generic catch-phrase at Casa Tornello, one that we invoke whenever we find ourselves shaking our heads at someone getting a plum job (or column, or government position, etc.) for which he or she is clearly unqualified: Naked pictures!.
Meaning, Mr. Domenech had compromising photos (or evidence of malfeasance, etc.) pertaining to someone influential at the WaPo, and similarly, now has “naked pictures” of someone influential at CBS. The mind boggles. But that’s the only explanation for such a talentless person being repeatedly hired by institutions one would assume had some sort of…standards.
That’s exactly what box turtle Ben wants.
I suspect hiring people like Domenech are deliberate decisions smarmily couched as fresh & encouraging stimulating discussion. Right. The Nancy Grace segment of upper management want uproar, outrage & verbal brawling because they think that sells, imo. It’s entertainment, baby.
There’s a line I learned in J-school lo those many years ago: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” But Domenech was content to repeat a rumor in a speculative blog post. This network’s news department was once led by Murrow and Cronkite, remember.
Would someone tell me who in the world would hire this dirty kleenex of a journalist for CBS? What is with Right Wing journalists; they always fail upward.
@Karen in GA: How many conservative commentators are there? How many can string 2 sentences together? How many can get a column out these days without dropping ‘nigger’ like Palin drops ‘also’s? Hey, plagiarism doesn’t help, but then the audience CBS is trying to reach with this hire doesn’t care about facts, let alone stealing other people’s words.
I have a suggestion: Gibbs should start every WH briefing with a fact check session of everything that has been printed/aired about the WH from the previous day. I’d be willing to be that activity takes up the entire briefing period, leaving the pool with nothing else to report. When they complain, Gibbs can explain that they’ll start getting information when their outlets learn to fact-check their own work.
Interesting reading. If Gibbs ever had a fact check on what POTUS says they’d never get to anything else. But I digress.
I don’t get this outrage at CBS – they have been an obedient mouthpiece for the left and Obama passing on the party line without question. So they screwed up once and let some marginal guy repeat a rumor. Damn, isn’t that what HuffPo and other liberal blog sites do all the time? If it appears to slime the right – true or not – it gets printed and sprayed all over the blogosphere with great glee.
This is the pot calling the kettle black. And before you get your panties in a knot that wasn’t a racist comment.
OK, I get that the writer here is a douche.
But regarding the subject matter at hand, I don’t have a problem at all with Kagan being referred to as openly gay, because she IS openly gay, has a long time partner, etc. and it’s great and fine and groovy with me.
If this were some straight, married nominee, the press would be talking about his/her spouse/family, etc, so why should that not be the case now?
The idea that Kagan’s already public/personal life is something to ignore or sweep under the rug is very SHAME based and should be rejected. I think it’s weird: you can always tell when a public figure is gay simply because the press acts as though they have NO personal life or human attachments, whereas if they’re married that’s all we hear about.
I am gay and have a partner myself, and if I were ever nominated for anything or took a public role in life I would proudly and most definitely have him on my arm and in my bio.
This makes it sound like there was some debate about the veracity of the claims.
It’s actually pretty sad that liberal blogs are about the only resource available if you want something close to “the truth” about anything to do with modern-day domestic politics & government.
Totally agree with all above re BD and his general unworthiness to draw air.
However, wouldn’t it be nice if, when a blot on the landscape like Box Turtle Ben threw out what he evidently views as a horrifying slur – “OMG, she’s gay!” – the rest of the world said, “So?”
While I obviously have no idea one way or the other of Ms. Kagan’s orientation, why is the first reaction always “No s/he’s not!” like it’s: a) a bad thing or b) any of our business anyway.
I’m sure I’m not saying this well, but you know what I mean.
I wonder, though, from the WaPo piece:
I wonder if everyone agrees with this, or if they feel the media isn’t doing its job by not reporting this. Me, I have no problems with this policy.
He resigned three days after his debut after a flurry of plagiarism allegations that were trumpeted by liberal Web sites. The sites found signs of plagiarism in a movie review he wrote for National Review Online and, earlier, in his writing for the College of William & Mary’s student newspaper.
“Allegations”? They weren’t just allegations, they were proven. And they weren’t “signs of” plagiarism — they were straightforward instances of word for word, sentence for sentence plagiarism.
Poor Ben. You are not allowed to copy from others and you can’t just make things up. Journamalism is hard.
@tim: Tim, you said what I was struggling to get out.
Domenech’s columns come up periodically in my news feed. They are just as filled with baseless ad hominem and hyperbole as one might expect. Since baseless ad hominem and hyperbole are pretty much the mother’s milk of quite a lot of media, I’d say CBS is getting exactly what they want out of the guy.
@John: The irony is strong with this one.
I admit I don’t quite understand the thrust of the outrage: from what I’ve heard, Kagan, while not “officially out”, seems to be known to be gay at Harvard. So I’m not that fazed by unsubstantiated rumours flying around – that seems par for the course in today’s media landscape. (see: Rosen, Jay). What I’m more outraged about is that apparently, she has been outed against her will, while the MSM is bending over backwards to avoid doing this, and instead hushing it in the case of other public persons like Crist or Graham.
Wow. What a weasel statement – which goes on in the vein of he said/she said. Wouldn’t it be nice if the WaPo informed their readers if the allegations were actually, you know, true? Particularly as it concerns their own hiring who, additionally, actually resigned after these allegations appeared.
litbrit: yes. Naked Pictures. What other explanation is there?
And can I comment on the “Harvard rumor” portion of his non-apologetic apology? WTF? “Harvard rumors” are okay to publish, but garden-variety rumors aren’t? Is he trying to insinuate that he has some connection to Harvard? He didn’t graduate from there, didn’t attend there….
That implies there was a mistake in this story somewhere? I don’t see it.
CBS hired this fuckstick to generate exactly this kind of garbage. He obliged, because even losing this job over it is the next step up in the right-wing media ladder.
Next stop: FOX News or NRO or somewhere else at an even higher wingnut welfare bracket.
@Candia: Yet Digby says this:
So is Kagan really “known to be gay at Harvard” or just assumed to be gay based on being unmarried?
I’m also seeing bald assertions that she lives openly with a partner, and bald assertions that she does not.
So I’m having a little trouble figuring out what is wheat and what is chaff here.
Oh yeah. Consider me confused.
One of the more interesting questions this raises, which I’ve yet to see explored, is many shades of gray that have developed regarding public acknowledgment/comment on one’s sexual orientation. There is not just “closeted” and “out,” and Kagan (if she is a lesbian) seems to fall into that gray area. People I talked with last weekend from Harvard Law said that it’s “an open secret,” whatever that means. Does it mean that she introduces her colleagues to her dates/partner, but doesn’t bring it up in class? Does it mean she’s tried to keep it a secret but with little success? Does it mean she’s not gay at all, but that people assume that she is?
Tim, what’s the basis for saying that “she IS openly gay?” I’ve never seen anything suggesting that she is “openly” gay.
Now that is a great idea. Public shaming by the WH may be the only thing that makes these “news” organizations think twice about the lies they print.
You know what strikes me a most nauseating about all this?
The head-shot on the WaPo story — it’s of Solicitor General Kagan. The story has NOTHING to do with her; it’s entirely a story about the misbehavior of Box Turtle Ben. Why is her picture there, instead of *his*?
Are you sure you’re not thinking of Pamela Karlan?
@ Betsy and FlipYrWhig:
I live in Jamaica Plain, MA, (SW of downtown Boston) with my partner. We have friends among the Harvard community/staff. Elena K is known to be gay and partnered; it’s common knowledge over there, and it’s never been an issue of any kind.
I do hope that if she is officially nominated she will drop the pretense. As I said in an earlier post, the dont’ ask don’t tell pose exacerbates and contributes to the culture of SHAME so many gay folks, myself included, grew up with and were abused by. Long past time to put a stop to that.
If a strong, intelligent, successful attorney can’t find the balls or ovaries to publicly be who she is, I find it kind of pathetic. But that said, I also know a number of financially successful, partnered gay folks who still strive to keep their relationships in the shadows and closeted. Sad and disgusting, in my opinion. I try to remember they are emotionally damaged and fearful.
All that said, I don’t really want Kagan nominated anyway…from what I’ve read she is far too right-ish and fond of Bush-flavored notions of executive/government overreach.
Harvard rumors are East-coast elitist rumors, dripping with perverted filth and hatred of America
Well, “they”, the media, do not exactly stress personal-family-stuff like political spouses who work as lobbyists for business interests the Congresscritters are supposed to be regulating — Phil Gramm’s wife and the banksters, or Haddassah Lieberman and the vampire squids of the insurance industry. On the other hand, when Dr. Mrs. Howard Dean tried to avoid being used as a campaign accessory, the Media Village Idiots responded with a combination of outrage and befuddlement… they could not understand why someone, anyone, would NOT want to be on the teebee at all times for any reason.
I’d like to see the media stop treating spouses as colorful props, and do their actual jobs to follow the money and report on what we need to know as an informed electorate. Not that Lynn Cheney published some softcore lesbian porn in the 1970s, but which industries were funnelling money to her in the 2000s, when her husband was running the most powerful country on the planet for his own benefit and that of a small coterie of cronies.
Fleas correct the era
Or “media critic” Howard Kurtz…