Friday, March 24, 2006

Copycat

As Fred Allen, the famous radio wit, once noted, “Imitation is the sincerest form of television.” It seems, as Salon.com notes, that it is also the sincerest form of blogging for Ben Domenech. A lot of bloggers who are not happy with the Washington Post’s hiring of Mr. Domenech for the perceived imbalance of having a right-wing blogger without the equivalent of a leftie are now on their case for hiring a guy who is, shall we say, indifferent to the First Commandment of writing: don’t plagiarize.

Besides Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek and Mary Elizabeth Williams, the other writers flattered by the right-wing Washington Post blogger include critic Steve Rhodes and humorist P.J. O’Rourke.

Therein follows a side-by-side comparison of several articles, and some of the Liberal Coalition (see below) have also weighed in.

When this whole thing — hiring a rightie blogger by the Post — started up, I really didn’t think much of it, figuring that it was basically a lot of inside-the-Beltway bazz-fazz. But when the accusations and proof of plagiarism were brought out, that’s when my ears perked up.

To me, as both a writer of fiction and scholarly work, plagiarism is a capital offense. I don’t care if Mr. Domenech is right, left, or tipping over, but if he’s intentionally stolen other people’s writings and passed it off as his own, he should be fired. Case closed.

Update: He resigned today — in order to avoid the ignominy of being fired.

Second Update: And he went out in a blaze of snarkery:

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.

No admission of guilt, no apology to his friends and family who stood up for him or to the people at the Washington Post.com who hired him. Nope, just the same self-indulgent over-the-top post-adolescent crap. The guy’s a class act.

(HT to TPM.)