Friday, March 24, 2006

WaPo Stumbles, Falls Again

The once great Washington Post keeps falling on its face in its constant campaign to cosy up to the Republican right-wing. Or, maybe it just looks that way every time the Post sinks to its knees in front of the White House and imitates the love techniques of Fox News.

First, the Post continues to bury the news scoops of its own investigative journalist, Walter Pincus, in its back pages, just as it has done since the run-up to the Iraq war when Pincus was practically the only Post reporter whose military, diplomatic, and intelligence sources were raising serious doubts about White House claims over W.M.D. and the eventual consequences of an Iraq evasion.

Next, the Post hired as its new ombudsman a washed-out Minneapolis Star retread by the name of Deborah Howell. Howell immediately sank to her knees and shamelessly began loving up the White House while sniping at the only dot-com WaPo political reporter who isn't in thrall to the White House, Dan Froomkin. When Howell got her facts wrong and was called on it by readers, WaPo simply shut down the reader comment pages.

Now, it seems, the Post's dot-com side has hired a con artist who may be the worst addition to the world of journalism since Jason Blair. WaPo columnist Howard Kurtz today offers a succinct summary of the week-old flap.

The short version is: WaPo Executive Editor Jim Brady hired a callow, home-schooled , ankle-biting right-wing blogger named Ben Domenech. That's his official name, anyway, the one his mother gave him. Unofficially, under other names he gave himself it now appears that Domenech has been authoring articles and columns elsewhere which reveal him to be a serial plagiarist, an outright racist, and an outrageous liar.

If you want some non-succinct versions, check out Firedog Lake, Joe Conason in Salon, and Atrios' Eschaton, whose reader-commenters have been busy compiling examples of Domenech's stolen 'work' written by others. It's quite an oeuvre, ranging from film reviews to obituaries and humor to politics, all shamelessly lifted from other sources.

The Post is embarrassed. But following the protocols of its love object, George W. Bush, it will not acknowledge its mistake, it will not apologize, and it will not change its present course.

Maybe it also will leave this mess for "a future" executive editor.

Amplification Dept.

Even the right-wing American Thinker has had enough: "If we conservatives have any claims to promoting honesty and decency, there will be more calls on the right for Mr. Domenech to do the honorable thing and save himself and his employer the embarrassment of being fired by resigning immediately."

1 comment:

sozzy said...

Take back Congress in 2006 Reason #97: to allow reporters at the Washington Post to cover reasonably honest representatives who are finally holding the White House to account.

If Washington DC emerges from the pool of slime surrounding the likes of Karl Rove and Tom Delay, maybe the Post will be able to clean up too.