Friday, March 24, 2006

The Republican Integrity Deficit Is Spreading Throughout The Ranks

The Washington Post has decided to put a right-wing blogger on the payroll, and while I’m glad to see at least some of us bloggers are being treated with a little respect by the mainstream media, it’s a little irritating that the The Post finds it necessary to “balance out” their conservative slant with yet another conservative voice. Do they not read their own paper?

Once I got over the initial irritation (alright fine, it was jealousy), I was able to see that it was good for the blogging profession (I know, calling it a profession is a stretch for sure, but we’re on our way) even if it is a conservative getting the job. But just as I was on the verge of acceptance, Raw Story breaks this little bit of news. Ben Domenech, the new conservative blogger at The Washington Post, is a serial plagiarist. Of course it took good lefty bloggers to dig up the truth, can’t expect The Washington Post to do a better job sniffing out the crimes of its employees than it does sniffing out crimes committed by this administration. Atrios, Kos and Athenae have been diligently digging, and so far have found dozens of examples of blatant lifting by Mr. Domenech from various sources. But really, are any of us surprised? Republicans, by nature, are followers so of course creative endeavors are difficult for them, but this guy was stupid to think he could get away with plagiarism, or perhaps he doesn’t understand blogging beyond transcribing Republican talking points.

As a blogger, I am proud of the work I do, and I take seriously the blogger code of ethics however loosely they are cobbled together at this point. You cite your sources, you give credit to other bloggers when they break a story you blog about, and when you make a mistake, you take responsibility and correct it immediately. At least that’s how it’s done on the left side of the field. So many of us work hard, write well and spend a lot of time crafting our posts. It’s a shame that the lack of ethics within the Republican Party leadership has trickled down to their mouthpieces as well. We knew it had reached The Washington Post, we just didn’t know it had filtered all the way down to the lowly blogger level. We knew they stretched the truth and that they were mean as hell, but we didn’t know they were lifting other people’s words to further the master’s cause.


Anonymous Richard Sepcic said...

I'm sure that you have already seen the good news on this, but in case you haven't, please access the following link...

The Washington Post did ultimately do the right thing after all, thanks to the bloggers who shamed them into taking action. we may not have seen the last of Mr Domenech, but at least we have seen the last of him in Washington Post blogs.

10:54 AM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

Newspapers in the United States are ill equipped for the move into the brave new world that we all live in. The days of the concentration of information gathering and dissemination are over. The people now have the power. The people now have the choice. We only have our chains to lose and we have the world to win!

6:18 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Richard--I didn't find this out until Sunday when I finally went online. I can't say I'm surprised it turned out this way though.

Justice ER--I agree, I just hope that at some point, bloggers are able to make money and don't have to do it simply as a labor of love.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous RichardSepcic said...

The fact that bloggers policed and uncovered unscrupulous bloggers in this case demonstrated the value proposition for bloggers with a level of integrity for their craft that is often missing from traditional journalism. After all, it was the bloggers, not the online journalists, who really broke the story. As long as we have a free flow of information available on the Internet, we will need people with the will and the skills to separate what is true from what is not. Blogging is a great forum to express ones self, but bloggers also have the responsibility to present themselves honestly because the blogging community can and will hold them accountable.

LG, you seem to have that level of integrity, and that has to be worth something. Please don't give up hope that this can be a paying vocation someday!

2:16 PM  

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