Friday, April 16, 2010

Pure and irresponsible speculation on the blogger's part

Buried within a story about the Kagan/Domenech flap, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post writes:

The [Washington] 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.

Plagiarism is frequently used as a pretextual device by conservative/liberal critics to get rid of opposing liberal/conservative advocates. Domenech was accused of plagiarism in a movie review and in stuff in a college newspaper. On the flip side, Biden was attacked for plagiarism in a law school writing class at Syracuse.

In the present incident related to Kagan, CBS "re-broadcast" Domenech's allegations and initially stood by the decision:

Dan Farber, editor in chief of, said that Domenech's column "just got through our filters" and that if his staff had seen "a controversial statement like that, we'd want to get more evidence of its accuracy" before publishing it. "But once it is out there," Farber said, "the better approach is just to address it head-on rather than trying to sweep it under the rug."

The Kurtz article also included:

Farber said in a statement that "after looking at the facts we determined that it was nothing but pure and irresponsible speculation on the blogger's part."

IPBiz had discussed the earlier Domenech plagiarism business:

Concerning lists of blogging tips
, which post included some potentially troubling things about Kagan:

Has it occurred to you that the reason Summers and Kagan were so "firmly convinced" Tribe's plagiarism was the product simply of "inadvertence" was that Tribe's defense was, basically, "my ghostwriter did it"? That would be a valid defense to intentional plagiarism, wouldn't it? Kagan seems to have some personal experience with Tribe's extensive use of ghostwriters, as it seems she was one of Tribe's ghostwriters in the1980s as a student. Someone with a sense of humor (maybe a warped one) is impersonating Tribe at, and there "Tribe" talks about the 32 students who wrote the second edition of his treatise. I thought it was a joke, but the preface actually lists 32 students (obviously they drafted much of it, which is why he needed so many students; as you pointed out with Judge Posner, it takes many fewer helpers if one writes a book oneself, and typically Posners books have only one to three research assistants). And one of the students is "Elena Kagan," who I assume is the same Elena Kagan who is now dean.

Washington Post blogger accused of plagiarism

WH blasts CBS News blogger's column about Kagan's sexuality


On "Face the Nation" on April 18: "People will say anything when they have the cloak of anonymity." In context, the comment was about anonymous bloggers. However, in light of the ghostwriting issues above, it apparently applies to anonymous ghostwriters.

[Kathleen Parker piece on Face the Nation]


from Michael Yaki:

But there is another ethics side of blogging that has had me hit the "pause" button on occasion. Indeed, it caused me to take down a post just a few days ago -- not because of any factual problems, which were all taken from Chronicle stories, but because, in the end, as much as I thought I made a valid point, it was something that I didn't need to say.


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