Just a few days after the premier of Red America the Washington Post‘s short-lived conservative blog caved to hysterical liberal readers that devoured blogger Ben Domenech’s record to find unproven charges of plagiarism dating back to a piece he wrote when he was seventeen.
We’ll have a rundown of the events soon on Human Events Online, but here’s what’s alarming me: Where are the conservatives to defend him?
Conservative journalists are routinely personally attacked. I certainly went through it in college to the extent that a graduate assistant posted photoshopped pornographic images of me all over the web for my conservative principles.
But hardly anyone came to my defense because I created a mock wanted poster of a professor (who had been arrested) who was routing university funds to his cronies as an advertisement for the story. He called it a "hate crime" because the photo (from his website) made him look "Arab."
Now, the same thing is unfolding on the national stage with Ben and the Post.
We can hardly expect the National Review, who fired Ann Coulter after her infamous "We should convert Muslims to Christianity and kill their leaders" column to defend him.
So, who will? In this case, the standard "innocent until proven guilty" wasn’t even considered. Instead, the Post abandoned Ben on account of mean-spirited rumors and personal attacks.
Count me on Ben’s side.
UPDATE — March 25: I will say my remarks above were made in haste, without closely reviewing all of the plagerized material, but I don’t retract my support for Ben.
As I noted, I still believe that conservatives were too quick to scorn Ben’s alleged misdeeds without waiting for a explanation, or the apology he gave today.
Once again it seems were are too willing to abandon our own in the midst of controvesy, this time based the poor judgment of a seventeen year old college kid.
I certainly don’t condone plagerism, but I fully appreciate and respect a person who admits to his mistakes and offers a sincere apology.
I don’t think most of us, including myself, would like actions we took as seventeen year olds dragged through the national spotlight and becoming the basis of losing the opportunity to write for the Post.
I’ll admit, I’m very sympathetic to this issue. I’m just a year younger than Ben and for the reasons noted above, I have felt scorned by fellow conservatives for doing something "out of line." I was both saddnened and angered by conservatives eager to wash their hands of Ben, despite his numerous and lasting contributions to the movement.
If we can learn one thing from this situation I think it’s this: as absolutely unfair as it is, conservatives are often held to higher standards than liberals. Now, with in the age of Internet where anyone Ben and I’s age have a massive amount of material online about ourselves we are held accountable for even our adolescent mistakes.
We watched liberals tear apart Judge Alito’s impeccable record through his confirmation hearings and reject him on ridiculous charges that an organization he once belonged to may have once published something questionable. Michelle Malkin wrote a whole book based on vicious hate mail she’s has recieved. We get kicks out of reading reports of Ann Coulter being lashed at on college campuses.
It’s just not easy being a conservative, but the relentless attacks have only proven to make those who are forced to turn a deaf ear against them that much stronger.
I wonder with these incredibly high standards, who will ever be accepted in the public eye.
But, at the same time I’m not worried. Ben, I know we’ll be hearing from you again.