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What Will The Left Do To Ben Domenech’s Replacement?

I hope the hardcore lefties who went after former Washingtonpost.com blogger Ben Domenech are finished gloating.

Yes, thanks to liberal bloggers uncovering numerous instances of plagiarism, Domenech is gone from Washingtonpost.com after less than a week. Yet how pathetic is it that the biggest victory the left can celebrate in some time is not an electoral or policy triumph, but the public humiliation of a 24-year-old pundit?

Reading through the comment sections of such left-wing blogs as DailyKos.com, it’s apparent that those at the radical end of the spectrum were fundamentally opposed to the decision to hire a conservative blogger to begin with; even if the person in question turned out to have an impeccable track record, they would have been agitating for his removal.

The central complaint of the left was that Domenech was supposedly hired to counterbalance Dan Froomkin, the Washingtonpost.com blogger whose postings have been criticized for liberal extremism. According to David Brock of Mediamatters.org (a website which arguably led the quest for Domenech’s scalp), "…there are, however, no progressive bloggers–and no one left of center with the credentials of a political operative–on washingtonpost.com to provide balance to Domenech. The Post’s other bloggers are journalists, such as former washingtonpost.com editor Dan Froomkin and Post political writer Chris Cillizza. The launch of Red America comes in the wake of criticism aimed at Froomkin. Post ombudsman Deborah Howell criticized Froomkin’s ‘White House Briefing’ column as ‘highly opinionated and liberal’ in her December 11, 2005, column and advocated that its name be changed to prevent readers from thinking Froomkin was a Post White House reporter. Froomkin responded, writing: ‘I do not advocate policy, liberal or otherwise. My agenda, such as it is, is accountability and transparency. I believe that the President of the United States, no matter what his party, should be subject to the most intense journalistic scrutiny imaginable.’ But even if one were to accept the idea that Froomkin is a ‘liberal,’ the fact remains that Froomkin is a journalist and has been for 18 years, with the Winston-Salem Journal, the Miami Herald and the Orange County Register in addition to nearly a decade with the Post. He is the deputy editor of NiemanWatchdog.org, a website of Harvard University’s Neiman Foundation for Journalism."

For Brock to argue that Froomkin does not qualify as a "progressive blogger" because he happens to be a journalist is fundamentally dishonest. In addition, even if Washingtonpost.com hired a conservative who had a journalistic track record equivalent to that of Froomkin, it would not stop the far left from calling for the conservative blogger’s dismissal.

There is talk that Washingtonpost.com plans to replace Domenech with a conservative with a superior journalistic history. I hope he or she is prepared for a left-wing onslaught twice, if not three times, as intense as that which greeted Domenech.

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Mr. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer. He operates a blog called Notes from D.R.

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