Post Pundidn’t Plucked

The Washington Post has been highly criticized since launching a biased blog titled “Red America” written by 24-year-old Ben Domenech, the founder of, as his Post profile puts it, the “web’s leading Republican community blog.”

Why the WPI found it necessary to publish a biased blog (by a bigoted author, no less) without even attempting to balance it led many on the left, and later on the right to demand its removal.
Today, we find Jim Brady red-faced as ever, revealing that Domenech is a phony and a plagiarist:

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

A former employer of Domenech, the National Journal, has documented the plagiarism charges leading to his resignation. Salon lists several passages that Domenech lifted from its site. Jay Rosen of PressThink encourages the Post to hold an “open competition” on the web for its next blogger, and FishBowl DC is accepting nominations. Marty Kaplan notes President Bush’s own history as a plagiarist.

As part of the Bush Administration’s campaign to label the media as liberal reconstructionists, they hired Domenech as a speech-writer and encouraged plagiarism and deception as a political tool

Plagiarism is among the most classless and lowly crimes. Many are calling for a major shake-up at the Post, on the heels of the lies printed by WaPo’s clueless ombudsman Deborah Howell, her criticism of columnist Dan Froomkin and her mysterious defense this week of Domenech. The revelation that they hired a writer who had previously plagiarized a multitude of material disgraces not only the Post’s reputation, but belittles the high journalistic standards demanded by the blogging community.

NYT Researcher to be Freed after 18 months in Chinese Prison

Zhao YanZhao Yan, the New York Times research based in Beijing who was greatly overshadowed by the comparatively brief jail term served by NYT reporter Judith Miller, will be released after 18 months in isolation in a Chinese prison.

The New York Times reports that Zhao has been found not guilty of one charge and may be released within days. Reporters Without Borders:

Zhao, 42, who had been held in custody by state security for 18 months, was facing charges of “divulging state secrets”, an offence punishable by the death penalty, and of “fraud”.

He had been accused of giving the news of the political retirement of Jiang Zemin to his newspaper before it was made known officially. The New York Times has always maintained that the news had not come from Zhao.

“We are absolutely delighted at the announcement of the imminent release of Zhao Yan,” the organisation said. “They have finally accepted the innocence of a brave man who became the scapegoat of a government which scorns investigative journalism”.

Can’t think of a better way to close out Sunshine week — an annual call of attention to current threates to open government — than the news of Zhao’s release. He was awarded for Reporters Without Borders.

The War Against South Park

tom cruise south park
First, Chef jets the set (video), supposedly because he’s insulted by the show’s depiction of religion (namely, HIS religion: Scientology).

Now, it’s on. From AP:

“South Park” has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday ? with Internet rumors it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.

For complete coverage: “Tom Cruise is a Jackass,” “The Power of the Cruise

South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, for their part, took one giant step for mankind with this signed statement to Variety:

“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!”

UPDATE: Even the Washington Post is up in arms… L.A. Times is crying “Closetgate!” …we promise to stay on top of this and all other breaking news…