Responding to the widespread criticism of the launch of washingtonpost.com's Red America weblog by Republican operative Ben Domenech, Howard Kurtz defended the Washington Post's actions by mischaracterizing the criticism of Domenech and minimizing the widespread accusations of plagiarism levied against Domenech. Those same accusations led to Domenech's resignation from washingtonpost.com on March 24.
Responding to readers inquiring about the controversy surrounding washingtonpost.com's recently resigned Republican activist blogger Ben Domenech, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell refused to comment on the matter, claiming that the Post and washingtonpost.com are separate entities "under totally different management." But in December 2005, Howell did comment on washingtonpost.com, characterizing blogger Dan Froomkin's online-only "White House Briefing" column as "highly opinionated and liberal." Further, if Howell's jurisdiction as the Post's ombudsman does not encompass the Washington Post website, as she suggests, then who is the ombudsman for washingtonpost.com?
During a March 21 press conference, the White House press corps failed to challenge President Bush after he offered a misleading and evasive answer about his reasons for invading Iraq in response to a question asked by Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas.
Dragonfire, Drexel University's interactive online journal, catalogued further inflammatory comments made on the Republican community weblog RedState by "Augustine," which is reportedly the pseudonym used by Ben Domenech, the Republican activist hired to launch the Red America weblog on washingtonpost.com.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote about President Bush's exchange with syndicated columnist Helen Thomas during Bush's March 21 news conference, in which he claimed that by calling on Thomas "for the first time in three years," Bush found "a useful foil" that allowed him "not only to punch back but to show the country that he's up against a left-wing press corps."
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Washingtonpost.com's newly hired Republican blogger Ben Domenech, in a post about the Supreme Court on his previous weblog, wrote that "[t]he worst black-robed men and women are worse then [sic] the KKK." He also asked rhetorically: "In the past 30 years, how many innocent lives has the KKK ended? How about the Judiciary?"
Washingtonpost.com's newly hired Republican blogger Ben Domenech called Coretta Scott King "a communist."
Washingtonpost.com launched its Red America weblog, authored by Ben Domenech, an editor at the conservative Regnery Publishing Inc. But while Domenech's partisan political credentials are well-established -- he served as a speechwriter for the Bush administration and for Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and is a co-founder of the partisan weblog RedState.com -- his journalism credentials are much more thin.
The Washington Post let pass the third anniversary of the Iraq war without printing an in-house editorial, thereby also foregoing another opportunity to retract or correct significant falsehoods it promulgated in support of the war. By contrast, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times both ran unsigned editorials addressing the war on March 19, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
A Washington Post article reported that a recent GOP bill would require the Bush administration "to convince" two congressional subcommittees that individual cases of extended warrantless domestic surveillance are necessary, implying that the eavesdropping would not continue unless the committees were convinced. To the contrary, under the bill, the subcommittees do not have the authority to approve or reject the continued surveillance.
In reporting on Sen. Russ Feingold's call for the censure of President Bush for authorizing the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program, numerous media outlets have repeated the Republican talking point that Feingold's action provides an opportunity for Bush and the GOP to regain ground by turning the public's attention back to national security.
In reporting on President Bush's March 14 remarks on the Medicare prescription drug program, The Washington Post and the Associated Press both uncritically repeated Bush's claim that 26 million senior citizens have voluntarily enrolled in the program. In fact, the number of seniors who voluntarily enrolled is about 5 million, or one-fifth of the number touted by Bush and repeated by the Post and AP.
Washington Post staff writer Shailagh Murray reported, in an article about Sen. Russ Feingold's censure resolution, that Democrats are "wary of polls showing that a majority of Americans side with the president on wiretapping tactics." Actually, polls consistently show that most Americans disapprove of the wiretapping tactics the administration has used -- specifically, conducting surveillance without seeking or obtaining a warrant.