On April 15, CBS News published an “opinion” article by serial-plagiarist and right-wing blogger Benjamin Domenech pushing unsubstantiated, un-sourced gossip about Solicitor General Elena Kagan's personal life that has now been flatly denied by the White House.
In 2006, Domenech was forced to resign as a writer for The Washington Post's website following revelations that he had engaged in repeated plagiarism.
Commenting at the time on the controversy, conservative blogger Rick Moran reportedly wrote that “Ben Domenech is not the kind of writer we want representing the conservative viewpoint at The Washington Post or anywhere else.”
But that apparently didn't stop CBS from publishing Domenech's description of Kagan today. The article, which CBS says it “reprinted with permission” from Domenech's New Ledger website, states (emphasis added):
1. Elena Kagan (49), Solicitor General of the United States.
The likeliest candidate, and it was somewhat of a surprise she didn't get picked last time. Pluses: would please much of Obama's base, follows diversity politics of Sotomayor with first openly gay justice (so would Karlan and Sullivan). [Update: While Karlan and Sullivan are open about it, I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted -- odd, because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.] Minuses: Seen as too moderate by some on the left; people like Arianna Huffington and Glenn Greenwald strongly dislike her because of her positions on executive power and anti-terror activities. Could be seen as a thumb in the eye of the civil liberties folks.
Later, CBS added an “editor's note” explaining that “a White House spokesperson said that Domenech reference to Ms. Kagan as gay is innaccurate [sic].”
So CBS sought “permission” to reprint an article in which the author claimed -- citing absolutely no evidence -- that a leading candidate for the Supreme Court is “openly gay.”
But Kagan is not “openly gay.” So CBS has also published Domenech's “update,” in which he alleges that Kagan is “closeted” and asserts -- again, citing absolutely no evidence -- that Kagan has a “female partner” who is “rather well known in Harvard circles.”
CBS apparently waited until hours after publishing the piece to attempt to find out whether any of this is true, and they've now been forced to acknowledge that the White House says it isn't.
On top of all this, the author of the piece is a discredited plagiarist whose past contributions to discussions of the federal judiciary apparently include declaring that judges who uphold abortion rights “are worse then [sic] the KKK.”
Kagan's personal life is completely irrelevant to her job as solicitor general and her potential nomination to the Supreme Court. So why is CBS spreading gossip about it?