March 23, 2006
James M. Brady
Executive editor, Washingtonpost.com
Executive editor, The Washington Post
Boisfeuillet Jones Jr.
Publisher and chief executive officer, The Washington Post
Donald E. Graham
CEO and Chairman of the Board, The Washington Post Co.
Chairman, The Washington Post
CEO & Publisher, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
Dear Messrs. Brady, Downie, Jones, and Graham, and Ms. Little:
I write today to request that you terminate Ben Domenech's employment and affiliation with the Washington Post.
We appreciate the value in news outlets such as yours offering readers a wide range of opinion and insight, so we do not take this action lightly.
We did not call for Domenech's firing when the Post revealed that it had hired a conservative blogger, even though the Post does not employ any liberal counterpart to Domenech.
We did not call for Domenech's firing when it became clear that he has scant journalism experience but is, rather, a partisan Republican political operative with no place in a news organization.
We did not call for Domenech's firing when his first post consisted of little more than sneering insults of his readers, describing progressives as "shrieking" and "unhinged" -- exactly the sort of personal insults Brady has previously declared unfit for use by readers describing Post employees in the comments section of the Post's blogs. The double standard inherent in the Post publishing Domenech's vitriolic attacks on readers, while repeatedly denouncing readers' criticism of Post employees, troubles us but did not cause us to urge Domenech's dismissal.
But, with each hour bringing new evidence of Domenech's racially charged rhetoric and homophobic bigotry, the time has come for the Post to end its ill-conceived relationship with Domenech. Examples of Domenech's views include:
- In a February 7 post on RedState, Domenech wrote that he believed people should be "pissed" that President Bush attended "the funeral of a Communist" -- referring to the funeral for Coretta Scott King. As you know, labeling the King family "communists" was a favorite tool of the racists who opposed them.
- In another RedState post, Domenech compared "the Judiciary" unfavorably to the Ku Klux Klan.
- In still another RedState comment, Domenech posted without comment an article stating that "[i]t just happens that killing black babies has the happy result of reducing crime" and that "[w]hite racists have reason to be grateful for what is sometimes still called the civil rights leadership" because black leaders "are overwhelmingly in support" of abortion rights.
- In yet another, Domenech wrote that conservative blogger/journalist Andrew Sullivan, who is gay, "needs a woman to give him some stability."
Domenech has also been caught at least once apparently fabricating a quote. A June 20, 2002, Spinsanity.org entry demonstrated that Domenech made up a quote he attributed to Tim Russert in order to defend President Bush.
In a post on RedState.com, Domenech once agreed with a commenter who called Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin "an embarrassment to the saner heads at the paper."
It is time for "saner heads" to prevail. Will The Washington Post honor its history as one of America's most respected news organizations -- or will it stand with Ben Domenech, tacitly endorsing his assault on Coretta Scott King, his offensive suggestion that a gay man "needs a woman," and his fabrication of a quote?
America is watching.
President & CEO
Media Matters for America