The ‘Ow, My Ass Hurts’ Defense

Augustine tells his side of the story. Predictably, he misrepresents what happened and is generally whiny and full of shit.

I know that charges of plagiarism are serious. While I am not a journalist, I have, myself, written more than one thing that has been plagiarized in the past. But these charges have also served to create an atmosphere where no matter what is said on my Red America blog, leftists will focus on things with my byline from when I was a teenager.

Yes, and once you reached adulthood, and were writing for NRO, you continued to plagiarize.

In one instance, I have been accused me of passing off P.J. O’Rourke’s writing as my own in a column for the paper. But the truth is that I had met P.J. at a Republican event and asked his permission to do a college-specific version of his classic piece on partying. He granted permission, the piece was cleared with my editors at the paper, and it ran as inspired by O’Rourke’s original.

It WAS O’Rourke’s original.

Note to Ben and his minions. Don’t steal from the living, cranky, and prolific. I’ll believe this is true when PJ O’Rourke comes to this site and tells me so.

I can rebut several of the alleged incidents here. The most recent accusation, is that I stole a music review from Crosswalk and passed it off at National Review Online. In fact, I wrote both lists myself; I was one of Crosswalk’s music review contributors at the time.

The Left has also accused me of foisting Sen. Frist quotes and some descriptive material from the Washington Post for a New York Press article on the Capitol Shooter. But the quotes I used were either properly credited or came from Sen. Frist’s press conference, which I attended along with many other reporters. So it is no surprise that we had similar quotes or similar descriptions of the same event. I have reams of notes and interviews about the events of that day. I also went over the entire piece step by step with NYPress editors to ensure that it was unquestionably solid before it ran.

Virtually every other alleged instance of plagiarism that I’ve seen comes from a single semester’s worth of pieces that were printed under my name at my college paper, The Flat Hat, when I was 17.

No, Ben, they don’t. I hate to pile on the guy, really, because he’s been fired and this is all giving material to a classic case of the Conservative Persecution Complex, but that Simply. Isn’t. True.

There were two instances of plagiarism at NRO, both listed here.

Neither of which you’ve refuted in your paean to the pain and suffering of, well, yourself.

But I do have one other collegiate example that might be to the point. When I was a junior in college, I wrote an article about liberal protests against Henry Kissinger’s visit to our campus. The leftists featured in the piece tried to get me kicked out of school. They mounted a six-month campaign against me. They posted fliers about me on campus. They sent me reams of hate mail. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful – the Honor Council completely cleared my name and the article as the truth. The events of the past 72 hours seem like a rerun of that experience.

Free speech really sucks.

The truth is, no conservative could write for the Post without being subject to the gauntlet of the liberal attack machine. There is no question in my mind that any RedState contributor writing for this blog would have found leftists delving through his high school yearbooks and grade school book reports in an effort to discredit and defame him. And if you too were a sloppy teenage writer, your errors or the errors of others would’ve been exploded.

I have a great many friends who are willing to stand and defend me on this. I appreciate their support. I have enormous respect for Jim Brady and the vision he has at WPNI. But while the folks at washingtonpost.com understand my position and are convinced by my arguments on many of these issues, they also feel that the firestorm here will only serve to damage us all, and that there is no way this blog can continue without being permanently tagged to this firestorm. Therefore, I have resigned this position with washingtonpost.com.

To the first graf, had people found nothing, there would have been nothing to complain about. The initial vitriol was focused, not on Ben, but on the Washington Post for its spurious search for “balance” to good journalism. It was only after people actually found evidence of plagiarism that the calls for Ben’s firing began.

To the second, well, isn’t that unselfish of him, resigning to spare the blogosphere the embarrassment. I’m touched. I’m moved. I imagine that from here he’ll go to the publications he ripped off and make restitution in the form of apologies, that he’ll visit the college newspaper where he vaulted over other talented kids on the basis of his swiped writings and give pro bono talks about how plagiarism can ruin your life. I imagine that the only time we’ll hear his name from now on is in connection with his numerous charitable works, so contrite, so generous is our Young Ben.

As to the accusations that people thought Ben raped his sister or something, yeah, that’s gross. I note he doesn’t cite examples. I haven’t read that particular accusation anywhere myself, and trust me, I’ve been mainlining every Ben thread for the past 24 hours. People say terrible things when they’re angry. I’m sure Ben can read over his apology for calling the late Mrs. King a communist, and relate to that.

Update, via Romenesko: You will not hear me say this often, but I think Jay Rosen has a seriously brilliant idea here.

A.