I had never met, or even heard of, Ben Domenech, before a controversy erupted over the Washington Post hiring him as a blogger. I didn’t read one article he had ever written. I didn’t know he had worked for Human Events, a publication I once served as a reporter and contributing editor, or was a book editor at Regnery Publishing, or wrote for an Internet site called redstate.com. But you would think, because of the frenzied attacks on him from the left, and the stories in the Post and New York Times about his subsequent resignation over plagiarism allegations, that he was a mighty conservative journalist whose fall had dealt a mortal blow to the conservative movement. The fiasco is more of an indictment of the Post, which hired him after supposedly checking his credentials and background. In a strange display of affirmative action, he was supposed to be their token conservative voice.
Except as serving as a commentary on how and why the Post hires some people, which is an area the paper will not want any additional follow-up stories, the Domenech affair is a footnote that really has no significant impact. Regnery, however, should have to explain how a plagiarist with a questionable journalistic background became an editor of conservative books.
If you want a really big story with far-reaching implications about journalistic malfeasance, please consider reading Sherrie Gossett’s excellent CNSNews.com account of why former New York Times reporter David Binder is urging that a Times Pulitzer Prize be revoked. Binder says that John F. Burns of the Times did not deserve a Pulitzer for his coverage of alleged atrocities committed during the 1990s Balkan wars. Burns shared the Pulitzer for international reporting in 1993 with Roy Gutman of Newsday.
Is it news that a former Times reporter would take on a current Times reporter in such a dramatic fashion? Of course it is. But you won’t read about it in the Post or Times because they are covering for a member of the club. It’s easy, however, to go after a young and essentially unknown conservative writer.
Gossett, a former associate editor of Accuracy in Media, knows a good story about the media when she sees it. I was at the same news conference she attended, where Binder discussed the new book, Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, whose author Peter Brock has analyzed and documented one of the worst episodes in the history of journalism. Brock appeared at the news conference with Binder, who wrote the foreword to the book and says the completely distorted coverage of the Balkan Wars was comparable to Times reporter Walter Duranty’s winning of a Pulitzer for covering up Stalin’s crimes during the murder of millions in the Ukraine.
For those unfamiliar with the true facts of the case, which are still difficult to discover in the mainstream media, the Clinton Administration ordered U.S. military intervention in the Balkans, even though the main perceived villain, the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, never pretended to have weapons of mass destruction that would threaten the U.S. The intervention was justified by the false claim that Milosevic was engineering “genocide” against his neighbors, including Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, a province of Serbia. The real story is that the U.S. intervened on the side of Muslim terrorists, operating through a group called the Kosovo Liberation Army, linked to Osama bin Laden.
But the story is even more sinister than that. Clinton’s intervention was not authorized by Congress and, in fact, the House of Representatives voted against it. That made it illegal. In another exercise of presidential authority that crossed the line into illegal and even unconstitutional conduct, Clinton ordered the U.S. through NATO to offensively intervene in the affairs of a sovereign state, even though NATO, by the terms of its own treaty, was supposed to be a defensive alliance. No member of NATO was invaded or threatened with invasion because of anything Milosevic, a communist desperate to hold on to power, ever did. The result of Clinton’s intervention is that Kosovo, which is still part of Serbia, is now on the verge under U.N. sponsorship of becoming an independent Muslim state in the heart of Europe. Serbian Christians have mostly fled the province and many of their churches and cemeteries have been desecrated or destroyed.
Publisher William Dorich, who introduced Brock and Binder at the press conference, said, “When Peter Brock came to me to publish Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, I was thrilled but I was fully aware that this manuscript was submitted and rejected by every major publisher in the United States, revealing an ugly truth that dissenting views are not always welcome in the media or in the American publishing industry.”
Dorich said that John Burns “won half a Pulitzer for writing about the confession of an alleged Serbian rapist and killer. This Serb was found guilty by his own confession without a single victim of rape or a body of an alleged murder victim presented as evidence at his trial. It was later proven his confession was tortured out of him. John Burns claimed there was not a mark on his body.”
The rest of this story will be told in a forthcoming issue of our Accuracy in Media Report. But don’t look for it in the mainstream media. Under assault by the left-wing, which is anxious to discover and then suppress or discredit any hint of conservatism in the major media, the Times and Post will probably still be preoccupied with the ramifications of the Ben Domenech affair.