James M. Brady, Executive editor, Washingtonpost.com
Leonard Downie, 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
Caroline Little, CEO & Publisher, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
Dear Messrs. Brady, Downie, Jones, and Graham, and Ms. Little:
I write today to request that you terminate Ben Domenechâ€™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 Domenechâ€™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 Domenechâ€™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 Domenechâ€™s firing when his first post consisted of little more than sneering insults of his readers, describing progressives as â€œshriekingâ€? and â€œunhingedâ€? — exactly the sort of personal insults Brady has previously declared unfit for use by readers describing Post employees in the comments section of the Postâ€™s blogs. The double standard inherent in the Post publishing Domenechâ€™s vitriolic attacks on readers, while repeatedly denouncing readersâ€™ criticism of Post employees, troubles us, but did not cause us to urge Domenechâ€™s dismissal.
But, with each hour bringing new evidence of Domenechâ€™s racially charged rhetoric and homophobic bigotry, the time has come for the Post to end its ill-conceived relationship with Domenech. Examples of Domenechâ€™s views include:
In a February 7, 2006, post on RedState, Domenech wrote that he believed people should be â€œpissedâ€? that President Bush attended â€œthe funeral of a Communistâ€? — referring to the funeral for Coretta Scott King. As you know, labeling the King family â€œcommunistsâ€? was a favorite tool of the racists who opposed them.
In another RedState post, Domenech compared â€œthe Judiciaryâ€? 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, â€œneeds a woman to give him some stability.â€?
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 â€œan embarrassment to the saner heads at the paper.â€?
It is time for â€œsaner headsâ€? to prevail. Will The Washington Post honor its history as one of Americaâ€™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 â€œneeds a woman,â€? and his fabrication of a quote?
America is watching.
President & CEO
Media Matters for America