Washington Times takes de Borchgrave’s recent columns offline

On Monday night, the Washington Times announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the work of longtime columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave, following allegations that he’d lifted material from other sources on the Internet. Ed Kelley, the paper’s top editor, said that the allegations about de Borchgrave’s work “require attention.”

Not to mention a bit of Internet hiding. Check out the author page for de Borchgrave on the Washington Times site. The links to recent columns by the reporter lead to dead ends: “This story is no longer available on the site.” Older pieces from de Borchgrave’s archive appear active at this writing.

A source at the paper indicates that the link deactivating took place yesterday, presumably as a part of the investigation. The story announcing the investigation, however, made no mention that the paper would be pushing the columnist’s recent oeuvre into the shadows. Kelley didn’t respond to an e-mail last night requesting an explanation.

Take your pick: 1) The digital disappearing act reflects the paper’s determination to remove from public view work that’s been called into question, the better to serve its readers; 2) the digital disappearing act reflects the paper’s determination to operate in secret and dodge public accountability.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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