WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- The White House chastised CBS News for publishing a column in which a blogger said a leading candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy is a lesbian.
After initially refusing to remove the posting, CBS deleted it Thursday night after its author, Ben Domenech, a former Bush administration aide and Republican Senate staffer, said he was repeating rumors about the sexual orientation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, The Washington Post reported Friday.
In his column, Domenech said President Barack Obama would please a portion of his base by nominating the "first openly gay justice" to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
An administration official said Kagan is not a lesbian.
When CBS initially balked at removing the post, former White House communications director Anita Dunn, now working with the administration on the Supreme Court vacancy, said, "The fact that they've chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010."
White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said he complained to CBS because the column "made false charges." Domenech later updated the post, writing, "I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted -- odd, because her female partner is rather well-known in Harvard circles."
In a statement, Domenech offered "my sincere apologies to Ms. Kagan if she is offended at all by my repetition of a Harvard rumor in a speculative blog post."
Dan Farber, CBSNews.com editor in chief, said Domenech's column "just got through our filters."
The Washington Post's Web site hired Domenech as a conservative blogger in 2006, the newspaper said. However, he resigned three days after his debut after plagiarism allegations were raised by liberal Web sites. Domenech said he didn't knowingly use other people's work without attribution.