Category Archive 'Charles Johnson'

11 Sep 2011

Changing Sides Has a Sad Effect on Certain Bloggers

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There was a time when Little Green Footballs was probably the most respected blog commenting from the right. Its author, Charles Johnson, essentially cost Dan Rather his job by demonstrating via a simple gif that the National Guard letter CBS was reporting as written in 1973 had been created in Microsoft Word, using the MS Times Roman font.

In 2009, Mr. Johnson broke ranks with the conservative side of the blogosphere, publicly switching sides. He was infuriated, he announced in his “Drop dead, Conservatives” kiss off posting, by a number of prominent conservative blogs having some sort of sinister associations with European nationalist parties; by conservatives being hostile toward statism, being politically incorrect, and skeptical of catastrophist theories of Anthropogenic Global Warming; because conservatives typically oppose the creation of Same-Sex Marriage as a public institution; and because conservative bloggers are too mean to Muslims and Barack Obama.

It was hard to understand reading all that how Mr. Johnson had previously done such an excellent job of opposing statism, exposing Islamic pathologies, and debunking liberal stupidity and mendacity himself.

Now, we can see the transformation has become complete. The formerly brilliant and admirable Charles Johnson has successfully turned himself into another obnoxious, prevaricating and sophicizing leftist idiot.

Johnson clocked in yesterday on the recent alleged Obama Lincoln gaffe:

Here we go again. Don’t these people ever get tired of humiliating themselves?

Practically the entire right wing blogosphere went into vapor-lock this morning, shrieking in unison at the evil librul PBS for “editing” the transcript of the President’s joint session speech on jobs, to cover up his “gaffe” that Abraham Lincoln was a founder of the Republican Party.

American Stinker leads the pack with this typically vitriolic, hate-filled post (but it’s currently on at least a dozen other blogs too): Blog: PBS alters transcript to hide Obama gaffe.

    At one point Mr. Obama made a major gaffe; he identified Abraham Lincoln as the founder of the Republican Party.

    Lincoln did not join the Republicans until 1856, over two years after the party was founded. The first Republican convention was held in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

    Such a gaffe would have brought huge amounts of ridicule and derision on George W. Bush, but in the case of Obama the media yawned.

    Actually, they did more than yawn; government-funded PBS has altered the transcript of the President’s speech, removing the offending comment.

So are they right? Did PBS edit the transcript?

Gasp! Yes, they did!

Johnson goes on to justify the PBS emendation on the basis that it was really a White House emendation.

Then, he proceeds to grab, out of the mouth of the opposition itself, a close-enough-for-government-work citation to “prove” that those identifying “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” as a gaffe were wrong.

[L]et’s see what the Republican National Committee website has to say about Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln | RNC: Republican National Committee | GOP

Abraham Lincoln helped establish the Republican Party with a speech denouncing an 1854 law, written by a Democrat Senator, that allowed slavery to expand into the western territories. Two years later, he co-founded the Illinois GOP. Lincoln was runner-up for the 1856 Republican vice presidential nomination and then became a Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Charles Johnson then performs the classic happy dance of the demented left-wing troll happily preaching to his own one-sided choir.

Oops! Wingnuts with egg on their faces … again. I guess they must enjoy the embarrassment, because they just keep falling for this crap, over and over and over.

It is simply amazing how blogging for the left can so thoroughly and absolutely transform a one-time astute and dignified voice of reason into a shrill, slangy, repetitiously name-calling partisan hysteric.

Compare the post that destroyed Dan Rather


And, who’s right? Was it a gaffe?

I’m a fair-minded guy. I think you could vaguely and imprecisely refer to Lincoln that way. But it is vitally important to bear in mind that the overwhelmingly liberally-biased mainstream media does not grant the same “vaguely and imprecisely is ok” benefit of the doubt to Republicans. If Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, or Rick Perry make any kind of historical statement, each of them had better be dead right, or else.

Proving my point, and demolishing Mr. Johnson’s, Ace quotes Tom Maguire pointing out that “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” has already been established as a gaffe, at least when a Republican says it.

Surprise: Time Magazine Noted Non-Candidate Huckabee’s “Lincoln Founded The Republican Party” Gaffe In 2008; Refuses To Note Obama’s Exact-Same Gaffe In Joint Session

It’s almost as if they have a rooting interest.

Actually, Huckabee’s error was noted by one Jay Carney. That must explain it, then: The only guy in the media capable of doing a quick Wikipedia search is now in the Obama Administration, so lucky him. …

It’s pretty easy to appear to be a good student when a doting teacher corrects your errors for you, and gives you nothing but gold stars.


Exactly how incorrect it is to say “Lincoln founded the Republican Party” is a trivial point. But clearly the impact of conversion to the left on someone’s dignity, style, integrity, and stature can be really devastating. Reading LGF these days is like encountering unhappily today someone you knew and admired at college, coming upon them lying in the gutter drunk and homeless. The experience is shocking and painful. “If only there were anything one could do,” one thinks as one shudders and passes on.

23 Jan 2010

Charles Johnson Makes the News

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Charles Johnson

Little Green Footballs’ Charles Johnson sold his share of Pajamas Media in 2007. (I didn’t know that! How come PJM, Glenn Reynolds, and Roger Simon never reported it? Could I possibly have somehow missed reading about it?)

Johnson is teaming up with Barrett Brown at Vanity Fair to start a new blogging consortium described as intended to expose the failures of establishment news outlets.

Charles Johnson seems to me to have gone off the deep end recently, devoting his blogging activities principally toward a crusade to enforce some particular notions of political correctness of his own, and a return to criticizing targets of wider interest strikes me as potentially a positive development, but Vanity Fair, home of the self-important windbag James Wolcott, is an unlikely venue for objective and intelligent news correction in the old LGF manner.

Still, let’s hope for the best.


This New York Times magazine article describes Johnson’s rupture with the Right Blogosphere supplying some details that even those of us who followed all this had missed.

It notes that Johnson changed sides on Global Warming just in time to get blindsided by the Climategate scandal, which seems to have permanently tarnished the appeal of that particular delusion, and it even reveals the disturbing behavior pattern that puzzled and depressed those of us who had long admired Charles Johnson.

The soundest conclusion seems to be that he has indeed changed his mind — less about issues (though there are a few, global warming chief among them, on which he will admit to having gradually reversed positions) than about the people with whom he is willing to share the stage, or, perhaps, about his willingness to share the stage at all. Not that changing your mind, even in today’s political environment, makes you into some kind of intellectual hero. People change their minds all the time, for all kinds of reasons.

No one ever said L.G.F., or any blog, had to be about the free exchange of ideas. “It’s his sandbox,” Pamela Geller says simply. “He can do whatever he wants.” Still, if you read L.G.F. today, you will find it hard to miss the paradox that a site whose origins, and whose greatest crisis, were rooted in opposition to totalitarianism now reads at times like a blog version of “Animal Farm.” Johnson seems obsessed with what others think of him, posting much more often than he used to about references to himself elsewhere on the Internet and breaking into comment threads (a recent one was about the relative merits of top- versus front-loaded washing machines) to call commenters’ attention to yet another attack on him that was posted at some other site. On the home page, you can click to see the Top 10 comments of the day, as voted on by registered users; typically, half of those comments will be from Johnson himself. Even longtime commenters have been disappeared for one wrong remark, or one too many, and when it comes to wondering where they went or why, a kind of fearful self-censorship obtains. He has banned readers because he has seen them commenting on other sites of which he does not approve. He is, as he reminds them, always watching. L.G.F. still has more than 34,000 registered users, but the comment threads are dominated by the same two dozen or so names. And a handful of those have been empowered by Johnson sub rosa to watch as well — to delete critical comments and, if necessary, to recommend the offenders for banishment. It is a cult of personality — not that there’s any compelling reason, really, that it or any blog should be presumed to be anything else.

“This is one area where I did change,” Johnson admitted. “I realized you can’t just let it be free speech. It doesn’t work that way on the Internet. Total free speech is a recipe for anarchy when people can’t see each other.”

11 Jan 2010

DC Launches Today

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Roger Simon and Charles Johnson never got those Ferraris everyone thought they’d soon be driving back when Pajamas Media launched.

PJM, at least, survived, but nobody got rich. Heck, Charles Johnson even lost his good sense, changed sides, and now devotes his blogging activity to defending Warmism, enforcing political correctness, and bashing conservatives. Sad, very sad.

Let’s hope Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, launching today, proves more fortunate.

DC has been described as intended to represent “a conservative answer to Huffington Post.” Arianna Huffington responded to the launch with a gracious post, observing amusingly that her own Huffpo was founded as “the progressive answer to Drudge.”

01 Dec 2009

Charles Johnson Explains Why He Left Us

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This is the explanation?

According to Charles Johnson, the author of Little Green Footballs, he has abandoned his formerly brilliant attacks on liberal lies, stupidity, and hypocrisy and has instead turned his attention to scolding conservative blogs because of sinister associations with European nationalist parties, associations with fringy representatives of the palecon right, and because conservative bloggers are too mean to Muslims and Barack Obama.

Hmm. I’m frequently pretty nasty about Islam, but beyond, as far as I’m concerned, he does not exactly strike a nerve.

I am sorry to see him leave, as I have for a long time had the highest respect and admiration for Mr. Johnson, who, it ought always to be remembered, made history by debunking the CBS News National Guard letter, and driving Dan Rather right out of the news business.

Charles Johnson personally made blogging into a serious and important factor in the 2004 Presidential Election.

I had seen LGF’s focus change, and I gradually quit reading it very often.

Finally, earlier this fall, I reluctantly transferred the LGF link out of my “Essential Blogs” category, and with considerable personal sadness placed it in the category reserved for hostile, leftwing blogs. I found Charles Johnson’s defection so depressing that I avoided mentioning any of this at the time.

Mr. Johnson’s change of heart and politics does not make sense to me. I could guess about his motives and psychology. I have my own theories, but I have never met Charles Johnson. I do not know him personally, and I see no point in sharing (quite possibly completely erroneous) uncomplimentary speculations of my own.

I don’t suppose that Charles Johnson will change back into being a conservative and Republican again, but I do still feel considerable gratitude and admiration for his contributions in the past. He is so intelligent that I think he must sooner or later quarrel with other people about other issues, and I will watch his future postings with interest. I do not agree with Mr. Johnson that the right blogosphere has a serious problem with racism, craziness, and hate speech, but I wish him well.

Charles Johnson’s Wikipedia entry

April 2009 Independent article on Johnson’s break with the Right.

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