the one sense in which charles johnson hasn’t changed is in his method, and this has yielded some embarrassing moments. for instance, when johnson was what he’d now describe as a “wingnut”, he ran a silly post in which he confused the colorado state flag for a flag he feverishly imagined was the u.s. flag redesigned to glorify president obama. more recently, after johnson had become what wingnut johnson would have described as a “moonbat”, he confused the tennesee state flag for a neo-nazi triskelion.
johnson has even allowed breitbart, who johnson had relied on as a trusted source for far longer than he has relied on him as a foil, to embarrass him. during the brief gestation period of the anthony weiner scandal, charles made his site the clearing house for all sorts of bizarre conspiracy theories which assembled breitbart and supreme court justice clarence thomas with secret internet attack militias in a coordinated effort to make it appear as if rep. weiner had tweeted a picture of his junk to a young woman not his wife. this also pronounced an echo of “wingnut johnson”; johnson had floated conspiracy theories about shadowy partisans tampering with emails to make it appear as if rep. mark foley had been hitting on young congressional pages.
when the weiner scandal finally broke the way it did, “moonbat johnson” flailed about for some redemption and landed on a meta-meta-story about whether breitbart leaked the ultimately incriminating full-frontal nude shot of rep. weiner accidentally or maliciously. johnson’s proof of the latter scenario was a photo which he was certain depicted breitbart’s laptop being passed around on the street in front of a restaurant. the “laptop” was actually the restaurant’s menu board. johnson also tried to invent a story about palin-supporters rushing en masse to wikipedia to re-write history to match something sarah palin had said about paul revere on the basis of a single user’s edit which stood for about 45 minutes.
johnson’s only other “big” scoop from the post-wingnut era has been that the weird old john birch society had purchased the honor of being listed as a co-sponsor of last year’s cpac convention, an honor which consists of the opportunity to hang a vinyl banner from a folding table on a patch of all-weather carpet in a hotel reception hall. he then tried to contrast this association with the supposed banishment of the gay conservative group, gopac, despite that they too were co-sponsors of the convention and the convention organizers strongly defended their inclusion.
the rest of moonbat johnson’s content falls into two categories: stuff you may as well read written in it’s original, more clearly-written form 45 minutes earlier at TPM or Media Matters, and collections of anonymous comments johnson has tediously cherry-picked from b-list blogs he used to point his readers to for the unspun truth.
johnson’s reliance on the sophomoric method of indicting a blog by the content of it’s comments section is another example of the correspondence between wingnut johnson and moonbat johnson. when wingnut johnson was promoting the works of fjordman and the serbian genocide denier, serge trifkovic, and personally spewing racism about arabs, johnson was only apparently able to find hatespeech on progressive blogs. sometimes he found it there, but almost always in the comments. when progressive bloggers pointed to the hatespeech he hosted on his own blog, johnson actually possessed the huevos to dismiss scrutiny of a blog’s comments as unprincipled, cheap and anti-free speech, and attributed such comments to leftwing agent provocateurs he called “mobys” .
moonbat charles floats a number of post facto rationalizations with regard to the color of his site’s commenting community when he was cultivating a movement based on hatred, bigotry and paranoia; this would be the community from which pamela gellar, fjordman and robert spencer arose. he will claim that he deleted and banned objectionable comments and commenters as they appeared. this is either not a fact, or an ugly testament to the sort of talk he regarded as not objectionable. it’s true that little of it survives today, but this is due not to a consistent effort contemporaneous of the comments being posted, but to a hasty mass-deletion he performed the day following his “why i left the right” post.
and, of course, unless you’re a registered user in good standing (and who wishes to remain in good standing) you cannot access any comments at johnson’s site which predate the four days before the election which delivered president obama to office. charles makes a rather implausible claim regarding this, claiming that he has restricted public viewing of those comments to prevent automated web crawlers from slowing his site down. presumably he would have us believe that this he had similar reasons for blocking internet archive from capturing and preserving snapshots of his site.
one might note, however, that he adopted these extreme measures not to hide the first million comments from automated scripts, nor the first two million comments, but seemed to only develop this concern about site-crawlers eating his bandwidth after he had laid out six million comments under thirty thousand articles for them to crawl. that is actually a slight misstatement, as johnson undertook these measures after some two million more comments had accumulated on his servers.
an effective script that would alleviate the problem of spiders crawling though a site’s backlog would set an upper boundary for the range at n posts from the most recent. tellingly, johnson chose the specific date by which he had begun to reconcile himself to the presidency of a man who he had just a day before been describing as a secret muslim socialist with “shockingly racist anti-white views” who’s constituency was a “fifth column” of antisemites, islamic radicals and communists.
his decision to block search spiders (the primary effect of which is to block search engines) came as it did only after it was discovered that he had been quietly deleting and editing old posts of his in which he had promoted paranoid hatespeech about president obama, the “epidemic” of muslim inbreeding and a conspiracy about a secret plan to corrupt the flight 93 memorial into an “islamic victory shrine”.
this, from a guy who continues to make much of others’ revisions, deletions, absence from web archive services, and comments sections. you may think it’s good that he’s “left the right”, but what value is that when they guy can’t even be brought to acknowledge that he was rightwing to begin with? you may even think it’s good that he’s attempted to bury his past, but how can you trust his present when he’s so dishonest in his manner and motives?
and, all things being equal, how can you ever respect a man in his late fifties who attributes responsibility for all the things he did in his mid-fifties to “bad influences”?
johnson’s resort to attributing objectionable commentary to “liberal plants” goes far beyond the two items shown above. at the link is a collection of his below-the-fold commentary about spotting “mobies”.http://wingularity.com/lizardoidsa…
johnson’s perfidy reaches far beyond that, however . when johnson was what he’d now describe as a “wingnut” he would ply the same tactic of cherry-picking comments against progressive blogs, and when this would backfire on him, he had some interesting things to say about the tactic:
“Conservative” bloggers, please take note! Glenn Greenwald expects you to be aware of what every right-wing blogger is writing every single second of every day. And if you see something offensive to Glenn Greenwald, you’d better condemn it right away!
Or else you’re a hypocrite or something.
…often he would present the pro-forma comment policy notice as a shield against association with his comments section…
And you won’t find a single page of comments at Daily Kos that contains a disclaimer, to explicitly point out that comments are the responsibility of the poster, not representative of the views of the owner.
At LGF, you’ll find such a disclaimer at the top of every page of comments.
the fact of the matter is that back when his site was noxious enough that it was the subject of an fbi hatecrimes investigation, johnson would attack the messenger as enemies of free speech, …
I have a great idea, Peter. Why don’t you start your own weblog with a commenting system? Then you can experience the joy of deleting comments yourself, instead of demanding that I do it for you.
What is it about free speech that’s so hard for some people to understand?
but the fact of the matter is that charles simply wasn’t offended by racist speech in his blog comments…
sure, if you put that interpretation on it, you can see it as a racist comment.
But since there are numerous Western “peace activists” in the West Bank and Gaza, harassing the IDF and “supporting” the Palestinian Arabs, a more likely interpretation is that …
It’s a JOKE.
and when he did delete genocidal and racist comments, it was expressly for looks:
yes, there is code to filter a few derogatory terms that have been found to provoke strong reactions, cause arguments, and give the Morlocks (e.d.: “liberals”) ammunition when they’re cherry-picking commentsto smear LGF.