Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Fruitcake That Isn't So Sweet

CJ's new look

Little has saddened me more recently than the tragic fall of Charles Johnson.

Johnson is the owner of the noted conservative blog Little Green Footballs. His story was an interesting one. The blog began as essentially a place for Johnson to post photographs he had taken while mountain biking, and to discuss geeky web design stuff. It wasn't a political blog. If anything, Johnson was a leftist before 9/11.

Then that dreadful day came, and everything changed. LGF became a much more obviously right-wing site, and Johnson did a lot of good work chronicling the War on Terror and exposing the liberal bias of the media's coverage of it. I read LGF for a couple of years and respected the work Johnson did.

But now, Johnson has reverted to the kind of mentally deficient ideologue he had formally condemned. The chief problem has been his disputes with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs. Geller has always seemed like a bit of a nutcase to me, but Spencer is a genuinely respectable man whose website is one of the best out there covering the threat of Islamic jihad.

The downfall began when Johnson became convinced that the Belgian political party Vlaams Belang were a "fascist", neo-Nazi group, and that it would therefore be unwise for true anti-jihadists, who want nothing to do with racism or fascism, to ally with them. When certain writers disagreed with his assessment of the party, however, he turned viciously on them. From that moment on, he set out on a self-righteous crusade to destroy the reputations of all those who had once been his allies in this fight. Since this petty conflict began, he has accused Spencer and Geller not only of allying with all sorts of "fascist" groups, but also of themselves being fascists, supporters of genocide, and all manner of other absurdities. In all cases, the evidence he has presented for these claims has been far from compelling. It largely consists of photographs of two people together, as if this means that if someone is photographed with someone else, that automatically means that they endorse all their positions. The final fall-out between Johnson and Spencer eventually came when Johnson severed ties with Jihad Watch because Spencer continued to link to Gates of Vienna, a blog which has endorsed Vlaams Belang - even though there is a quite explicit disclaimer at Jihad Watch stating that the fact that a website is linked doesn't mean that Spencer endorses everything in it. Spencer has repeatedly denounced all forms of fascism and white supremacism, and has also stated that he does not endorse Vlaams Belang. But that hasn't been enough for Johnson to stop continuing to smear his name and trying to destroy his reputation.

Everyone who disagrees with Charles Johnson's depiction of Vlaams Belang and other groups is automatically labelled a "fascist" themselves, and dozens of people have been banned from his website (rather fascist-like) for disagreeing with him.

Most recently, Johnson attempted to smear Spencer once again by claiming that a group who had invited him to give a talk on jihad is another "fascist" group (poor dear must have nightmares about those "fascists"; they seem to be coming out of the walls). When Spencer pointed out not only that the group are not neo-Nazis, but that Johnson had fallen for an obvious Photoshop job which made it look as if two of his prime targets of hatred were attending a neo-Nazi march (which they weren't), Johnson simply replied by claiming that even though the picture was an obvious fake, it didn't matter because it was still true, anyway. Meanwhile, he did not address any of Spencer's points refuting the claim that this was yet another "fascist" group, all the while claiming moral and intellectual superiority.

It has been very sad to see a once-respectable right-wing blogger, who for a long time was leading the anti-jihad resistance, become such a demented, bullying fruitcake. At a time when we need to be more united than ever in order to repel the jihadist threat, Johnson has gone out of his way to be divisive and downright dishonest. Not only the anti-jihad movement, but also the very Right itself, must consign this dangerous fool to the dustbin of history and refocus its attention on matters of real importance.

1 comment:

  1. I stopped reading LGF when he went after The Baron and Dymphna at Gates of Vienna, two very fine people. Too many other exceptional bloggers cover this subject, why read a jerk like Johnson?

    I recently had lunch with a couple of very prominent U.S. bloggers who disassociated themselves from CJ as he tried to drag them into his silly little blogging wars two years ago. They chalk it up to Charles being a true blue liberal at heart and a man with a very large ego.

    My buddy, David Vance sent me over to take a look. I see he has good taste, nice blogging, Ben.