Photo: Chuck C. Johnson*
By now, many of you are familiar with conservative blogger and hack-fraud Chuck C. Johnson (not to be confused with Little Green Footballs blogger, Charles Johnson), who's made a name for himself by exposing and smearing alleged rape victims, among other things, and being wrong practically all the time -- so much so that it's almost as if Johnson makes a special effort to be wrong, perhaps as a meta-statement about unethical and incompetent digital journalism. This totally understates how terrible Chuck Johnson truly is.
What makes Johnson especially vile is that he's completely unaware of his awfulness. He appears to suffer from a Palin-esque glitch -- an inability to objectively evaluate his own work as being anything other than vitally important when everyone else can plainly see how terrible it is. It's his lack of self-awareness that continues to motivate his ongoing campaign to dig deeper into the festering turd-swamp at GotNews.com and to outdo his previous attempts at redefining what it means to be an immoral smear-merchant.
Tuesday was an especially egregious day for Johnson. The day before, columnist for The New York Times, Charles Blow, published an article about his son, a student at Yale, who was accosted by a campus police officer at gunpoint. Blow's son was walking home from the library at 5:45 p.m. when he was detained by the officer:
“I did not pay him any mind, and continued to walk back towards my room. I looked behind me, and noticed that the police officer was following me. He spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio and said, ‘I got him.’
“I faced forward again, presuming that the officer was not talking to me. I then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ — which I did.
“The officer raised his gun at me, and told me to get on the ground."
Blow's son clearly didn't understand -- walking home from the library while black is illegal. Obviously.
The next day, America's most ridiculous website publisher, Chuck C. Johnson, shoehorned himself into the story, publicly calling out the veracity of Blow's story by suggesting that Blow misreported his son's major at Yale.
Look out! Johnson totally nailed Charles Blow. Except, no, he actually didn't. But that's probably what Johnson was thinking when he clicked the "post" button on his half-baked jihad. It turns out, on January 25, shortly after the police incident and before publishing his article, Blow had mistakenly tweeted his son's major at Yale. The next day, Blow tweeted the following correction:
Notice the timestamp on the correction tweet, versus the timestamp on Johnson's accusatory tweet. Blow had already corrected himself days before Johnson stupidly attempted to smear him. But that's beside the point. Johnson's accusation isn't at all germane to the integrity of Blow's story about his son. Did Johnson seriously believe Blow was, for whatever reason, lying about his son's major? And what sort of advantage would Blow gain by falsely tweeting his son's major, which, again, has no bearing whatsoever on the facts of the story?
To Johnson, such journalistic details are irrelevant because he has zero sense of what's newsworthy. If he did, he would've ignored Blow's innocent mistake as irrelevant to the story -- a mistake that wasn't published in The New York Times and which was corrected before Johnson launched his smear campaign on Tuesday. It's not unlike tweeting out a big scoop in conjunction with the Benghazi story that Anderson Cooper accidentally referred to Susan Rice as "Susan Ross." Johnson was completely unphased by how pointless Blow's tweet error was to the entire story, and that's why he has no business being anywhere in the same galaxy as actual journalism.
Believe it or not, Johnson's attack against Charles Blow wasn't the worst thing he did on Tuesday.
Last week, Duke University officials suspended the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity amid allegations of sexual assault employing drug-laced hot chocolate.
In an affidavit obtained by "CBS This Morning," the woman told police she was served "hot chocolate." After drinking it, the next thing she remembered was waking up the next day in a "t-shirt she didn't recognize," wearing "no underwear and no bra," with her leggings were "torn and on the ground."
With this in mind, what was Chuck C. Johnson's response? Naturally, he offered a $500 bounty for any information that could be used to smear the accuser.
Once again, Johnson has taken up the task of smearing alleged rape victims, and paying for information which he obviously won't vet before dumping it onto his site. Worse yet, the original bounty was $400 and he upped it to $500 after perhaps not getting any bites. I'm sure the extra $100 will totally amplify the reliability of the information he receives through such unethical methods. There's a hint of a silver lining to this, knowing that Johnson has to pay for information to make up for his utter incompetence as a self-appointed journalist.
And here we are again. Even though Johnson's footprint is minuscule, his continued activities represent more nails in the coffin of journalistic integrity, especially online. The democratization of media wasn't supposed to go this way. It was supposed to open up a world of information and to take back the news media from corporate, profit-driven journalism. Instead, publications are more interested in publishing misleading, trolling headlines while, evidently, outing rape victims rather than pursuing more noble ends. But Chuck Johnson doesn't care about that. His goal is attention for the sake of attention, refusing to care if that attention exposes him as a universally despised creep who makes Drudge look like Murrow.
*Chuck informed me that we have to pay to use the original photo that accompanied this post. So, we swapped it with a different and more accurate photo of Chuck.