Skip to comments.Civil War Raging in Right-Wing Blogosphere
Posted on 04/21/2009 1:49:26 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, jazz musician and Web designer Charles Johnson has devoted his blog, Little Green Footballs, to exposing Muslim extremism in and outside the United States. His targets have included the Council on American-Islamic Relations, filmmaker Michael Moore, Reuters, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dan Rather, and the late pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie who some LGF commenters (not Johnson) call St. Pancake, a tribute to the Israeli steamroller that killed her. LGF helped write the lexicon of the self-styled anti-Jihadist blogosphere from moonbat (an unthinking or insane leftist) to anti-idiotarian (anyone who grasps the significance of and does his or her best to combat the post-9/11 political alliance between the Old Left and militant Islam).
But in the early days of Barack Obamas presidency, LGF has become better known for the various fights it picks with many on the right including conservative bloggers, critics of Islamic extremism, and critics of Islam in general who used to be Johnsons fellow travelers.
Johnson has blasted Fox News host Glenn Beck, promoting a video from a Beck-inspired party that shows conservatives ranting about evolution and arguing that this turn toward the extreme right on the part of Fox News is troubling, and will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP. In response to the news that the Department of Homeland Security was watching for increased right-wing extremism something that most of the conservative blogosphere, like most Republicans, responded to with angry ridicule Johnson pointed to the recent arrests of right-wing terrorists and criticized bloggers for buying into distorted claims about the DHS report. When Obama genuflected before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Johnson found archival video of President Bush bowing to take a medal from the King and urged conservatives to turn down their hyperventilating nonsense.
This has the bloggers peers asking themselves the same question, over and over: What the heck happened to Charles Johnson?
I dont think Ive changed, Johnson said. Ive always been pretty independent. This is something Ive really tried to put out there on my blog. I dont consider myself right-wing.
It sounds strange coming from a blogger who played an underrated role in forcing CBS News to back down from its 2004 story on President George W. Bushs Texas Air National Guard service, and whose first reaction to Obamas election in November after a quick post congratulating him was to note that the Muslim Brotherhood, the worlds largest jihadist organization, was pleased.
Johnson supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, but he spent some of the campaign attacking anti-Obama conspiracy theorists, and he rejected the idea designs were malicious, rather than merely naive. Johnson worries, in conversation and on his blog, that his old allies have been duped by far-right European political parties and have bought into wild attacks on the president that discredit their own causes.
I dont think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore, Johnson said. Its all a bunch of kooks. Ive watch some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.
Johnsons disgust with the terrorism-focused conservative blogosphere has had a traumatic effect on a dogged and dogmatic community of bloggers and scholars. When Johnson began blogging about Islam and terrorism after 9/11, he inspired untold other supporters of an aggressive war on terror to start their own Websites, link up, and push back against Dhimmitude organizations and foreign policy decision makers that were soft on terrorism. Now, some of his followers have started blogs that track Johnsons madness, while a video that portrays Johnson as Adolf Hitler going mad in his bunker makes the rounds.
Hes the reason I started blogging, said Atlas Shrugs editor Pamela Geller, a New Yorker who says she was mugged by Sept. 11″ and started reading LGF for news and fellowship. I wrote birthday messages to him. I respected and admired him.
Robert Spencer, the director of JihadWatch and the author of the bestselling, Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, had an established career as a critic of militant Islam before he met Johnson. But right after 9/11, he was the only one out there reporting on this, Spencer said. He built my Website. I learned how to blog from reading his stuff.
Johnson has turned hard against Spencer and Geller, attacking the former for joining a genocidal Facebook group, while referring to the latter as a shrieking lunatic, and labeling both of them hatebloggers. Johnson now points to Gellers posts about Barack Obamas heritage and her quest to fund a headstone for the victim of a Muslim honor killing as proof that the woman is deranged. Other bloggers in the movement have been purged from Johnsons blogroll or pilloried on the site, never to be mentioned again. The most successful sites that arose in LGFs wake, including Gateway Pundit, Gates of Vienna, and Brussels Journal, are also on the outs.
While Johnsons own blog was a launchpad for the movement and his comment sections have often been a place for anti-Muslim and anti-liberal rage one Web quiz lets users guess whether a quote comes from Little Green Footballs or Late German Fascists Johnson believes that LGF is now policed for fringe activity. A lot of the people most responsible for causing our bad reputation are now gone, he said. I wrote all the backend software, and I have ways of cleaning up the site.
Johnsons former allies can pinpoint the month, if not the moment, when he started to turn on them. In October 2007, some of the leading terrorism-focused conservative bloggers flew to Belgium for a Counterjihad Summit sponsored in part by the Center for Vigilant Freedom (now the International Civil Liberties Alliance), an outgrowth of the LGF-inspired blog Gates of Vienna.
It was the best conference I ever went to, remembered Geller. But the summit included members of Vlaams Belang, a controversial Belgian political party that criticizes Islam and Shariah law, and had been attacked within the Netherlands for its connections to extremism and racism. Johnson went to work exposing this, and the attendees reeled from the negative attention.
He chose to portray the Brussels Conference as evil and he unconscionably slandered the people who attended, said Dymphna, one of the editors of Gates of Vienna. Baron Bodissey, the other site editor (both editors use pen names), worries that Johnson did serious damage to the American blogospheres view of European nationalists who oppose the EU, even those who have no anti-Semitic tendencies.
Not only that, said Bodissey, he made it harder for certain American anti-jihad groups to raise funds if they failed to repudiate his designated fascist-enablers like us.
Johnson is unapologetic about his actions. While he was attacking the attendees of the Counterjihad Summit, he was also blasting Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for taking money from, and being photographed with, the owner of the extremist Web site Stormfront.org.
Some people at that summit in Belgium were not people we should have been associated with, Johnson said, pointing out that since 2007 the terrorism-focused conservative bloggers have become supporters of Dutch politician Geert Wilders , who wants to outlaw Islam in his country. Some of these people outright want to ban Islam from the United States, which I think is crazy, completely nuts. Thats not something we do in this country. These people will outright defend banning the Koran or deporting Muslims. Thats popular with the Geller/Spencer crowd.
When they talk about Johnson today, the rest of the terrorism-focused bloggers alternate between anger and regret. He has smeared them, they say, and according to Dymphna hes destroyed a lot of networking that was beginning to emerge between American and European critics of Islamic extremism. Hes really gone off the deep end, Geller said, pointing to Johnsons more and more frequent criticisms of creationists, such as the attack on the anti-evolution, Glenn Beck-inspired event, which made the host angry enough to lash out at LGF on his show. Hes a leftist blogger now.
Johnson brushes that criticism aside. A lot of people think I discovered this creationism thing overnight, he said, but thats not true. I was posting about this before 9/11. After 9/11 I had other things on my mind. And now Ive come back to it. But Spencer accuses Johnson of losing sight of the threat of extremist Islam by obsessing over the American religious right and equating the two faiths.
There is no global movement of Christians trying to subjugate the world, Spencer said. There is such a movement on the extreme of Islam. I wrote a book called Religion of Peace which Johnson wrote a favorable review of and I looked, and didnt find, Christian extremists who were trying to replace the Constitution with Biblical law. Theyre a myth. Theyre the Santa Claus of the left.
Some of Johnsons former allies experienced a decrease in traffic numbers when he started attacking them, but they all now feel theyve recovered from the break. LGF tried to destroy my reputation so I wouldnt have the access I have to my sources in law enforcement and academia, said Spencer, but that hasnt happened.
Geller has rebounded with increased prominence she was a guest on the Fox News show Red Eye last week and she said she has survived the besmirching of her reputation and she now fills the information-spreading role that Johnson once did. I get my stuff from people on the inside, she said, from people in Europe. I field 800-900 emails a day. We all depend on our readers for these tips. Thats where Charles was getting his stuff. And now hes cracked and hes not getting that anymore.
Johnson brushes off that kind of criticism. LGF is his site, and if it has to name names and shame the people who are debasing the movement against extremist Islam, hell do it. Ive definitely seen an uptick in craziness since the election, he sighs. Well, I dont know if Geller got crazier. She always was nuts.
The RINOs simply don’t want to give up the party. They want to drag us conservatives to the left in chains.
More like overrated. LGF capitalized on FR's scoop.
Actually, LGF was there first with the proof that the “memos” were composed in Microsoft Word default settings.
Couple of points.
First, St Pancake - first time I’ve read that one, and I find it absolutely hilarious.
Second, I have a copy of the DHS report here on my desk, and its not ‘an exaggeration’ as LGF claims, far from it.
I used to visit LGF every day. Haven’t been there in months.
Sounds like Johnson has a sound sense of perspective.
They were saying this stuff about the lefties awhile back and they took the 2004 House and Senate elections and the presidency in 2008. Infighting doesn’t always result in loss of elections. It just makes it harder. At the same time the Democrats are sucking butt so bad an R just may be all we need. Doubt it, but they are the ones screwing themselves so clearly right now.
LGF gets more credit for Rathergate then deserved; wasn't it one of our own Freepers who discovered Dan's bogus story??
Hmmmm.....haven’t seen THAT video of President Bush bowing....seems it would be ALL OVER the place by now....
You kinda have to bow for someone to put a medal around your neck. Obama bowed without any such practical reason. Pretty silly attempt at moral equivalence by Johnson. And IMO that is why he is falling out of favor with conservatives. Heck, to downplay the DHS report is the height of stupidity. I initially had my concerns when it was first reported because it was so over the top, I thought there was a fair chance it was fake. Once it was authenticated, it was a legitimate cause for serious concern - that the DHS would treat mere activism as an indicator for terrorism. What's the next step? Pre-emptive detention of activists? Declaring them enemy combatants? It's a very nasty slippery slope, and fooey on Johnson for not having the historical perspective to realize such.
It was Buckhead.
Social liberals—most hired of corporate applicants for decades now)—have the money to contribute to political sites for publishing their opinions. That’s where the increases in personal insults, bad arguments and promotions of vices and other antisocial behaviors are coming from.
I will note that the author of this piece is an Obama kneepadder who believes that the COLB is genuine and that it is as good as vault copy of his birth certificate.
Spencer of jihadwatch is very measured on the subject of Islamic violence, going so far as to place hope in the “moderate” Muslim. If LGF is criticizing Spencer for being too radical, LGF must be a flaming libtard.
There are plenty of hard-liners who get a taste of fame and find that they prefer that to ideals.
conservatives don’t have the organization to defeat leftists, socialists and Islamic terrorists at the same time.
Here are some interesting quotes from the Obama fan club LGF.
Charles Johnson 4/19/09 6:08:46 pm
I used to try to fight against the characterization that LGF was a right wing blog. Eventually, I gave up because it was pointless; I realized they were going to put me in that pigeonhole no matter what I wrote.
Now a lot of people seem to feel betrayed and angry because they made assumptions about my views on issues such as creationism, gay rights, abortion, etc. etc.
I tried to tell them, but they just didnt want to listen.
I can only be honest about my opinions. If that means I need to be excommunicated from the right wing, Im fine with that.
Because I never joined.
Charles Johnson 4/19/09 6:29:31 pm
Another point: I havent changed my position against Islamic fascism one bit. I still believe its a threat to Western civilization, profoundly anti-democratic, and needs to be fought.
However, I have learned (to my dismay) that many of the people who portray themselves as anti-jihad are simply paranoid bigots, and/or religious fanatics with hidden motives, who have hitched a ride on the justifiable outrage most of us felt after the 9/11 attacks.
My objections to radical Islam are based on my commitment to classical liberalism, and the values of the Enlightenment.
And my love for the music of Frank Zappa.
have you seen the Obama Mocks Bible video?? Just google it
So did I but for some reason my account has been blocked. I haven't posted anything in a month but for some reason, not stated, I am blocked. Guess Charles found out I am also on Freerepublic.
What ever happened to Ronnie Reagan’s “big tent” theory of politics?
There are crackpots in all movements and a few such regulars on this site. So what? Conservatives are much more likely to fight among themselves than socialists. It has a strong educational and thoughfulness component to it.
There are people who exploit situations for their own gain. (I would be much more likely to put Glenn Beck in that category than Rush or Michelle Malkin. Sometimes Robert Spencer seems a bit overheated - but I tend to hold him in high regard).
Do you all just want to hear people who espouse EXACTLY your beliefs and/or theology?
People are finally starting to realize that, on some issues, Johnson is downright politically correct. When it comes to anything even remotely connected to racial issues, he’s as PC as any left leaning Democrat. He sees the same fascist boogeyman in Europe as the Left does. Listening to him speak sometimes, you’d think there’s tide of Brownshirts marching in Euro capitals. And in the States, despite being a con man with a shell game, Morris Dees at the SPLC is above reproach in Johnson’s book. I stopped posting there a long time ago. You shouldn’t go where you can’t speak your mind.
I will not donate to any and I will not support any.
I will even fight them where i find them.
Amazing << Hear this. Feel this, and tell me that this isn't music.
LGF jumped the shark at least 5 years ago, when CJ decided he wanted to be popular on the left.
Johnson isn’t a just another RINO. He’s better described as a neocon. The neocons have always regarded the national security state and maximum power for the president as far more important than liberty.
I wouldn’t call Chuck Johnson right wing. Au contraire, the way he’s been banning long-time members lately, he has turned into a web-NAZI.
You misunderstand Johnson. His goal has always been constant: more power for the president (Democrat or Republican) to violate the rights of the individual in the service of the national security. Neocons like Johnson always rally to those in power.
No civil war here. Charles Johnson never was a conservative, and his blog has never been a “conservative blog.” Johnson is simply a leftist who woke up for a few years after 9-11, but has since gotten stuck on stupid again. I spent a few years on his blog, and even though he marginally had a clue about Islam and GWOT-related issues, I still always got the sense that he was “uncomfortable” with conservatives on his blog. All we see now is him being open about what he was keeping a lid on for a few years.
That’s because he was receiving a medal, not bowing.
LOL. You and your bogus neocons crack me up. So a libertarian liberal like Johnson is a neocon because he promotes fighting the jihadis?
A ‘libertarian liberal’. Sounds similar to a cross between a bunny and a deer. It’s confusing terminology. A liberal, but one who believes in limited government? Yeah, ok. A liberal who cherishes individual rights? Wait, what?
Perhaps. But not all self proclaimed libertarians lean to the right. Many are really liberals.
Pretty soon he will say he agrees with huffington.
Ho-hum..., another Republican basher comes out of the closet. If it’s not RINOs it’s starry-eyed, pop star wannabes. Let me guess. This guy started squirming about the time Andrew Sullivan got his G-string twisted up.
Usually this kind of sudden 180 degree political shift is associated with personal issues. Like, Peggy Noonan getting her feelings hurt by the Bush administration, David Brock having his beliefs changed by his gay lifestyle, etc.
Johnson likely had some kind of personal issue with someone.
Republicans are out of power, so the “independent” Johnson is trying to ingratiate himself with the left. Next he’ll be blogging about about extreme right-wing, home-grown jihadists with the help Janet Napoleano. Can’t even follow his own arguments about radical islam to their natural conclusion.
An extreme example would be Tammy Bakker. Her husband had her as a guest on his show a few times and then it went to her head and she insisted on being on it all the time.....from there it went downhill.
That was sweet. Thanks for the link.
You are not missing much, lately all Charles does is rant about creationists conspiracies. He seems completely obsessed with the subject to the point that its almost a religious preoccupation for him. Baffling
Charles side of it;
“I used to visit LGF every day. Havent been there in months.
You are not missing much, lately all Charles does is rant about creationists conspiracies.”
I think a lot of conservatives turned against him because he opposes teaching creationism in science classes.
I've been using LGF since about 9-11, and I don't see any shift at all. Just the topic emphasis on the blog. Charles doesn't play along: he is who he is. Politically I gather that he identifies himself in classic terms- Liberal, in the sense that Hayek or Madison would use. I can dig that. Since 9-11 the Community is expanding, people are doing different things, working on their own projects. It is still a reasonably free country and as far as I'm concerned people can say what they will, I don't expect to agree with them all, all of the time. Politically I consider Johnson a friend. Besides, I like his taste in music.