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A Long Time Coming

By Wyatt Earp | January 23, 2010

This post is a little long and it is completely cathartic in nature. Please bear with me, because I need to vent this to the fullest.

As some of you may know, the formerly quasi-conservative Little Green Footballs jumped ship and went full-bore liberal moonbat in a matter of weeks. The conversion started when Barack Obama was elected, and the site’s proprietor – Charles Johnson – swung his allegiance, his viewpoint, and his post material drastically leftward.

But something else changed rather quickly. Johnson started banning registered commenters at an incredible rate. Some of them probably deserved it, because they went over the line in their attacks, but others were banned for merely disagreeing with Johnson’s new found political slant. Like Philly radio tool Michael Smerconish, Johnson told his conservative readers to go frak themselves, and embraced the moonbat hordes.

This story got personal for me when I was banned from the site a few months ago. I was a registered user at LGF for a few years, and posted over 4,000 comments before being thrown down the memory hole. What was my sin? I down-dinged a post a post where Johnson was calling conservative talk show hosts racist idiots. (Every comment at LGF has a “dinger” connected to it. That way, you can either up-ding a post you like, or down-ding a post you don’t.) I didn’t like the tone of his post, so I down-dinged it. Bam, gone.

In the weeks that followed, Johnson has banned over 1,700 registered commenters. 1,700. It has lost him a lot of readers – I’ll never go back – but it has gained him some notoriety, as Ace pointed out last night:

I know what you’re thinking, as I thought that too — Funny, but why is it when LGF was getting 500,000 hits a day on the right, he wasn’t worth a profile, and now that he’s getting 100,000 or less and on the left, he is?

Yeah, that’s true. That’s probably why [the New York Times] commissioned the piece. A funny thing happened on the way to publishing it, though. They discovered he’s kind of a narcissistic lunatic.

Wow, when the NYT thinks you’re a lunatic . . .

THE QUESTIONING OF Johnson’s tactics started to come not just from without L.G.F. but also from within. Readers both casual and loyal spoke up in the comment threads to ask, sometimes diplomatically and sometimes not, whether all this casual flinging of epithets like “fascist” wasn’t maybe an overreaction. Johnson’s response, in thousands of cases, was to block their accounts and ban some of them from viewing the blog. “Get off my Web site” was a common farewell. (Johnson insists that this is not true — that no one has ever been banned from L.G.F. merely for disagreeing with him — but the anecdotal evidence to the contrary is voluminous, and the fact that the offending comments were instantly and permanently deleted makes it impossible to check others’ records against his.)

Therein lies the beauty of it. No one can ever call him on the reasons for the bannings because he destroys the evidence. Convenient, huh?

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.

People who know me know that I DESPISE Pamela Gellar, but she is absolutely correct here. It’s his blog, and he can do what he wants, no matter how insane his actions may be.

“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.”

Yeah, that free speech thing is a real downer, eh Charles? The end result of his fascist – yes, I am using his favorite word against him – comment policy is that the only comments there are of the ass-kissing variety. I challenge you to read the comments on any post and not find at least one lickspittle saying, “You’re right, Charles!” or “Great point, Charles!” It’s embarrassing. The NYT continues:

IN THE LAST DAY of November, Johnson delivered the final blow to his old alliances. In a post that he said took him about three minutes to write, he listed 10 reasons “Why I Parted Ways With the Right.” The “reasons” themselves amounted to little more than laundry lists: “Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.),” for instance. In the voluminous comment thread attached, Johnson was characteristically interested less in discussing the break itself than in discussing the reaction to it — calling readers’ attention to the number of times it was “re-tweeted,” linking to attacks on him, citing praise from quarters that not long ago would have considered him toxic.

That was the last real post I ever read at LGF, and it was only because it was such a big story. Had I been able to comment there, I would have pointed out that Johnson parted ways with the right months earlier, but I didn’t have commenting privileges. Boo hoo.

Now, I figure you’re thinking one of two things:

1. “Wyatt, why the Hell would we care about this?”

2. “Wyatt, what took you so long to rant about LGF?”

Well, here are the (hopefully) short answers. First, you don’t have to care about it, but I posted it because I felt betrayed by Johnson and his blog after his switcheroo. It would be akin to me coming here one day and saying I wouldn’t post any more babe photos, and every regular commenter here would be banned. I spent a lot of time at LGF, made a lot of good internet friends, and posted over 4,000 comments. To tell you the truth, I’m still pissed about the whole thing and I needed to vent.

Second, it took so long because I wanted someone or something to paint an accurate picture of how bizarre it got over there. The NYT article shows that – however inadvertently – and Ace’s comments sealed the deal. Probably lazy on my part, but what can you do. Besides, better blogs than this were posting better stories about the debacle, so I backed off. And to be honest, LGF has spies everywhere, and I didn’t need a troll hassle over the holidays. I also didn’t want to alienate people here who are still loyal to Johnson, but at this point, I don’t much care anymore.

So there you have it, my LGF/Charles Johnson catharsis. It may be the longest thing I have ever posted here, and if you were bored by it, I apologize. Most days I try to post for you guys – specifically, something you’ll like. This post was for me.

UPDATE: Dennis Prager, a man I truly respect, has a terrific response to Johnson’s inane reasons for leaving the Right. You can find it here.

Topics: People I Hate | 34 Comments »

34 Responses to “A Long Time Coming”

  1. Crankipants Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I never commented on LGF, but I read it here and there. I had it as an RSS feed and I would glance at the headlines. I started to notice that the guy kept on going around the bend about some school or other teaching creationism as opposed to Darwin. It’s not a subject that gets me all that worked up so I thought the guy was making a mountain out of a mole hill. I stopped looking at it. It was boring.

    Even back when he was on the right side of the fence, I thought he let way too many knuckle draggers spout crap that wasn’t going to do the side he supported any good. Koz kids would always latch on to the racist rants (while ignoring the racist rants on their own site.)

    Sounds like you were pretty wrapped up with LGF. Me – not so much. There’s a lot of other blogs out there worth a look-see.

  2. PhillipC Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Hmm… so we’ve got a public example of a pod person?

    Thanks for the info. I hadn’t really thought of it much, but I used to see links and references to LGF and haven’t seen so much lately. Now I know why.

    And knowing is half the battle. The other half is pure, unadulterated violence. {GRIN}

  3. crazypolitico Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Never was a fan or commenter. Now I’ve gone over and read it again, since you are the second blogger I read regularly who’s posted not to read them. And, I’ll probably not go back.

  4. Rides A Pale Horse Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I was banned over there last year. I have no idea why. Just went to log on one day and bam…….”account suspended”. I’d been watching it go downhill for awhile, not posting much but amazed at the arrogance of their positions on “the moral high ground” regarding islamism in Europe telling people that actually lived in Europe and experiencing the problems firsthand how they were so “racist” etc. Posters with very eloquent and rational opinions were “gang dinged”, humiliated, called all kinds of names and most banned within a few minutes.

    I hadn’t been there in quite some time but decided to check it out the night of “The Boston Massacre” and the day after to see if it had become as bad as some had said.

    It was. By a factor of 10.

    COMPLETELY OFF THE RAILS and now there’s a couple more new posters there that make even the worst of the past pale in comparison. The few “conservatives” left were once again “gang dinged” and derided for their celebration of the Brown win in Mass with some of the most rabid, frothing at the mouth comments I’ve ever seen. Talk about cannibals, the Daily Kos has NOTHING on LGF now.

    Don’t go over there unless you want to spend an hour or so in the shower with lye soap and scalding water (even that might not be enough to feel clean) afterwards.

  5. Picky Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I read LGF sparingly a few years ago (mostly because I’m a huge football fan, and one of my regular blogs like AOSHQ or MichelleMalkin linked to LGF and it caught my eye). I quit about a year ago when I read something Charlie wrote about how people who believe in the creation of the world are idiots. I believe in God’s creation, so I quit reading it. Maybe this was before he “done gone round the bend a bit” (as Morgan Freeman would say). I refuse to go back simply because I don’t want his “hit counter” to register even my single hit.

    After reading some of the stuff about him, I hope his site dies a quick death and he is left to wallow in his own self-pity. I thought about registering just so I could tell him what a moron he is. That way I could be banned, and wear it like a badge of honor.

  6. Rob in Katy Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    LOL, apparently I have been blocked also, and at one time I sent him fairly large donation. My posting other places must have caught up with me. If it were very recently, I would go try and get the donation back…

  7. Rob in Katy Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    …I need a hug /s

  8. Teetop Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I quit posting at LGF about 4 years ago. I could tell that far back, something was changing.

    I disagreed with Chucky and most LGF posters attacked me and I held my ground all over Chucky wanting some Imam to be denied access to the U.S. over what he said overseas. I said, let him in and if he says the same things, boot his ass. I was called every name in the book by many people…

    F&@%. Chuck.

  9. Rob in Katy Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    So, I found the payment transaction for $200 back in 2007, I wonder if I can get paypal to refund $150, figuring the normal donation of $25/year, that leaves him owing me about $150.

  10. Proof Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I had an account there and posted a few times. Then I would check his links and give a thumbs up to those I thought were particularly good. Once, just once, I saw an article on Chuckie’s front page that I thought was just awful, some gratuitous shot at somebody, and I was so bold as to put a thumbs down on it. Everybody likes their toast a little different, right? Not everything I write charms the pants off everybody (I know! Hard to believe, isn’t it?).
    Yet, that one “thumbs down” was enough to get my account closed.

    I haven’t been back since, and I really haven’t missed it. If Charlie prefers an echo chamber to the actual give and take of ideas, it’s his loss.

  11. 1oldleg Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Hey, good for you, Wyatt. Its called having the strength of your convictions, and you don’t have to apologize to me or anyone else. I’m with you.

    Now cut the crap and post the babes!

  12. joated Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I first caught LGF with the Dan Rather papers. read it almost daily for a few months and even had an account so I could comment. As things settled down after 2004, I sorta stopped going there. but still had LGF on my blog roll.

    Then I heard that CJ (I believe he now deserves a little kid’s nickname) had gone off the deep end, around the bend, off his meds. Went a read a couple of the “new” CJ’s posts and couldn’t get back fast enough to the old template to clear the link off my blog roll.

    I won’t be missed if I never go back and I won’t be missing CJ either.

  13. Fenway_Nation Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Excellent news! After being a registered member since 2004, I officially got the banning stick from there this week. Truth be told, I was going to make a clean break from there anyways, but the siren song of schadenfreude to see butthurt neo-Koslings after SCAHT Brown won the election was too much to resist.

    The day after the election, the husky pony-tailed one basically posted a ‘OMG! Scott Brown is teH teebaggir!’ thread and I called his knowledge of any aspect of politics in the Bay state into question. Then I facetuously mentioned that Scott Brown was known to be a member of a heaviy armed paramilitary group that’s been known for attacking authority figures shortly after its formation and brandsihing weapons in and around places like Logan airport before linking here.
    I’ve also been posting on ‘stalker’ blogs (I’m not sure if support your local gunfighter counts) and even got a hat-tip from Michelle Malkin (who the husky, pony-tailed one hates) over a piece regarding the election in Massachusetts.

    Kind of telling that this turd is trying to make nice with the MSM and leftosphere he burned bridges with when he was pretending to be on the right.

    P.S. You may or may not be interested in my latest blog update.

  14. Old NFO Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Looks like it’s a good thing I never read/frequented that blog… :-) Good Rant though Wyatt! :-)

  15. Robert B. Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Gunfighter, I gave up L.G.F. over two years ago whilst still in Baghdad. When he started ranting about Geert Wilders and how he was a neo-nazi because he spoke out against radical islam, that was quite enough for me. Welcome to the club of ex-L.G.F.-ers.

    May he receive less that one hit a day on his site. And may you receive more that a million a day.

  16. Randal Graves Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I can’t believe someone would give a blogger $200. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    The guy does have every right to ban people/posts, but he’s doing it in a douchey kind of way.

  17. Ralph Short Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I lasted about a month which was about 6 or 8 mos. ago. Same thing happened to me, I signed up, made a few entries, stated my conservative views on a couple of issues and bam, blocked.

    Now, I wish I had absolutely insulted the useless commie/nazi instead of just being polite and disagreeing. Besides being intolerant and a control freak he is a loser in my opinion.

  18. Ralph Short Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    It just occurred to me if a person is intolerant, and a control freak, then that person is automatically a loser, so I apologize for being redundant. Oh, I forgot to mention the a hole also seems paranoid as well.

  19. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Crankipants – When I first got there, it was a great place. Lots of good info and the commenters were terrific. Then he went insane (my words, of course) and the site did a complete 180. CJ started banning people for simple disagreements and he purged his commenters from the rolls. I shouldn’t care, but the whole situation is just bizarre.

    PhillipC – Some decent stuff there – or, there used to be – and now it is all creationism rants and race baiting.

    CP – I checked back a few times to see if it was all just a joke. The funny part is that he aligned himself with the left at the worst possible time. When the wind changes, he’ll try and embrace conservatism again and expect us to fall for it. Man is a comment whore.

    Rob – CJ has banned people for commenting on sites he doesn’t like. Seriously.

    Picky – Won’t be long. His readership is WAY down, as are his comments. He bit the hand that fed him. It’s awesome.

    Teetop – I disagreed with people over there at times, but never saw the need to go after someone for expressing an opinion – unless it was an actual attack.

    Proof – To show you the difference, he blocks or deletes all criticism, whereas I post almost all hate mail.

    1oldleg – You’ll approve of tomorrow morning’s post, then.

    Joated – I’m with ya.

    Fenway Nation – She’s awesome!!! As for CJ, he always used to rip people for name-calling, and now he’s using the term “teabagger.” Classay!

    Old NFO – Thanks. I need a rant once in a while.

    Robert B – Thank you for your service. A million hits would be sweet, but I am perfectly happy with my decent-sized group of loyal readers. They complete me. Heh.

    Randal – Some blogs – and sites – cost money. Some people like to give certain bloggers a few bucks to defray costs. I have had a few readers use the Donate button, and have been surprised and grateful for it.

    Ralph – The projection is amazing. He went from ridiculing people from yelling “RACIST!” at everyone to the one who yells it now. Sad.

  20. Callahan23 Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I got banned together with a lot of good ones because we decided to post on another blog. Even though our agreed upon policy stated that we would not look back and even wouldn’t mention his nor his blogs names we received the ban stick.
    We (C2) still were a ‘stalker’ bunch to him. – I never looked back.
    You, however have every right to rant Wyatt. Good post.

  21. Fenway_Nation Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Fenway Nation – She’s awesome!!! As for CJ, he always used to rip people for name-calling, and now he’s using the term “teabagger.” Classay!

    In the interet of accuracy, I don’t think he’s ever used the term himself, but he doesn’t discourage the neo-Koslings swarming that pcertainly lace from using the term.

  22. Rob in Katy Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Donations: I have run/helped run a site since 1998/99. it costs money and time. Sometimes my site throws me a bone, sometimes I play it forward. I had been at LGF for a while and seen him champion some good causes and he helped me with some scripting. My favorite bumper sticker:

    I was about ready to shut down my site, turned it off and actually had someone curse me out for not providing sufficient warning, mind you, this was someone that had never contributed a dime to help defer costs.

  23. Robert Swick Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    That is so weird. I haven’t visited LGF in ages, but wow…

  24. Becky Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I used to read his blog, I stopped when all his post were about creationism. I didn’t think he really was a conservative, just enjoyed his fame after the Dan Rather memo was exposed.

  25. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Callahan23 – Thanks. It is something that has been bugging me for a while, and with his new-found “fame,” I wanted to let people know what was really going on over there.

    Fenway_Nation – Yeah, he should at least admonish the tools who are using the term.

    Rob – I considered shutting down SYLG sometimes, and then I remembered: I’m an attention whore. Your point is well taken, though. It may not look it by reading this blog, but I work hard at it – posts, maintenance, etc. It takes a lot of time.

    Robert – Yeah, something snapped in CJ and he went off the grid.

    Becky – A lot of people think that, and it makes sense. He was a lib until 9-11 and now that the balance of power is back with the Dems, he jumped back on their bandwagon.

  26. Sully Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    So far, I’ve been insulted by the great and powerful Charles, but not banned.

    I have him linked, but I more or less stay away from politics on my blog….. I never considered Charles to be conservative anyway. He mostly always reminded me of Chris Hitchens because of his contempt for religion in all of its forms.

    This “contempt” made him both an ally in the fight against Islamic Fascism and the recipient of bulk hate mail from home grown zealots.

    At some point, he just got one death threat too many and snapped back at mostly the wrong people from what I can tell.

    All in all, I’ll keep him linked, but he kinda needs the “Lighten up Francis.” speech.

  27. Watuschskie Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Like other hypocrites who sought out monetary gain and switched to liberal politics, ie: Huffington, I suspect that Charles Johnson simply sold his credibility and soul for the advertising dollars. Just noticed lately that there are plenty of adds now from Google, Amazon, MSNBC and Verizon. Those folks certainly don’t support conservative values and so, of course, neither does Charles now.

    He started gradually enough (the nose under the tent scenario) with his rants pro Darwin and anybody who disagreed, of course, was a fanatical “Creationist”. Then he hysterically began supporting the global warming agenda and we were all “Denialists”. People who even questioned the Obamination’s birth certificate are “Birthers”, and now if we ever criticize the temporary president, we’re “Racists”. Charles has made the complete circle to include made up name calling and as I look back now on LGF, he never really did have much to offer except for some interesting links.

    God Bless America!

  28. Wyatt Earp Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Sully – I buy that. At least the part about him snapping. Something went very wrong in his cloud cuckoo mind. I just don’t know what it is.

    Watuschskie – His support for Israel will be dropped before the end of the year. Count on it.

  29. Fenway_Nation Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Watuschskie Says:

    Charles has made the complete circle to include made up name calling and as I look back now on LGF, he never really did have much to offer except for some interesting links.

    And over the last year or so, the more interesting and worthwhile stuff was submitted by readers, not CJ himself. Anybody remember that ‘spinoff link’ function where you could select a category and post a link to an article offsite at the top of the page?

    To his credit, CJ didn’t take the lazy way out and glean through the links and post them on the LGF main page, taking credit for finding them himself. That much is apparent because as recently as this month, ‘lizards’ were still linking to articles and op-eds critical of 0bama, Reid, Pel0si and other dem politicians or highlinting tHugo Chavez’s latest shennanigans….not idiotic waffling and excuse making for Danny Glover or Chirs Matthew’s remarks, reminding us all how we really and truly dodged a bullet by not having Palin as VP or non-stop Global Warming proselytizing

  30. Rob in Katy Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    See, now you know why I keep sending beer money…it helps :)

    Speaking of, just finished 30mile enduro ride in the forest, I think a beer sounds quite good….see ya!

  31. jimmytheclaw Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 4:51 am

    irony i found lgf in late 2001 from someone posting at the new york slimes blog and posted and hung out at lgf over the years and wondered what happened i basicly quit because of all the creationism threads etc…

  32. Morgan Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Sorry to hear you got banned, Wyatt. It was through none other than LGF that I came across your blog in the first place. Well, some good came from LGF.

  33. Chris Cameron Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 4:01 am

    “I shouldn’t care, but the whole situation is just bizarre.”

    The world of blogging is full of bizarre people. CJ is just one of them. :)

  34. Jim Ramsey Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I, too, am among the elite banned at LGF, not once, but twice-reinstated after I successfully argued via e-mail with him, complete with references, but then I committed the deadly sin of actually arguing against the moonbat religion of global warming. I included references, challenging the opposition to just read the articles about CO2 levels in ice cores, and instead of actually having an intellectual discussion, Charles Johnson just rages on, and bans me with quite a few derogatory comments as well. I strongly suspect he has gone round the bend, and is going through life in an impaired state. Opposing views are not welcome at LGF. Any view is accepted, as long as it agrees with Charles Johnson.