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Little Green D-Words

OK, Paul's been basically taunting me to say something about Charles Johnson and the whole Anthony Weiner mess, and I've had it with him. Here goes nothing.

A lot has been said about Mad King Charles, the guy who used to be someone worth noticing, and his "coverage" of the whole Weiner mess. And most of it has been said already. However, just to shut up Paul (or, rather, attempt to -- I think that's impossible), I'll focus on one aspect that caught my eye -- but apparently no one else's.

When Weiner finally... er... "came clean," Charles managed to avoid doubling down on stupid. But he still managed to lie and spin a bit more frantically to try to keep the slightest vestiges of whatever credibility he once had. And one part of his non-apology jumped out at me:

Just to be absolutely clear about this: yes, Andrew Breitbart got this one right. But again, I will never apologize for doubting his credibility. He's smeared too many innocent people, he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, and getting it right this one time does not change those facts.

"Doubt." This is a word that I hold a special place for. When it comes to religion, I am quite resolute in proclaiming myself an agnostic. I am not a theist nor an atheist; I have doubts. I cannot say with certitude whether or not there is a Supreme Being.

Atheists have no doubts. They are resolutely convinced in their point. They, rather, deny.

There is a huge gulf between "doubt" and "deny." And right up until Weiner's confession, Charles had no doubts; he was firmly in the denial camp. Breitbart was lying, there was a conspiracy, there was hacking going on, Weiner was innocent. There was no uncertainty in the matter, no room for doubt.

For Charles to say that he "doubts" Breitbart's credibility is a bald-faced lie. In Charles' mind, there is no room for doubt when it comes to Breitbart; he is guilty even after proven innocent. The man only tells the truth purely by accident, when he fails to successfully lie. There is not a shred of evidence (especially after Charles gets done revising the history of his site) that he has ever shown Breitbart any doubt whatsoever.

While I'm kicking around the once-great Charles, I want to bring up another point that came to me a while ago. Charles likes playing the "guilt by association" game -- if you don't denounce someone who hasn't denounced someone who hasn't denounced someone who once said or did something bad, you're endorsing all of them. So those of us who like Robert Stacey McCain are racists, because he likes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who didn't denounce some obscure Belgian political party. This is a very safe tactic for Johnson, as it can NEVER be turned against him -- he associates with no one, he allies himself with no one, he shows no respect or admiration or affiliation with anyone. He seeks out enemies, goes to start fights, but never shows any signs of being interested in friendship. He's the Unabomber of the internet. You can't play the "guilty by assoication" card on someone who never associates with anyone.

On a related note, it's worth noting that Breitbart has sttruck upon a brilliant strategy for his particular brand of "gotcha" journalism. He teases the story, then releases a single video or photo or other bit of evidence. Then he sits back and lets the stir explode. Once his subjects have had ample time to hang themselves (and their sycophants to construct elaborate conspiracy theories), he releases  even more damning proof. And he continues -- never saying when the next shoe will drop, never even saying how many shoes he is holding. Instead, he lets his targets sweat and twist slowly in the breeze.

I had been thinking of it as a cyber form of the classic Chinese water torture, but Kevin reminded us of an even more appropriate precedent:

I find myself wondering what Breitbart would do to Johnson -- and then I realize that Johnson simply isn't a big enough fish any more, if he ever was. He wouldn't even make a good Shirley Sherrod -- a tactic to use against a truly worthy foe.


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Comments (11)

Does anyone else find it od... (Below threshold)
Jeff Medcalf:

Does anyone else find it odd that Johnson, best known for his stellar efforts to show the Rathergate memos false, is now taking the line that his criticism of Breitbart was fake but accurate?

"Breitbart has struck upon ... (Below threshold)

"Breitbart has struck upon a brilliant strategy for his particular brand of "gotcha" journalism. He teases the story, then releases a single video or photo or other bit of evidence."

Jay Tea, I believe you have identified a valuble technique far more useful than apparent at first glance. Where it has been used in "gotcha" journalism, it has indeed been wildly successful. Would there be a way to use it in more mainstream important stories?

This current administration and the LSM continually change direction and tell us certain stories should be put aside for the "more pressing issues" of the country. We live in a society with little attention span even for those who try to pay attention. Breitbart's technique helps a story remain active long enough for it to actually sink into memories.

Breitbart issued a challeng... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Breitbart issued a challenge to the journalists the other day during Weiner's presser. Not one took him up on it. Were Charles there, he would have probably have just gotten all wee-weed up.

I dispute that CJ was "once... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

I dispute that CJ was "once great" at all. His efforts in Rathergate were not essential, just memorable.

He created the animated GIF overlay of the CBS document posted on the web (which had been photocopied several times to give it the appearance of a copy of an older document) with a modern Word document, showing they were the same font and letting. IOW, that the document wasn't typed on a standard 1970s typewriter.

Now, LGF did keep hyping the story, but the GIF was CJ's sole original contribution to it, and that was created on the information provided by the original poster at Free Republic who noticed the fake and the Powerline guys and others who documented it. It was a great visual aid, but nothing new at all.

The rest of his online career has merely been CJ's love song to himself.

Atheists have no doubts.... (Below threshold)
Brian Westley:

Atheists have no doubts.

Wrong. An atheist is someone who is not a theist. That doesn't imply anything regarding degrees of certainty about atheism or anything else.

"Breitbart has str... (Below threshold)
"Breitbart has struck upon a brilliant strategy for his particular brand of "gotcha" journalism. He teases the story, then releases a single video or photo or other bit of evidence."

This is exactly right. This is why Breitbart is so dangerous to the left. He gets them to go all in with their lies and smears, and then, only afterward, does he release the evidence that disproves their lies and smears -- all the while warning them in plain language that this is what he is going to do. This is what he did with ACORN, but ACORN didn't listen, continued to lie, and paid the price.

Breitbart basically pwned Weiner, as the press conference demonstrated. If this were ancient times, Breitbart would be dragging Weiner's corpse around the arena tied by the ankles to the back of his chariot.

An atheist is s... (Below threshold)
An atheist is someone who is not a theist.
Most "atheists" -- the ones who make a point of being pains in the ass to their theist acquaintances -- are not really atheists but are rebelling against the theism they learned and internalized in childhood. Thing is, once internalized it's damn near impossible to be completely rid of it. Thus it not only informs their view of the world, it also maps out for them the kind of world they want to bring about: one where theists are subjected to an Inquisition to make them convert and conform to their atheism.

A true atheist has concluded there are no gods. He is indeed a nontheist -- but it is inaccurate to declare that all who profess to be atheists are nontheists. The phony atheists do in fact believe in an infallible Judgment: their own.

No, really, an atheist real... (Below threshold)
Brian Westley:

No, really, an atheist really is just someone who is not a theist. All that other baggage (the logical fallacies, the arguments from imaginary anecdote, etc) is your problem, McGehee.

I'd say he even parodys him... (Below threshold)
Brian, strip away the rheto... (Below threshold)

Brian, strip away the rhetorical parallel construction device I used, and what I said was this: an atheist is as fervent in their belief that there is no God as any religious person is that there is. They are mirror images of each other.

Would you care to dispute that point?


What you actually sa... (Below threshold)
Brian Westley:

What you actually said was "Atheists have no doubts," which is simply an incorrect statement. Not all atheists are as "fervent" as any religious person that there is. You've got a strawman version of an atheist there.






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