Updates down below.
Let’s be very clear about this: The Washington Post rehired a mentally ill man with a history of wishing death on his subjects.
The Washington Post has rehired disgraced Journolist writer David Weigel.
Weigel was fired — he says he resigned — from the Washington Post after he was caught wishing for the deaths of conservative figures on a controversial listserv. (The story was first broken by the Daily Caller. Matt Lewis wrote previously about how Weigel called social conservatives “bigots” for favoring marriage).
These uncensored posts by David Weigel were an odd thing to do. Why would you wish death on Rush Limbaugh? Why call Matt Drudge an “amoral shut-in”? Would you trust reporting by someone who has a history of hating his sources?
GotNews.com did some research on Weigel and found a history of mental illness–which makes sense.
“Depression is what’s wrong with you. I’ve been medicated for depression since 2001. In 2002, after a particularly low episode, I was taken in by campus police who marked me as a risk for self-harm. I then voluntarily checked myself into a mental hospital.”
This was a good thing. The hospital, which was as expensive as a suite in the Burj Al Arab (thank you, health insurance), was staffed by very smart people who actually taught me some coping techniques that should have been obvious. I could have Googled that “depression is anger, turned inward,” but instead I learned it after a few forced days of meetings, sharing a bedroom with a grad student who was unable to stay awake for more than a few minutes.
This unstable behavior has manifested itself in my dealings with Weigel.
“Charles C. Johnson is a careful reporter… an expert at digging through public records to find graft or hypocrisy,” he wrote on September 30, 2013.
Weigel once complimented me a lot on my work but something changed in him after I exposed Cory Booker didn’t live in Newark.
I interviewed people from Booker’s neighborhood, going deep into the ghetto, to accomplish this job.
But when Rosie Gray — who says (she didn’t produce them) she got rent checks from Team Booker — Weigel incredulously reported it. I went there, I interviewed U.S. Census workers, and Weigel sits in his office and repeats the cat pornographer’s words.
Years later he’s still obsessed.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) June 18, 2015
I have an admittedly odd sense of humor and I have difficulty recognizing humor–I said as much to David Weigel–but he left that out of the story to try to harm me. In recent years he’s claimed I’m a racist–still happily married to the brown girl–and made various ad hominem attacks. I fear his mental illness is showing again.
Incompetent racists really deserve a better celebrity than Chuck Johnson.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) June 18, 2015
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) May 26, 2015
Journalistic integrity much? Not at the Post.
The standards of the Post have been collapsing in recent years.
There’s Wesley Lowery, who has a history of making things up and hanging out with his subjects who burn down their own churches.
To punish me for exposing Lowery’s long history of fraud, he called for my censorship from Twitter–something his fellow activists were able to achieve.
Chuck C. Johnson uses @Twitter to attack alleged rape victims, libel & harass journalists and threaten activists – and Twitter does nothing
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) May 24, 2015
Lowery also falsely accused me of being mentally ill when his publication profiled me.
There’s Caitlin Dewey, who has a history of unethical behavior and just making things up. She called me “your least favorite person.” (If true why do I continue to have thousands of supporters?)
And, there’s Robert Costa who uncritically repeated everything the Barbour machine told him in Mississippi.
The real question, though, is why conservatives and others on the right continue to pretend that the Washington Post or the New York Times put up with this nonsense.
Here’s a brief strategy:
1.) Increase the media’s costs through any means necessary. Sometimes this means distracting them by breaking stories they have to respond to. Other times, it means through litigation, especially when they libel you. Still other times it means going after their family, friends, and conflicts of interests. By publishing the addresses of the New York Times reporters I increased the costs on the New York Times and found myself profiled in its pages. (Economic incentives are, apparently, something they don’t teach at the Gray Lady.) I’ll stop doxxing reporters when left-wing hackers stop hacking my website or threatening my family. As that will never happen doxxing is a fair tactic.
If you choose the lawsuit route, be sure to sue the reporters personally. They aren’t required as a condition of their employment to have Twitter and so their publication’s lawyers likely won’t indemnify them. All publications are required to notify their libel insurance lawyers in the event of a suit. Litigation costs affect valuation, especially for publicly traded companies or for venture capitalists.
This is one of their Achilles’ heels. (Yes, they have several. Go with me here.)
The other is the market. Competition for attention is driving down print dollars to digital fractions of a penny. Any day now the advertising bubble will pop and advertisers will realize that they are being cheated by digital marketing agencies. Accelerate the trend and collapse the traditional media. This is why the former owner of the Boston Globe paid more for his second basement than he did for his newspaper because he was worth more.
2.) Recognize income-status disequilibrium. Most journalists are only powerful because they work for a brand that employs them. Their brands are important but none of them make much money in the age of the page view. They are weak. They have no money and this trend will continue into the future. Oftentimes very low amounts of money can wreak havoc on a dishonest journalist’s personal life.
3.) Embrace the hatred. Retweet the worst thing a journalist can say about you. If something is false, correct it. If the journalist persists in malicious falsehood, sue them. Don’t apologize for sticking up for the truth. It undermines the Journolist’s power.
4.) He who breaks the news and breaks the rules controls the news. Just ask Donald Trump who has perfected the art of messing with the media.
CNN says 'Donald Trump' 239 times in single day… http://t.co/ybpdPfdP6G
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 10, 2015
Update: Weigel has admitted his history of depression and descended into yet another ad hominem.
In which Chuck Johnson “researches” my history of depression by… googling the article I wrote about it. pic.twitter.com/kJGbgmpPFI
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 11, 2015
Second Update: Weigel has also falsely accused me of having “Asbergers.” I have never had Asbergers or assburgers or Aspergers.
@BecketAdams Pure schadenfreude. We're talking about a guy who mocks my depression, then whines that no one goes easy on his Asbergers.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 11, 2015
Weigel’s mean-spirited falsehoods continue, proving my point about his mental illness.
David Weigel, who is mentally ill, has now false accused me of “tak[ing] a running leap off the deep end with a run of vicious and false ‘investigations'” in a lengthy post at his personal website.
His facts for this false claim are my investigation into Cory Booker’s actual residency, an issue that has been discussed openly for sometime by reporters at the Star-Ledger and which was addressed by a U.S. Census worker who claimed that Booker’s “address” in Newark was a police station.
Weigel is a fan of Cory Booker. He’s also a fan of Rosie Gray who claims she saw rent checks from Booker that shows he lives at Hawthorne Avenue. I answered that that proves nothing and that she should publish them. I wrote a lengthy rebuttal showing how he doesn’t live in Hawthorne here. I pretty much conclusively proved that BuzzFeed was lied to by Cory Booker. Cory Booker was so cross with me for outing him that he actually got a team of people together to “manage the Charles C. Johnson problem.”
I am and remain proud of publishing the address of reporters who doxxed Darren Wilson and his wife. I would do it again. I’m proud of causing over $100,000 in security costs to the New York Times.
I never once claimed that Weigel was harassing me for my autism. I published a humorous story about David Kirkpatrick that reported correctly that he liked to pose naked in college and incorrectly that he posed for Playgirl. I messed that up and apologized to Kirkpatrick, who took the whole issue charitably. It frankly wasn’t a big deal at the time though I understand why Weigel wants to make it one: he’d like to claim he ended my career or some such other nonsense.
I had a freelancer agreement with the Daily Caller that I declined to renew into 2014. Frankly I wanted to make more money elsewhere after my friends who worked there moved on and pursued those options. The advertising bubble made it so that I made a lot less money at the Caller than I did doing research for my clients.
I founded my own website, Gotnews.com, which led to me becoming a lot more famous. In tweets and discussions with other reporters who asked me about the Daily Caller period in my work and David Weigel I made it abundantly clear that I think he’s being less than charitable given his history of wishing death on his subjects.
I also found Weigel to be a liar with anger issues. He got angry with me for producing a video on Cory Booker not living in Newark with a filmmaker who has rightly claimed that Obama’s father is Frank Marshall Davis. Weigel claims that film is a “pack of lies.” I asked Weigel if he had seen the film. He said he hadn’t. I also made clear that I don’t have to agree with someone’s work to work with them on an independent project.
I do not regard Weigel as an impartial observer and think his mental health issues are part of that problem in his reporting in much the same way that my neurodiversity makes it difficult for me to spot humor. He has serious anger issues which come out in his unguarded moments, like Journolist.
He has also repeatedly and falsely claimed that I’m a racist, an indication of his lack of seriousness. I have repeatedly made it clear that I don’t harbor any racial animus toward any race.
Let’s be very clear about this: The Washington Post rehired a mentally ill man with a history of wishing death on his subjects. That’s a crazy thing to do. I wouldn’t have done that.
I’m advising everyone I work with to avoid Weigel whose history of mental illness should be noted. My friends and clients should not expect fairness or even-handedness in his reporting.
I just hope he doesn’t own a gun and go off of his meds.