Little Green Footballs

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Little Green Footballs
Greenienew.png
The former Little Green Footballs logo
Web address littlegreenfootballs.com
Type of site
Independent,[1] center-left (post-mid-2009) blog

Little Green Footballs (LGF) is an American political blog run by web designer Charles Johnson.

Media observers[clarification needed] in the United States long described the site as "right wing",[2] but since 2007, the site's emphasis has changed, such that "LGF has become better known for the various fights it picks with many on the right."[who?][3]

Johnson stated in 2006:

I'm not pretending I'm giving equal time to both sides. But I do think what I'm advocating, and what I believe in, is the right side.[4]

More recently, in 2009, he has claimed that:

I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore... It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watched 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.[3]

Earlier, after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Johnson—who has described himself as "pretty much center-left before 9/11"[5]— transformed his blog into a discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

LGF won the "Best Israel Advocacy Blog" award from the Jerusalem Post in 2005.[6] In 2004 Gil Ronen, a reporter for Internet news outlet Israel National News, stated that "If anyone ever compiles a list of Internet sites that contribute to Israel’s public relations effort, Johnson's site will probably come in first, far above the Israeli Foreign Ministry's site."[7]

In the United States, LGF is perhaps best known for playing a key role in exposing the fraud of the Killian documents regarding President George W. Bush,[8][9] which preceded the resignation of CBS's Dan Rather. The site won the Washington Post's reader poll for Best International Blog in November 2004[10] and played a role in bringing attention to altered photographs in the Adnan Hajj photographs controversy.[11] In July 2008, LGF identified that photographs of Iran's missile test had been altered,[12] and was credited by much of the media for this.[13]

History and notable events[edit]

The software for the website was written by Johnson himself[when?], in PHP. Until Spring 2007, all data was stored in flat files. The website now uses MySQL.[14]

Killian documents[edit]

Main article: Killian documents
The animated GIF image created by Charles Johnson and posted at LGF, comparing a 2004-era Microsoft Word document made with default settings to the document that CBS presented as a typewritten memo from 1973.

LGF was one of four sources, along with the Power Line and Allahpundit blogs and the Free Republic discussion forum, who conducted the initial investigation of Dan Rather's assertions on 60 Minutes that the Killian documents were genuine.

Charitable contributions[edit]

Little Green Footballs supporters have helped raise thousands of dollars for Spirit of America's "Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge".[15][16] Supporters also donate pizzas for IDF soldiers.[17] In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina several registered users also offered their direct services donating and transporting goods to the hardest hit, inviting contributions from other readers.[18] Johnson also posted a number of links to charitable efforts [19][20] and thanked his readers for their response.[21]

Pajamas Media[edit]

Main article: Pajamas Media

In late 2005 Johnson, along with blogger and author Roger L. Simon launched a news site called Pajamas Media (briefly called Open Source Media) featuring mostly conservative and libertarian bloggers and journalists (e.g., Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, Michael Barone, Tammy Bruce, John Podhoretz, Michael Ledeen, Cathy Seipp) with some liberal participants (e.g., David Corn, Marc Cooper). The name refers to Jonathan Klein's comment about bloggers working in their pajamas.

As of 15 September 2009, Johnson has removed all links to Pajamas Media sites [22] from Little Green Footballs.

Doctored photographs[edit]

On August 5, 2006, LGF showed how a photograph of Beirut after an Israeli air strike taken by Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj was manipulated before being published by Reuters.[23][24]

On July 10, 2008 the website documented alterations to photos of Iranian missile tests.[25] Fox News credited the website for discovering the doctored photos.[26]

Awards[edit]

Little Green Footballs once had two annual awards; The Fiskie and The Fallaci. The Fiskie was named after journalist Robert Fisk, in a blog post[27] where Johnson notes that, after having been captured and beaten by Afghan refugees, Fisk claimed he sympathized with them. The award was given to people who in the previous year best embodied the "Idiotarian" worldview. The Fallaci was named after the late Oriana Fallaci, and given to people who in the previous year best embodied the "Anti-Idiotarian" worldview.

Johnson had previously allowed his users to nominate and vote on candidates for both awards. The Fallaci was discontinued without explanation after 2007. Johnson quietly removed a link to her memorial site from the blog during his ideological shift in 2008. The Fiskie was discontinued after 2009. That year, rather than allow the community to vote,[28] Johnson unilaterally awarded the Fiskie to Glenn Beck.[29]

Name[edit]

The name "Little Green Footballs" has not been explained by Charles Johnson. The most he has said about it is:

I am at liberty to reveal that it has something to do with an incident in my youth that happened in Japan.[30]

Parting ways with the Right[edit]

On November 30, 2009, Johnson blogged that he was disassociating himself with "the right", claiming that "The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them." He has been heavily critical of conservatives and libertarians since then.[31]

Alteration and Deletion of Posts[edit]

In early September, 2010, it was discovered that Johnson had begun altering some posts and deleting others which expressed sentiments which were substantively similar to the ones he had recently been condemning others for. In one example, Johnson had been condemning opponents of the Park51 project as "bigots", though he had expressed similar opposition to the proposed Flight 93 memorial, which he described as an "Islamic Shrine". Johnson was discovered to have deleted these posts without acknowledging their deletion.[32] Johnson had also described the lead figure in the Park51 project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, as an "Islamic Supremacist," but later revised that description from the post without acknowledging the change[33]

Recurring themes[edit]

Monitoring and exposing rival websites for revisionist editing[edit]

Charles Johnson's posts on LGF frequently call attention to what he regards as unethical revisionism on the part of rival blogs.[34][35][36][37][38][39][40]

Ideological influences[edit]

Charles Johnson's posts on LGF frequently cited the writing of authors representing Neoconservative viewpoints, such as Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, Mark Steyn, James Lileks, and Oriana Fallaci. Johnson has expressed a strong disdain for the Tea Party protests. Since his strong break with the right, he has come to openly criticize many of those same writers. He frequently references climate blogger Peter Sinclair[41] in posts about global warming.

"Palestinian child abuse"[edit]

Johnson often posts photos taken by Associated Press and Reuters photographers, among others, of Palestinians dressing their children in paramilitary uniforms, or in clothing emblazoned with violent slogans such as "Death to Israel." These children are often shown carrying real guns and even wearing mock-ups of the explosive belts used by suicide bombers. Johnson refers to such photographs as evidence of Palestinian child abuse.[42]

Rachel Corrie[edit]

Johnson has stated many times that he is disgusted with media coverage of the death of International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, a town in the Gaza Strip.[43] Johnson disputes the ISM's account, holding that Corrie was "trying to 'protect' a house used for drugs and weapons smuggling".[43] Johnson states:

Rachel Corrie was emphatically not a "peace activist". She sided with terrorists and criminals, and advocated—in fact, was excited by—violence and mass murder.[44]

In support of this view, he has cited[44] a diary entry[45] from Corrie in which he claims that she expresses the view that Palestinian violence towards Israel is justifiable and laudable.[44]

In posts about her on LGF, Johnson often features a photo of Corrie burning a hand-drawn American flag and surrounded by Palestinian children.[43]

Intelligent Design criticism[edit]

LGF has been ideologically opposed to Intelligent Design, and Johnson regularly posts to criticize the subject[46] and those who endorse it. He is particularly critical of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on this point. In 2009, he stated that the Republican Party's having visible advocates of Intelligent Design is one of the reasons that the Democrats were in power.[47]

Slang[edit]

Discussing slang terms used by Johnson and his readers, Paul Farhi, a writer for the Washington Post, notes:

...Little Green Footballs doesn't always traffic in subtlety and nuance. Dissenting points of view often are dismissed as "idiotarian" or "LLL" (for "loony liberal left"), and Islam is mockingly referred to as "RoP", meaning "religion of peace".[4]

Registration and posting protocols[edit]

Posting filter[edit]

Johnson has put[when?] in place a filter which stops LGF members from using certain derogatory and racist terms in their posts to the site. Johnson stresses that the number of comments filtered in this way are "minuscule." The filter is intended to prevent abuse going unnoticed.[48]

Rivalries[edit]

According to the Blog Herald, Johnson and LGF "regulars" (the self-proclaimed "Lizardoids") have engaged in a number of high-profile feuds and flame wars, pitting LGF supporters against readers of other blogs (e.g., Daily Kos and later Hot Air) and alternative media sites (e.g., Fark and Digg). Claims Derek van Vliet, a writer for the Blog Herald:

In the past, Charles Johnson, the owner of the (LGF) blog has rallied his readers to establish a “beachhead” on Digg to counteract the perceived liberal bias. All the while peppering pejoratives like “moonbat” throughout the content directed at Digg users. Meanwhile, their site does not allow open discussion. Registration is required to comment. And opportunities to register are rare. Digg users are known to rail against closed systems. After all, they came to participate...[49]

Redirects[edit]

Johnson often redirects incoming links from sites critical of LGF to the Israel Defense Forces homepage.[50][51]

Following a news release which CAIR sent to pay-for-play organization PRNewswire.com, Johnson redirected the news release's link traffic to a site regarding CAIR's alleged ties to terrorist organizations. CAIR responded by having the links removed from the press release.[52]

Controversies[edit]

Allegations of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment[edit]

  • R. J. Smith, writing in Los Angeles Magazine, stated that LGF is a "dysfunctional mix of beautiful photos Johnson takes on coastal bike rides and constitutionally protected hate speech" which "believes all Muslims are terrorists until proven innocent."[53]
  • Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called Little Green Footballs "a vicious, anti-Muslim hate site" and says that the FBI has "investigated several threats of physical harm against Muslims posted by Little Green Footballs readers".[4]

Allegations of censorship[edit]

  • In March 2005, Johnson called attention to Google's inclusion of the white supremacist National Vanguard site (and simultaneous exclusion of LGF) in its news index; the NV site has since been dropped.[55]
  • In April 2007 Johnson reported that Little Green Footballs was being blocked by Websense under its "Racism and Hate" category.[56] Websense admitted that the site had been thus categorized briefly (but incorrectly) and subsequently reversed the decision.[57]
  • Johnson has also been known to outright ban users who comment with opposing viewpoints, but publicly stating he welcomes debate.

Statements about Ron Paul[edit]

  • Johnson removed Ron Paul's name from straw polls regarding the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination campaign, asserting that Ron Paul's supporters were fraudulently gaming the vote script to increase Paul's numbers: "The bottom line: if Ron Paul supporters weren’t spamming, he would still be in our polls. I really don’t have any nefarious motives here; I just don’t like being gamed, and since I run these silly unscientific polls I don’t have to put up with it."[58] According to Johnson, the tactic used was an organized campaign by Ron Paul supporters to notify other supporters of online polls and vote in them.
Little Green Footballs has moved, over the space of a few weeks, from mercilessly mocking Ron Paul and banning him from its straw polls to putting him at the center of a conspiracy for worldwide Nazi domination.

Johnson's allegations were picked up in the New York Times "Medium" section, where Virginia Heffernan cited LGF's coverage of claims by Bill White, writing:[60]

Little Green Footballs, the hawkish and rigidly empiricist blog that first furnished evidence of memo-forging in the Rathergate case, has started due diligence...

Statements about Vlaams Belang[edit]

In the wake of the Brussels Counterjihad 2007 conference held on October 17–18, 2007, Charles Johnson became openly critical of the Vlaams Belang and Sweden Democrats, political parties he believes to be fascist or neo-Nazi in character.[61] This resulted in a falling out with several other prominent right-wing bloggers, including Diana West,[62] Robert Spencer,[63] and Fjordman.[64]

Media attention in the United States[edit]

2002[edit]

  • MSNBC's Will Femia wrote of LGF:
This site is the focus of considerable controversy for its focus (and particularly the focus of the constituents in its comments section) on Islamic culture and dogma as the source of Islamic terror. As a popular, active, and well presented site, it is worth checking out, but some may find its content hateful or even racist.

2005[edit]

  • Vanity Fair theater critic James Wolcott characterized the LGF community as "sort of like a disorganized Nuremberg Rally, a lot of angry ruffians with nowhere to go...."[66] after Johnson described an attack on Daniel Pipes by Wolcott as "the sort of high-toned writin’ that made Vanity Fair the journalistic juggernaut it is today".

2006[edit]

I'm losing patience with this notion, surely one of the most successful media Big Lies of the past few years, that Charles runs a racist hate site. By now it's been repeated so often that even normally reasonable people believe it.

2009[edit]

  • Charles Johnson and LGF received attention from the leftist blog the Huffington Post because of a blog post of Johnsons disassociating himself from "the right" because of perceived, "anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide," embracing of conspiracy theories, and hate speech.[69]

2010[edit]

  • Author and journalist Jonathan Dee wrote a lengthy profile of Johnson for The New York Times Magazine.[70] Johnson later criticized the article for its negative slant and for lending too much weight to the opinions of people he claimed the Times would "normally assign to the 'wacko far right bigot' category".[71]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Charles. "We Got Mail!". littlegreenfootballs.com. Retrieved 2009-12-02. Call me independent, and I won’t be unhappy. I have bones to pick with both sides, and big issues with the extremists on both sides. And if you’re a politician, you need to prove to me that you deserve my support, because it’s not a given just because you’re on “my team.” 
  2. ^ Doree Shafrir (2006-10-05). "Speaker System". Slate. 
  3. ^ a b David Weigel (2009-04-21). "Civil War Raging in Right-Wing Blogosphere". Washington Independent. 
  4. ^ a b c Paul Farhi (2006-08-09). "Blogger Takes Aim At News Media and Makes a Direct Hit". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ Gil Ronen (2004-05-11). "At Israel's Right". Israel National News. 
  6. ^ "2005 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards". Jerusalem Post,. 2006-02-02. 
  7. ^ Gil Ronen (2004-04-29). "At Israel's Right". B'Sheva. 
  8. ^ Charles Johnson (2004-09-09). "Bush Guard Documents: Forged". LGF. 
  9. ^ Howard Kurtz (2004-09-20). "After Blogs Got Hits, CBS Got a Black Eye". Washington Post. 
  10. ^ "2004 Best Blogs - Politics & Elections Readers' Choice Awards". Washington Post. 2004-10-05. 
  11. ^ Charles Johnson. "Fauxtography Updates". LGF. 
  12. ^ "lgf: Iran's Photoshopped Missile Launch". Littlegreenfootballs.com. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  13. ^ "lgf: A Memo to Fox News and the New York Times". Littlegreenfootballs.com. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  14. ^ Charles Johnson (2007-04-03). "LGF Database Mongo Makeover". LGF. 
  15. ^ Charles Johnson (2004-12-14). "Of Money and Mouths". LGF. 
  16. ^ "Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge". Spirit of America. 
  17. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-05-22). "za for the idf". LGF.  (See pizzaidf.com)
  18. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-05-22). "Katrina - Johnson thanks readers". LGF. 
  19. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-05-09). "Katrina - Johnson thanks readers". LGF. 
  20. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-05-03). "Katrina - Johnson thanks readers". LGF. 
  21. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-05-22). "Katrina - Johnson thanks readers". LGF. 
  22. ^ "LGF Delinks Pajamas Media!". 2009-09-15. 
  23. ^ Charles Johnson (2006-08-05). "Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?". LGF. 
  24. ^ "Reuters admits altering Beirut photo". Ynetnews. 2006-08-06. Retrieved 2006-10-19. 
  25. ^ LGF (2008-07-10). "Iran's Photoshopped Missile Launch". LGF. 
  26. ^ "Little Green Footballs on Fox and Friends". Fox News. 2008-07-11. 
  27. ^ Charles Johnson (2002-12-19). "Idiotarian of the Year". LGF. 
  28. ^ http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35528_Midday_Open_Thread
  29. ^ http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35534_The_Fiskie_Award_for_2009_Goes_To-_A_Raving_Freakazoid_Nut_Sandwich
  30. ^ "At Israel's Right - On A7 Radio - Israel News - Arutz Sheva". Israelnationalnews.com. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  31. ^ Little Green Footballs - Why I Parted Ways With The Right
  32. ^ Charles Johnson (2010-013-09). "comment 23". Little Green Footballs.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  33. ^ Tim Blair (2010-013-09). "Deletion Johnson". Daily Telegraph.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  34. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-08-06). "Obama Campaign Throws Antisemitic Blog Down the Memory Hole". Little Green Footballs. 
  35. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-02-10). "Trinity United Church Sends Everything Down the Memory Hole". Little Green Footballs. 
  36. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-11-06). "Obama Campaign Throws More Hate Blogs Down the Memory Hole - Update- Obama Supporters Read the Riot Act to Webmasters". Little Green Footballs. 
  37. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-06-22). "Obama Community Blogs Being Sanitized". Little Green Footballs. 
  38. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-05-20). "Down the Memory Hole with Daily Kos". Little Green Footballs. 
  39. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-09-22). "Daily Kos Astroturf Diary Goes Down the Memory Hole". Little Green Footballs. 
  40. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-02-09). "Yet Another Daily Kos Hate Blog Down the Memory Hole". Little Green Footballs. 
  41. ^ Peter Sinclair (2013-04-12). "Climate Crocks". 
  42. ^ "Search results for "Palestinian Child Abuse" in LGF entries". 
  43. ^ a b c Charles Johnson (2003-04-12). "The ISM Whitewash Continues". LGF. 
  44. ^ a b c Charles Johnson (2003-03-19). "No Tears for Corrie". LGF. 
  45. ^ "Courage And More Martyrs". February 10, 2003. Scoop. Diary entries of Rachel Corrie.
  46. ^ See articles with the Intelligent Design tag
  47. ^ Charles Foster Johnson (2009-02-22). "The Top 3 GOP Governors: All Creationists". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  48. ^ Charles Johnson (2007-03-22). "Sane Remarks About Blog Comments". LGF. 
  49. ^ Derek van Vliet (2007-02-07). "Warning: Politics Can Get Messy On Digg". The Blog Herald. 
  50. ^ Charles Johnson (2003-06-23). "LGF Al-Zawiya Yahoo Group Notices LGF". LGF. 
  51. ^ al-Zawiya (2003-06-23). "Al-Zawiya posting". Yahoo Groups. 
  52. ^ "When CAIR Attacks". Little Green Footballs. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  53. ^ RJ Smith (February 2006). "Pajama Game". Los Angeles Magazine. 
  54. ^ Antonia Zerbisias (2006-08-09). "And now it's 'Reutersgate'". Toronto Star. 
  55. ^ Charles Johnson (2005-03-20). "Google News High Standards, Exhibit N for Nazi". LGF. 
  56. ^ Charles Johnson (4 April 2007). "Websense Damage Spreading". LGF. 
  57. ^ Charles Johnson (5 April 2007). "Websense Update: Block Removed". LGF. 
  58. ^ "Ron Paul Supporters Spamming Our Poll Again". Littlegreenfootballs.com. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  59. ^ David Weigel (2007-12-21). "Smear, Smear Again". Reason Magazine. 
  60. ^ Virginia Heffernan (2007-12-24). "The Ron Paul Vid-Lash". New York Times. 
  61. ^ Charles Johnson (2008-10-14). "What is Fascism?". LGF. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  62. ^ Diana West (2008-10-14). "Yes or No to Islamiztion?". Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  63. ^ Robert Spencer (2008-10-31). "Excommunicated". Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  64. ^ Fjordman (2007-11-01). "Little Green Footballs and Racism in the United States". Brussels Journal. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  65. ^ James Taranto (2002-10-22). "Best of the Web Today: MSNBC Smears Charles Johnson". OpinionJournal.com. 
  66. ^ James Wolcott (December 2005). "Headhunters". JamesWolcott.com. 
  67. ^ Dean Barnett (2005-03-02). "Kos Party". The Weekly Standard. 
  68. ^ Cathy Seipp (2006-02-17). "Los Locos: Not-so-brilliant media insights from the City of Angels". National Review. 
  69. ^ Huffingtonpost.com
  70. ^ Dee, Jonathan (January 24, 2010). "Right Wing Flame War!". The New York Times Magazine. pp. MM40. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. 
  71. ^ Charles Foster Johnson (2010-01-22). "For Whom Does the Paperboy Toll". Little Green Footballs. 

External links[edit]