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Meet the Former Right-Wing Blogger Who Realized Conservatives Are Crazy

Charles Johnson was among the nation's leading "anti-jihad" bloggers until he realized that his compatriots were totally nuts.

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JH: You say you have regrets. I wonder is there one thing that you regret more than others? Is there something that stands out in your mind?

CJ: I was totally wrong about Barack Obama. That’s one of my main regrets at this point. I really fell for a lot of the right wing propaganda, and I thought he was going to be a communist and a radical leftist and all that stuff. I believed a lot of the propaganda about him. If I could go back I would vote for him now, but we don’t have that time machine yet. That’s actually one of the main things. I should not have been so ready to accept it. That was one of the things that really woke me up, seeing the truth as opposed to all the lies that were being spread by this blizzard of propaganda.

JH: I had Eric Boehlert on the show a few weeks ago. He’s with Media Matters. He said something really interesting. He said that in the era of Obama, when things have really gone off the deep end on the right, they don’t bother debunking a lot of the right-wing media outlets that they used to track regularly because they’ve become so transparently crazy that nobody pays attention to them.

CJ: That’s a great point. Sometimes I actually stop myself from copying or covering that stuff as well, because it does seem like just another crazy or absurd thing. At this point they’re so far out there that there’s absolutely no concern for reality on these blogs. And they never back down and never correct anything.

JH: They certainly don’t. Do you think that their influence has truly waned? We saw Mitt Romney try to court right-wing bloggers this week.

CJ: I think influence is an interesting thing that’s hard to measure. The effects of the Tea Party on the Republican Party was definitely exacerbated by the right-wing blogs. I don’t really know how much of that Mitt Romney meeting was just pandering and how much of it was a genuine attempt to curry favor with the base. Some of the people they invited are weird choices if you really know their background. Some of these people have been incredibly vicious toward Romney, but that’s politics.

 

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.

 
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