Why I Am Suing BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac For Libel Over Peter Thiel Story

It's important for fake journalists to be exposed for the frauds they are so real journalists might thrive.

Once upon a time I thought I might be a journalist but I have put aside the childish notion that people actually care about what’s true.

When I was younger and dumber I set about winning every award that the profession offered. And I won them. One after another, award ceremony after award ceremony. Why did I do that? Well, I thought prestige could make me feel whole but like a lot of things we chase when we are young, I made a lot of mistakes in focus.

I broke real stories and was even profiled by its leading lights. I met ‘em all — Rupert Murdoch, David Carr, Roger Ailes, Tucker Carlson, Andrew Breitbart, Conrad Black, to name drop a few. I became friendly with billionaires and congressmen, ambassadors and foreign diplomats.

I was that wunderkind but now I am neither a wunder nor a kind. And whiz kid both lives—and sound—a lot better than whiz man. There is white in my red beard now and aches in body parts which I didn’t even know could ache.

What drove me from the profession? Nastiness — and poverty. I got attacked, lied about, and threatened by lesser talents. I learned that the way to live a full life is to live a quiet life. I discovered what all public people who take positions do: They will attack your family to get to you. And you will lose for the same reason that the many can destroy the few: there are more of them and they won’t fight fair. The truth will only set you free if you’re allowed to tell it. And the truth will only set YOU free, not your audience. Your audience can just easily become a mob. When you’re allowed to tell the truth you won’t want to. You’ll prefer instead to just move on and spend your efforts on something beautiful instead, something that matters, something personal.

The media and social media have a cardinal sin: their business model. Engagement is enragement. They need sacrifices and repetitional destruction. This is how they make bucks and why they give zero fucks if they hurt anyone. They are in the business of telling you who is a hero and who is a villain and there is no appeal except possibly to a jury of your peers.

The corporate press is designed and optimized to sell advertising and not to tell you the truth. At its most frivolous, it produces empty calories. At its worst it needs witches to feed itself. Only a witch would say that they weren’t a witch, don’t you know. Let’s drag him on Twitter where he can’t respond. Seems fair!

Never mind that what I wrote all those years ago on Twitter isn’t even controversial but prophetic: I pointed how #BlackLivesMatter was interested in spreading lies about police shootings to justify riots and destruction. Yes, I pointed that out five years ago. You, too, can predict that social media censorship will become one of the biggest issues. But you will be dismissed as crazy. That is, before, you are proven correct and not acknowledged. Like Cassandra you will suffer if you predict the future and no one listens. Like Semmelweis you will be ignored even when you have the cure.

An editor at Vanity Fair once put it to me simply: journalism is simply about the journalist’s next job. If in the process of getting a better job they can help you they will; if they need to hurt you, well, they’ll do that, too.

It won’t matter if you win lawsuits against them. I won high six figure settlement from Gawker, which was, in point of fact, a laundry service for Russian intelligence. Indeed the same billionaire who bankrolled Gawker’s legal bills is now barred under the very bipartisan Russian sanctions passed under President Trump. Are we not supposed to pay attention Gawker founder Nick Denton’s sojourn to Switzerland — where said Russian billionaire lives — after he was bankrupted by Hulk Hogan, Peter Thiel and yours truly?

Perhaps you will learn how much the journalist world and the intelligence world and the technology world are really just about one thing: power, at any price and at all costs. You can donate to Jewish organizations, be supported by Jewish leaders, back Jewish candidates, do business with Jews, have Jewish friends, even a Jewish girlfriend. None of it matters when the journalists will just lie about you. They will unperson you. And you are supposed to accept it, as if they, not you, are the author of your fate. They’ll call you a “troll,” lie about you “shitting on the floor” because they think it’s funny to hurt your reputation. These aren’t good people and someone needs to hold them account.

Logic fails when you confront this sort of hatred. If I am a hater of the Jews, which I am not, I’m apparently pretty bad at it, backing the most pro-Jewish president ever. To provide my bona fides: Do I have to go back in time and kill Baby Hitler? Or will a second circumcision do? Somehow I feel as if nothing I can do save bring lawsuits will change the behavior of fake journalists. Engaging them is enriching them and more importantly, pretending that they deserve respect. They need to be punished. But how?

You can sue discredited publications. In most cases they’ll settle before it gets to court. These victories are fun but you never get the satisfaction of your day in court. In other cases you take them to court with the money you won from the previous settlements. On and on, we go! This is the work. This is the fate I have. OK then.

The fake journalists are getting desperate while their business models fall apart. For some, this collapse coincides with their own lives falling apart. For others they never had their lives quite together in the first place. For others they live off of rich parents or spouses, especially the ones who lust after the prestige game. You can’t eat prestige, buy a house with it, or pay your kid’s school fees.

So they turn to envy and resentment, especially of the rich. Some of these fake journalists develop behaviors that can only be described as stalking. They call it a “beat” as if they were going to beat you.

This is what is happening at BuzzFeed where even their editor departs for a job at the New York Times. This time, Ben Smith is smearing other prophets but not before publishing the discredited dossier at BuzzFeed. I was to learn fake journalists fail up, especially if they “report” whatever their establishment sources tell them. This is brutal, ugly, gross stuff.

I really resisted the temptation to sue the media but enough is enough.

At the request of family and friends and my medical travails — I was losing my sight — I chose a few years ago to live a quieter life—to avoid participation in public affairs, except when duty and necessity requires it. I don’t have many of the views in my thirties I had in my twenties. This is called personal growth.

There are no profiles anymore. I seek to live a quiet life and do what I can for my country and my family, just as I always have. As a canceled person I have more or less accepted that the public conversation isn’t for nerds like me. Not when there are people hunting us for sport. I chose to spend my time around the great, beautiful, noble.

Some days I wonder if backing Trump was worth it and then I remember why I supported him. No, it wasn’t because I believed he’d usher in some sort of white nationalist Xanadu. I backed Donald Trump because I believed him when he said he’d bring peace to the world and that he would end wars rather than begin them. In that crucial task he has not fallen down.

A lot has happened to the country and to me since I helped elect Trump president against all odds. I had a child, divorced, and moved to the one place where I felt happiest as a child — Texas, specifically Montgomery County, the most pro-Trump county in America.

Like a lot of people with nothing to lose and nowhere else to go I found my home and my people, at last. My neighbors have taught me that we Texans don’t run from a fight. Not at the Alamo. Not now. Texas, like America, is a state of mind.

I fight now because the lies have set from muck to concrete and because I am no longer fighting just for myself. I am fighting for America, for a responsible press, for the First Amendment. I am fighting for my friends and family and for the sort of country I want my daughter to grow up in.

I always give my opponents an opportunity to do the right thing. I have repeatedly informed BuzzFeed to leave me alone if they cannot get basic facts about me correct. They have continued so now we have to escalate it.

This stalking began in 2017 when Mac falsely reported in Forbes that I threatened a Black Lives Matter activist. I did no such thing and what’s more no one at Twitter knows why I was suspended from Twitter. (For what it’s worth: This lack of knowledge includes the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, who I have talked to about my suspension.)

In yesterday’s article on Peter Thiel dinner guests — really — BuzzFeed libels me yet again, claiming I am a Holocaust denier. I am not, nor have ever been, nor do credible Jewish organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center believe me to be one.

Make no mistake this attack on Peter Thiel was a long time coming after Thiel and I backed Trump in 2016.

But it’s also an attack on American security, something we ought to take very seriously. It’s also sadly not Mac’s first such attempt. Publications which repeatedly behave without regard to the facts need to be shut down, especially if they endanger public safety and lack a business model. If the fake press can controversialize or smear entrepreneurs and investors they’ll deter investment and attention in the key areas essential for American safety and prosperity.

Most recently Mac worked with criminal hackers to smear Clearview, a facial recognition, which has been instrumental in rescuing children from pedophiles. There is no moral difference — and perhaps no legal difference — between Julian Assange publishing stolen information and BuzzFeed doxxing Clearview’s customers in an attempt to intimidate them away from using that technology.

First Mac falsely claimed that Clearview’s technology doesn’t work and that it was lying about its number of users. In fact the technology works so well that it’s all the rage among law enforcement officers.

Mac also doesn’t behave like a normal journalist. He has disrespected off the record comments with Elon Musk, comments which led Musk to be sued. He skirted by having to be deposed in that case but Musk rightly called him a “fucking asshole.”

I have a different term for Mac: reputational arsonist.

Mac is busy setting fires again. He attacks me professionally and calls me a “notorious far right troll,” whatever that is. I am an investor and entrepreneur.

This time I am attacked in a driveby, set to coincide with Thiel’s comments on Palantir, a company working to secure American liberty, ahead of its initial public offering.

(Full disclosure: I am not an investor but an admirer of Palantir. Peter and I haven’t spoken in months. We do not agree on much — I support the President but those disagreements are private — just as the dinner parties he and I have had over the years. I won’t litigate them here or anywhere.)

At no point did Ryan Mac or Rosie Gray reach out to me or my attorneys for comment. This is odd as both of them have contact information for my attorneys Ron Coleman and Joe Sibley which I have given to both of them many times. This is how I know it was malicious.

Gray did once reach out to on the Holocaust denial matter. She was rebuked by Ron. Here’s what Ron said and which Gray included.

Johnson’s lawyer described the issue of anti-Semitism as “a red herring and defamatory.” Coleman said Johnson isn’t a Holocaust denier and has “warm and mutually respectful relationships with Jews, including activists on Jewish issues and innumerable Jews from Holocaust survivor families.” Johnson, the lawyer said, expressed regret over missing the Irving dinner “out of respect for friends who had invited him, a common courtesy,” and described Irving’s work as “multifaceted.”

Do you really think I would work so hard to help find work for an Orthodox Jewish attorney if I hated Jews? Go and ask Ron Coleman. Or any of the other Jews who know me and love me.

My other attorney, Joe Sibley, forced Mac to print a correction in yet another article about my views. I shouldn’t have to keep doing this.

Mac has also wrongly stated that I attended the Inauguration in 2017. In fact I was celebrating the birth of my daughter.

The journalistic lack of standards continue emerge quickly.

  • In one case BuzzFeed claims I introduced Peter Thiel to FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. I have never met Pai and could not place him. I have told Ryan Mac this before, many times. I simply do not know Pai. I have zero interest in the telecommunications industry. It seems too boring.

  • In still another BuzzFeed credits reporting of Joe Bernstein but Bernstein hasn’t worked at BuzzFeed in over a year and told me he doesn’t deserve the credit.

  • In yet another case they rely on a source who I fired for getting a story wrong which culminated in bankrupting a website. This is, by the way, after I paid all of the legal bills and the settlement associated with her mistake. Since then I have realized how important it is for journalism to be undertaken with care, attention to detail. We have too many fake journalistic outlets. These outlets do violence to the real journalists among us.

Real journalists present both sides. They have a sense of perspective. They don’t print malicious lies.

I’d prefer we have more real journalists and I’m very interested in funding and helping them. Those journalists who’ve worked with me at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and elsewhere know that they have my total respect. I support efforts to restrict the cannibalization of the music and news business by the tech companies. I support everything we can do to make these serious journalists better off.

I am fundamentally opposed to hatred masquerading as journalism, to witch hunts faking being investigations.

If I am going to be treated as witch when I am not a witch I am going to have to learn how to start casting spells — and filing lawsuits. They may yet burn me alive but they’ll have to work for it.

After all I am already in one lawsuit with the Huffington Post. Why not another with BuzzFeed?

Charles Johnson,

charlescarlislejohnson@gmail.com

September 12, 2020