On Sept. 30, Chuck C. Johnson’s GotNewsDotCom published the phone number of Ahmed Mohamed, the teen who was arrested for making a homemade clock his teachers thought was a bomb. Johnson encouraged his readers to call the number and ask “questions the media won’t.”
But Johnson now says he knew the number was disconnected before he published it.
In other words, not only did he encourage his rabid followers to harass a teenager and his family, he lied to those same followers by printing false information.
Now there’s Award Winning Journalism™!
Mohamed, 14, made the news last month after he was mistakenly arrested for bringing a homemade bomb to school. It was in fact a homemade clock inside a pencil case — a clock that needed house current to work.
Since Mohamed is a Muslim and an immigrant, naturally Johnson had to find some way to malign him, because that’s what he does.
His parody of a blog blared this headline on Sept. 30:
“BREAKING: Here is #Ahmed’s Phone Number So You Can Ask Him Questions The Media Won’t #IStandWithAhmed”
The grammatically ambiguous lede was:
GotNews.com has exclusively obtained the phone number of Ahmed Mohamed, the controversial 14-year-old Sudanese kid who falsely claimed to build a clock before he was detained at school.
Mohamed has been going on a media tour where he is being celebrated for building a clock he did not actually build.
Later in the story, ace reporter Johnson explains he “exclusively” obtained the number from Mohamed’s now-closed YouTube account, where Mohamed himself had posted it. Johnson closes the story with two questions for readers to ask Mohamed.
It was reported later that the number was disconnected, and according to Johnson himself, he knew it was disconnected even before he published the story.
“I knew the number was already disconnected because I already tried it to try to talk to him,” Johnson said in an interview with Gina Loudon uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 3. He said he wanted to see how many of his critics would say he was attacking a 14-year-old boy.
So let’s get this straight. The guy who says he is the “champion of truth” knowingly published false information — a disconnected phone number — to goad his critics into attacking him. Meanwhile, he encouraged his readers to call a number he knew didn’t work in order to harass a teenage boy and his family.
Loudon was interviewing Johnson about the Umpqua Community College shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, and what Johnson had uncovered about him from his social media accounts. Harper-Mercer died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Oct. 1.
Loudon had asked him where the media should draw the line in revealing private information about people in the news, and raised the issue of Mohamed’s phone number (around the 4:29 mark in the video).
Johnson then tried to justify publishing the number by saying he knew it wouldn’t work.
First of all, the number was disconnected and I wanted to to see how many of the critics of mine would immediately rush to say that I attacked a 14-year-old. I knew the number was already disconnected because I already tried it to try to talk to him.
Johnson then went on to say (ironically, in our view) that the media doesn’t ask the right questions of people who lie to the media, and repeated the allegations from his blog that Mohamed didn’t really make the clock or build CPUs from scratch.
Because 14-year-olds can’t do stuff like that, especially if they’re Muslim immigrants, apparently. This, coming from a guy who says he helped build underwater robots in high school.
By the way, he doesn’t really answer Loudon’s question.
If you want to watch the entire interview, here it is. It’s a little over seven minutes long. Mercifully.