Four years ago, I started this blog in an attempt to satirize the so-called news site of one Chuck C. Johnson, a self-described genius, professional troll and would-be media magnate, whose own attempts at journalism failed more often than not. Seizing on the dubious scheme to “crowdsource” journalism, Johnson supposedly had a small army of “Internet researchers” and freelancers at his disposal, while generally publishing articles under his own by-line.
Well, it’s all over now, because GotNews.com (which is not us!) abruptly shuttered its doors just two days ago, with only a brief onscreen comment — “on to other pursuits” — to explain its sudden demise. We could speculate as to Johnson’s reasons for closing the site and making all its glorious content unavailable (though there is still the Wayback Machine’s archives), but unlike Chuck Johnson, I prefer not to print speculations as if they were facts. Nevertheless, I suspect the decision to close the site may have been necessary and not voluntary. [See below.]
Over those four years, GotNewsDotCom became a parody of itself, and soon mocking it almost felt like picking on the sad, weirdo kid in junior high school. Plus, I was busy doing other things, and believe it or not, writing a parody can be harder than doing real journalism. Just fact-checking Johnson’s off-the-wall assertions was time-consuming enough. So, my screeds came less and less often, and gradually just tapered off to nothing.
Ironically, what was once a lame parody of Johnson’s lame website now serves as a mini-archive of the ghost town that is GotNewsDotCom. Most of the jokes and references will make little sense without the source material, though some of it is preserved here as images and not links. The curious reader can likely find the archived Johnson originals at the Wayback Machine.
Meanwhile, the GotNwes.com domain name is up for renewal. I had considered letting the registration lapse, and abandoning the site, but I have decided against it. I don’t want to imitate Johnson that closely. On the other hand, the domain name is for sale at GoDaddy.com, if anyone is inclined. Mercenary, to be sure, but it will be the only money I’ve ever made off this site in four years. So, why not try?
Postscript: Why did GotNewsDotCom suddenly disappear? Could it be at all connected to the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee?
What happened 35 years ago in that room with Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser?
What's Judge's connection to the Alt-Right?
Why did he write an article for Chuck Johnson?
Why did Chuck Johnson shut down his website recently?
Does Mark Judge want to overturn Roe?
— Jay McKenzie (@JamesFourM) September 19, 2018
And a little further down in that thread:
Circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but we question the timing. Reliable reports have placed Chuck within the circle of advisors and hangers-on at the Trump White House. Perhaps he’s being investigated. Perhaps he scrubbed his site to avoid legal action by someone. It’s all very curious.
Post-postscript: The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has established Johnson’s involvement in the Trump campaign and administration, also wonders about the sudden closure of GotNews. Another of Johnson’s failed ventures, WeSearchr.com, was on the SPLC’s Hate Watch list as a white supremacist organization. WeSearchr ceased operation following disputes between Johnson and his partner, Pax Dickinson.