Spanking a Johnson

OK, this is six years old, and a strange way to kick things off, but it amuses us. Here’s a 2005 email exchange with former NY Post Page Six gossip twit Richard Johnson.

The background: Johnson got busted on a media site for “reporting” a story about Denzel Washington making a huge donation to a military hospital. Johnson (tee-hee) lifted the item verbatim from a chain letter. Then, on that media site, he posted a totally lame defense of his plagiarism. So we sent him an email, and we had this exchange:

—–Original Message—–
From: containseggs[mailto:ivan@containseggs.com]
Sent: 6/24/05 10:14 AM
To: Johnson, Richard
Subject: Your Lame Response to Mr. Soriano
No, you didn’t choose to report something that “had become the subject of a chain letter,” you simply copied the content of the chain letter and reported it. Including the “quote” from a “source” that’s verbatim from the chain letter. And subsequent queries found that Mr. Washington did not write a check on the spot, but later made a large donation. You’re lazy, and Cesar Soriano is right, and your response makes you look like a bigger idiot.

“Johnson, Richard” <RJohnson@nypost.com> wrote:

I can tell from your tone you are an idealogue.

1) Washington visited the base

2) Washington made a big donation

3) This act of generositry and patriotism was ignored by the mainstream liberal press.

The rest is nit-picking and name-calling.

There is a reason why you don’t have your own column.

—–Original Message—–
From: containseggs[mailto:ivan@containseggs.com]
Sent: 7/5/05 9:57 AM
To: Johnson, Richard
Subject: RE: Your Lame Response to Mr. Soriano

I just noticed your reply. My email filter had wisely routed it to the Junk folder.

So, you think it’s nit-picking to call you out for plagiarizing a chain email that reported dubious facts. The fact that some of the material was ultimately true makes you no less lazy. You didn’t check facts. You didn’t even have an original thought.

And perhaps it was name calling to call you an idiot. It’s not reckless name calling, however, because it’s based on objective observation, validated further by your childish, partially coherent response. You are an idiot.

As far as me being an “idealogue,” I’m not sure what you mean. An idealogue is a theorist, or someone given to fanciful thinking. There was nothing fanciful in my email; I simply noted that you were disingenuous in your defense and a lazy reporter, both observations supported by facts.

Perhaps you meant “ideologue,” which means someone who advocates a certain ideology. In that case, I’m guilty—I advocate that journalists should not steal content from chain letters, pass it off verbatim as their own (including sources) without bothering to check facts, and then engage in an ongoing childish, spurious defense when caught.

The reason I don’t have my own column? I have another job and I’ve never aspired to be a columnist. Thanks for keeping the bar low in case I change my mind.

“Johnson, Richard” <RJohnson@nypost.com> wrote:

get a life

—–Original Message—–
From: containseggs[mailto:ivan@containseggs.com]
Sent: 7/5/05 11:42 AM
To: Johnson, Richard
Subject: RE: Your Lame Response to Mr. Soriano

Ouch, that really stung. You employ a crafty satirical wit in pure Swiftian tradition. Whose nephew are you to possibly remain employed?

Super!
Dick

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