UPDATE: Chuck Johnson – Stealing Web Research and Claiming It As His Own for Financial Gain…

patriotDid something I rarely do. Called and talked to the guy.

Young fella starting his own media enterprise.  High energy.

After he explained a bunch of gizmo web and software stuff I totally don’t comprehend -remember I still use 3×5 index cards and library style reference drawers- here’s what the explanation appeared to be:

Mr. Johnson uses some kind of internet search software within his research assembly.  (I don’t understand it – if you do, you can expand for me).   Essentially this creates some kind of increases in search parameters within the software he has deployed.

Because our stories were published on 8/26, 8/27, and 8/28, along with the hundreds of data base searches (example “Anthony Shahid”) we were doing prior to the publication of those lengthy research articles (8/23, 8/24, 8/25), we were generating “defaults” when his research was going on.

Meaning our research was somehow creating a higher profile for all subsequent searches that followed.  (Does the internet categorize by date?)  Hence, as the explanation goes, the “core” of our construct became the top hits on his own searches.   This, he explains, created the similarity – he states he has never visited the site, yet admits there is a considerable amount of similarity between his produced content and our previously published material.

He explains pictures are a consequence of the same result, with additional images that Froggie created being uploaded to Twitter where there were only a few inbound search hits for Anthony Shahid.    Mr. Johnson says he frequently captures twitter images as they are not considered proprietary content to the user.  I guess if you put a picture on Twitter, twitter owns it – or so the explanation goes.

After some general discussion about other topics, I gave him some leads to follow regarding the Mike Brown family and affiliations.   I also listened to his explanation of his business model for aggregating news information and the goals of his site GotNews.com

We finished the conversation with my saying, according to the operational model of his research aggregation – I don’t see how the same or similar situation will not arise again; and I cautioned him to consider this as he moves his business plan forward.

I don’t quite understand how almost all small, undigested, or vaguely searched, research – like the Mr. Shahid example will not generate the same problem again in the future.

It would seem to me that a fully composed analysis of whatever you are researching will be the primary hit for any search engine -or software- so long as the analysis is written on a rare subject.  But, again, I don’t understand all the new stuff going on.

We left on good terms.

chuck johnsonI hate to do this, and rarely do point out such things, but this guy has crossed the lines of propriety.

Charles Johnson is ripping off our extensive Mike Brown research, repackaging some of it, and claiming it as his own.

Example HERE

I’ve tried for three days to get it to stop – but he’s refusing to correspond. Out of respect for all of the dedicated Treepers who have poured thousands of hours into this case you should know.

Not only is it unethical. But he is fundraising by claiming he needs money to continue the research. In actuality all he is doing is stealing the information we are gathering.  It is a typical con pulled by those too lazy to do their own work.

FYI – from what I can determine this is essentially his business model. It’s typical of a con artist scammer. You will remember the same thing has happened with multiple stories we have researched in the past. All repackaged, or not, and then sold to a gullible audience as original content and material.   It’s the same lack of character as Lee Stranahan.

Go to his site and determine for yourself.   The lack of integrity therein speaks for itself.

Just thought you should know.

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243 Responses to UPDATE: Chuck Johnson – Stealing Web Research and Claiming It As His Own for Financial Gain…

  1. John Galt says:

    Not sure I understand. He’s alleging co-discovery, like Liebniz and Newton, but via the Internet, using some type of Auto Theft software?


    • peachteachr says:

      Miss compu-iilliterate, me, wants to add that the number of “hits” that an article gets also pushes it to the top of a search. I think he’s saying you are a victim of your success, SD. Me, old retired schoolmarm, still sees plagiarism. That old “a rose by any name” thing that is attributed to Mr. Shakespeare. I guess I dislike it so because it’s a sign of laziness and false pride.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you can set search parameters for different values, but generally search engines return results based on relevance to search query and, often, by most recent. Out side of that, people can pay to have their articles, advertisements, etc. come up higher in the list of search results.

    Basically, what he’s saying is that because THC articles were the most recent articles of relevancy they were coming up high in the list of his searches. This does NOT explain his not attributing credit to Sundance and/or The Last Refuge/The Conservative Treehouse. Now, that being said, using excerpts from various news articles or blogs, including photographs, etc. are not proprietary property of TCH but should be attributed to, say, The Washington Post or whoever the original source was. Therefore, he is justifying using the same images, article excerpts, etc. If that is all that is out there, or he didn’t want to take the time to dig deeper into the search results (and why should he when everything he feels he needs to know is right there for the taking) then it would explain why his content is almost identical to TCH’s content.

    I hope that you suggested to him that he “link” to TCH articles in the future instead of paraphrasing/copying content and then taking credit for it. Much like the way TCH links to other sites when you want to publish or share one of their articles – it’s common courtesy.

    I’m glad you got it sorted out with him to your satisfaction. I’m sure he is a good kid – particularly if he’s on the side of sunlight and conservative ideas and principles. I’m also sure that someone here will be able to further “explain” in detail what he means about the expansion of the parameters within his research software. We have some very savvy and smart peeps on TCH!

    One more thing – I do know that search engines exist that are always “working” and once you put in the parameters of what you’re looking for they constantly scan the internet for any reference and compile nice, neat little lists with links to whatever you’re asking for. This may be the type of research software he is using. In fact, Google Chrome has a search engine that will do just that.


    • chiavarm says:

      Search engine might not be an accurate term. Sounds more like a web crawler.

      Liked by 1 person

    • rashomon says:

      Sorry, but “contemporary” so-called journalists either don’t know or choose to ignore the rules of common courtesy. In fact, they also ignore the need for at least — and I’ll repeat, at least — two sources to support a position and the use of unbiased terms; i.e. police vs. cops.

      I blame this “contemporary journalism” for 90% of the problems in our society. Islam is the culture of Peace. Whiteys are racists. The government is here to help you. Need I go on?


  3. Gridlock says:

    Dorian Johnson: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
    Posted 08/22/2014 07:05 PM ET

    Dorian Johnson, 22, the main source of the media’s racist cop narrative, has lost all credibility. So why is Holder still taking his testimony? And why isn’t he behind bars?

    An ABC News affiliate in St. Louis reported that Johnson is wanted in Jefferson City, Mo., on a 2011 theft charge and also for filing a false police report that same year. Johnson allegedly gave a bogus name and age to investigators in the case.


  4. jsjavascript says:

    I think it was Freud who said “Sometimes stealing ones words and jumbling them around is just plagiarism” or maybe not
    The Plagiarism Checker

    “Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that ‘plagiarism’ farce! As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garner with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral caliber and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten centuries and ten thousand men — but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify. It is merely a Waterloo. It is Wellington’s battle, in some degree, and we call it his; but there are others that contributed. It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing — and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.” ~ Mark Twain

    Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics.~ WikipediA

    We all know who you are SD and Mr. Johnson’s literary indiscretions and facsimile faux pas will take care of themselves, They always do

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gridlock says:

    Useful information needs to be shared, the more copies in more hands equals more power to the people.

    Revealed: Star witness in Michael Brown shooting has arrest warrant for theft and was busted for lying to cops

    Dorian Johnson, 22, was arrested by police in Jefferson City, Missouri, in June 2011 after he allegedly stole a delivery package off a doorstep in an apartment complex. He was attending college at Lincoln University in the city, which is about 120miles west of Ferguson.

    When cops asked Johnson for his name, he told them he was Derrick Johnson and that he was 16 – though he gave officer a birth date that would have made him 17, according to an arrest report obtained by MailOnline.

    Officers later found a student ID in Johnson’s sock that gave his real name.

    He was charged with misdemeanor theft and filing a false police report. He pleaded guilty to the latter charge. When he didn’t show up to court to answer the theft charge, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gridlock says:

    Statements by Dorian Johnson (if that is his real name) are that they were “one minute from their destination” before the thug Michael Brown assaulted a police officer after robbing the convenience store. Since we can verify that Michael Brown was shot on Canfield Drive.


    Ferguson, MO (KMOX) Officers from several agencies responded to the Canfield Green apartment complex in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive in Ferguson this (Saturday) afternoon following reports of a disturbance in the street there.

    St. Louis County Police Officer Brian Schellman tells KMOX when County Police arrived at the scene, officers were confronted by a large crowd, some of them armed. A body was laying in the street. Lt. Jeff Fuesting of St. Louis County Police has tweeted that it was an officer-involved shooting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. crossthread42 says:

    i left a “suggestion” that He may come under Civil litagation, (among other pointers), If He doesn’t retract His comments et al, and give proper credits..


  8. Lucille says:

    At the center of our moral compass should be:

    Matthew 7:12 in The Voice version
    “This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you.”

    You don’t steal, misuse, confiscate what belongs to others if you don’t want the same thing to happen to you.


    • Sharon says:

      The operative phrase is ‘should be’! 😉 It’s also interesting to note that when Jesus laid out that guideline, He did not provide a guarantee that if you did that, no one would steal, misuse, or confiscate things that belong to you.

      It’s a worthy guideline for my behavior but doesn’t guarantee the behavior of others. I love the realism of Scripture!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. czarowniczy says:

    Reminds me of the story about the colonial-era British Anthropologist in India who comes upon a Hindu fisherman hauling his bulging nets in from the sea. He asks the fisherman why he’s killing these fish, he thought that Hindus considered life so scared they’d sweep the ground in front of them to avoid stepping on and killing an ant.
    “Ah, my friend”, say the Hindu fisherman,” I am not killing these fish, I am merely removing them from the water!”. It’s all a matter of personal view – it’s the fault of the Bush administration. No – wait – that was another dissembler – errrrrr….researcher.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. nyetneetot says:

    ….”Mr. Johnson uses some kind of internet search software within his research assembly. …”

    Called Google.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chip Bennett says:

    So, here are my thoughts on the matter.

    First, it sounds like Johnson is using some kind of (proprietary?) search index alert/trend analysis tool. (Honestly: from your description, it sounds like what he’s doing can be accomplished with a combination of Google Alerts and Google Trends. Groundbreaking work, that.) Whatever; it’s not real “research”. It’s just an advanced form of Googling. Now, that’s not to knock the Art of Googling; it has served Treepers well over the past couple years.

    But it’s not real research, and requires no “funding” to keep going. What takes money is actual gumshoe type research: boots on the ground, talking to people, filing FOIA requests, etc. – the kinds of things that Sundance does (probably more often than he divulges).

    And even if that “tool” returns information that is aggregated/anonymyzed, it still came from somewhere online, which means that somebody else holds the copyright to that information as-presented. As such, proper journalism requires citing the original source material, with proper attribution. It is Johnson’s responsibility to source/cite any material he uses. If his tool can’t provide that information, then his tool is insufficient for proper journalism.

    Second: the comparison to Twitchy. Twitchy is an editorial site that discusses current news, and then embeds tweets of people discussing those events. Its purpose is to collate what can be a transient social-media discussion about a given topic. It is not using those embedded tweets as original-source citations for news stories. What Johnson is doing with GotNews is something different. He is embedding Tweets as original source material for what purports to be journalism.

    Third: about enbedding Tweets/copyright issues. Basically, embedding Tweets just involves an API call to Twitter, which serves the requested Tweet, images, links, meta data and all. There are no copyright issues regarding use of the Twitter API. But again (see above): doing a Twitter search for a term, or hashtag, mention, or person, and then making an API call to return the result of that search is not journalism, is not “research”, and requires no funding. It’s also not a viable means of obtaining original source material, because (as Froggie just demonstrated), images can be deleted – heck, entire tweets can be deleted. I’m sure embedding Tweets does not meet the standard required by whatever style guide controls the rules of journalism.

    (I’m not a journalist; but I would assume that best practice would involve 1) taking a screenshot, 2) linking to the original source, 3) attributing the original source with some appropriate citation, and 4) making an effort to contact the original source, for comment/clarification/etc.)

    Fourth: about Johnson’s claims that none of CTH’s material was sourced for the GotNews story: I linked the stories side-by-side for a reason. The images are obvious (via embedded tweet or otherwise), as is the material. And even if Johnson’s search index “tool” somehow aggregates/anonymyzes the information, it’s obvious that a non-trivial amount of that information came from here.

    Finally: what’s the real issue? Is it that Johnson is using other people’s work, or even that he’s attempting to profit off of other people’s work? No – at least, not in the case of CTH’s work product/copyrighted material. CTH makes that copyrighted material available to all.

    No, the real issue is that Johnson, prior to being called out on it, was passing off that work as representing his own end-product, based on his own research – as well as trying to solicit funding for research that others conducted. There’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing, as long as he doesn’t try to pass it off as his own. Matt Drudge has made a killing, making less of his own work product out of other people’s work (he simply collates news headlines, linked to the original article).

    Johnson has done great work bringing the Mississippi Senate fiasco to light, and he can do great work exposing the shenanigans of the BGI in Ferguson. He just needs to do it in a way that respects others’ work, even as he builds upon it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sha says:

      My thoughts are, that fella has a lot more to gain by making friends here than enemies. He could learn a lot from Sundance and the treepers and the main thing is how to earn peoples respect. Money can’t buy that no matter how many donations you get.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lulu says:

    It is one thing to share information and pass it on. I notice that Lucianne.com has begun to allow posting of your articles’ headlines, and American Thinker and others have linked to your posts. None of these tries to pass off your work as theirs. They simply lead readers back to CTH. And that’s a good thing.

    They realize that you are doing unique, painstaking rsearch and investigative work and analysis that the MSM are not doing. Bravo, Sundance and Treepers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • carterzest says:

      I had almost given up trying to post CTH articles on Lucianne as they always seemed to disappear, It is nice they finally get it!
      Prior to finding this place, Lucianne was my first stop of the day for objective and wide ranging varieties of news.


  13. Pingback: GotNews.com: An Example of Libel | Elocu tioner

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