Blogger drawing anger, praise covering Miss. primary

A blogger from California is making waves in Mississippi after becoming involved in coverage of the Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate.

Charles C. Johnson, who runs the newly launched gotnews.com site, has been most active on Twitter, where he has made some stark accusations against several Mississippi Republicans, as well as offering to pay for information and photos.

Most notably, Johnson unearthed a pastor who claims to have helped pay people to vote for Cochran. At another point, Johnson offered up to $1,000 for anyone who could get him copies of the controversial nursing home photos of Cochran’s wife, Rose Cochran, taken by Mississippi political blogger Clayton Kelly. Johnson said he was going to post the photo on Twitter.

Contacted on Twitter Tuesday and by email Tuesday night, Johnson originally said he would consent to a phone interview but that he would record and post it. After we agreed, Johnson changed his mind and asked he be supplied questions via email. He said Wednesday morning that he would only respond to email questions if The Clarion-Ledger agreed to print the entire interview. The Clarion-Ledger does not agree to publish any content without first reviewing it and always reserves the right to edit for content and length.

Most recently, Johnson mounted a blistering and personal attack on Jordan Russell, campaign spokesman for incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Johnson called Russell “a paid liar who sold out his father figure #mayfield who mentored him after his dad killed himself.”

Johnson tweeted a similar attack just after the alleged suicide of Mark Mayfield, the Ridgeland attorney and Tea Party leader who was arrested in connection with Pearl blogger Clayton Kelly taking photos of a bed-ridden Rose Cochran in a Madison nursing home.

Johnson’s Twitter attack on Russell drew ire from several other, including Frank Corder, a conservative blogger for Y’all Politics, and Donna McGill, a freelance writer.

Clarion Ledger
7/2/14