Assfinger IV: CJ’s Back!


And he’s firing on all cylinders, with only just a little sugar in the tank:

It’s an, umm, interesting and exceptionally lengthy read. :roll:

Leave a comment


  1. @Jerry:

    It’s just that be it stories of yakuza and mafioso, or stories about war in faraway lands, readers set a lower standard of evidence. Not naming witnesses, using pseudonyms, making composite characters based on real events, a bit of exaggeration and added drama, no corroborating witnesses such that we must depend solely on the journalist’s word… it’s expected. You’d think some people would understand this point very, very well…

    As long as it’s about stuff that has zero influence on our boring lives, it’s forgiven. Maybe even encouraged.

    Try pulling that with local issues, with government policies, with things that the reader doesn’t need to use wikipedia to know are bullshit.. you can’t be so “flexible” with your stories and expect not to be called on it. Isn’t 50% of the (non-porn) content of the Internet basically people calling “bullshit” on other people, usually about politics?

    Now I just ask, how many times has adelstein tried to silence his critics with lawsuits and such? (Has he? I don’t know. If he has, I’ll condemn him, too.)

  2. @Level3: has CJ ever actually filed a lawsuit? From the cheap seats it looks like all he’s done is send the dreaded strongly worded letter or 3. And even those were laughed off by the recipients as the pathetic attempts to cover his ass they were.

    Gotta love the Striesand Effect though, you’d figure an intelligent Asia Freelance War Reporter like Christopher “Chris” CJ Johnson would have a better understanding of it.

  3. @Level3:

    It’s just that be it [...] stories about war in faraway lands, readers set a lower standard of evidence.

    Quite an appropriate comment regarding C “8 war zones” J. :facepalm:

  4. @Jerry: CJ was first, as far as I am aware. CJ asked JA to investigate the GAS/G4S mafia, but JA replied by saying he wanted to know his residence status first, and it all went downhill from there. I think also at some point CJ’s assistant went to work for JA.

    BTW, I suspect there is an agent provocateur at work. :???:

  5. “Isn’t 50% of the (non-porn) content of the Internet basically people calling “bullshit” on other people, usually about politics?”

    The thing with the Internet is that it generally doesn’t have editors. I too appreciate Adelstein for the entertainment. Tokyo Vice was a fun read. But I wouldn’t be willing to bet on its veracity. I wouldn’t have thought that the LA Times and others would either, but there you go. Actually, if the book is true, like CJ says, there are bits that would make me, if I were a potential source with something to lose, steer well clear of Adelstein.

  6. @The Chrysanthemum Sniffer:

    “And we should all give a big hand to Adelstein for taking the stand he’s taking.”

    Well, yes and no.

    I’m not talking here about journalism (although I think likening the two on that count is wrong), but about Johnson’s documented attempts to bully people. Adelstein has decided to take a public stand against it. There’s enough that’s in public and/or to which Johnson has (at various times) admitted to show a very poor track record of harassing people. He’s even somewhat evasive about what that horrible phone call was about – he claims both that the recording has been doctored, and that he was provoked into making it. Johnson’s biggest complaint about most of the harassment allegations are that they’ve been made public, not that they’re not true.

    I would also question your view that he “did his homework” about that National Geographic case – unless you mean “he googled a bit to find what shit he could to throw at someone”. Where he dramatically writes about Adelstein’s court complaint being “obtained by Globalite Magazine”, what he means is that he found a document freely available on the internet on a site that comes on the first page of google hits when you search for “National Geographic Adelstein”. The complaint wasn’t just for punitive damages – it was also over editorial control that Adelstein wanted and felt he had been promised. Reports on the case emphasise this point much more than damages.

    Johnson tells a significant untruth – saying “the court wasn’t convinced. The case was dismissed with prejudice.” As I found out from the first page of google (almost certainly one of the same articles Johnson found), that the court case ended when an undisclosed agreement was reached between the two parties. True, the conclusion was dismissal with prejudice, but National Geographic have not revealed what they in return conceded, specifically whether any part of the programme was changed in accordance with Adelstein’s wishes – the main point of the complaint. Johnson also passes over material he would have found where it’s quite clear that people within National Geographic accepted the seriousness of the dangers Adelstein was raising. The dispute was centrally about Adelstein’s right to object to the content of the programme – at no point was his integrity as a journalist questioned. That wasn’t the point of the case. There are other bits and bobs that look like Johnson is twisting things, but that’s enough to be going on with on that part of the story.

    I also think it’s being far too relativistic to identify them as similar, only one slicker than the other. That’s like complaining that Carlton Cole is no Lionel Messi, and therefore no better than someone who struggles to get a game for a Sunday pub side. We know that Johnson doesn’t simply embellish (which seems to be the main charge some people here have against Adelstein) – but that he will, should the need arise, make things up that are absolutely central to the story. You might find Adelstein’s self-publicity annoying – but compared to Johnson’s wild exaggerations?

    Johnson’s reporting, as far as I can see, consists of largely recycling previously published material (with varying degrees of faithfulness according to what he wants to say) along with quotes taken from untraceable vox pop interviews, or as in this particular case, anonymous blog entries. Some of it, if you squint at it and go quickly, reads like proper journalism. However, I’ve yet to find something that would have told me something factually new or different at the time, save the feelings of a random person he found in a cafe. (His courtside sports reporting excluded – that seems to be kosher.)

    I get that you’re not fond of Adelstein, but Johnson is surely of a different order of bad.


    He could be making valuable (and salable) reports about Japan immigration right now that we’d all be eager to read.

    :lol: :lol: :lol: Well, I mean, somebody could, but I think it needs to be someone who does more than google stuff in English.

  7. @Ken Y-N (aka Tepido Naruhodo):

    BTW, I suspect there is an agent provocateur at work.

    :sad: Provoking whom? Adelstein or Johnson?

  8. @VK: CJ, of course. Agent provocateur is probably too strong a word, but I do get a feeling CJ is getting advice with an ulterior motive… :???:

  9. @Ken Y-N (aka Tepido Naruhodo):

    Do you mean the one who talks about the Oort cloud?

  10. @VK: Whoever do you mean? :shock: Ack, I’ve just re-read CJ’s screed, and I think I was mistaken about a paragraph that looked suspicious the first time round. :oops:

  11. @VK: VK, do you mean the “American law expert”? :lol: :lol: :lol:

  12. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    “You might find Adelstein’s self-publicity annoying – but compared to Johnson’s wild exaggerations?”

    Point taken. However, I do agree with the amazon comment that CJ quoted about how if the story related in Tokyo Vice about the disappearance and likely murder of one of his sources is true, then Jake is really quite irresponsible. Is there a parallel with CJ? Well… I haven’t seen CJ become an integral part of a story involving the disappearance and death of another human being, unless you count his warzone stories. But then, I guess CJ is not close enough to the action. Luckily, I guess, with Adelstein, I’m willing to doubt the story. In any case, I withdraw and apologize for comparing self-promotion and thin credibility with insanity.

  13. @The Chrysanthemum Sniffer:

    Now you mention it, the use of that Amazon comment is yet another (and particularly horrible) example of what a low-life Johnson is: he mocks Adelstein for possibly being responsible for the horrible death of a source at the hands of the Yakuza, and then roundly mocks Adelstein for worrying that precisely the same thing might happen again because of the National Geographic TV episode.

    The utter moral vacuity required to do that astounds me.

    (Sorry to have sounded a bit stroppy, but the more that Johnson writes, and the more that is revealed about him, the more it just seems very unfair to me to put anyone down on the same level as him.)

  14. @The Crysanthemum Sniffer

    >Well… I haven’t seen CJ become an integral part of a story<

    This whole charade, since the Economist blog gaijin gulag's initial appearance, has SOLELY and continually to this day, been ONLY about CJ insinuating and elevating himself into the public consciousness/conversation, in NOTHING but a cheap, transparent publicity stunt perpetrated by a sorry, two-bit "journalist" hack six notches down the legitimacy pole than anyone else in that profession he tries to engage in various public fora.

    All that in and of itself would be cheesy and tacky enough, but CJ stupidly has elected to continue this tack at others' expense and veer into psychotically diarrheic-Internet posting, Japanese law-violating territory, as has been well documented (with the inexplicable aid and sympathy of Hoofin Gundlach).

    All that said, public psycho meltdowns such as his have a certain je ne sais quoi, popcorn-inducing entertainment quotient.

  15. This guy’s twitter is very um, interesting….!/BWHockaday

  16. @David Moss: Yes, I started following him yesterday. Interesting to watch a bully getting bullied.

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