Alright, I hate writing these pieces, and I know a lot of my readers hate it when I write them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this gig, though, it’s that smear campaigns need to be addressed early and aggressively or they’ll neuter the power of one’s voice in the world, and I’ve already let this one go on far longer than I should have without attacking it head-on. I promise we’ll return to our regularly scheduled musings and rants after this.
Yesterday Robbie Martin, brother and Media Roots cohost of the famous indie journalist Abby Martin, tweeted to his followers an explicit claim that I have a history of manic episodes. This is a lie, and it is just the most recent and most egregious in an already established pattern of false and disingenuous claims that this person has been constantly circulating about me for well over a year. In addition to his podcast and the platform his family gets him, Martin is a documentary filmmaker whose work has been promoted by many high-profile alternative media figures with whom he regularly interacts. His pattern of knowingly circulating falsehoods about me in alternative media circles threatens my platform and my ability to make my voice useful, so I need to clearly and unequivocally shine light on what he’s been doing.
“I feel like Caitlin Johnstone might be having another manic episode either that or she’s letting her husband ghost write for her again while in the middle of his own manic episode,” Martin’s tweet reads. Not even “a manic episode”; another one. The insertion of the word “another” was not accidental, and it necessarily implies that Martin has knowledge of my having had manic episodes in the past. He has no such knowledge. He is lying.
This isn’t just someone calling me a crazy bitch as an insult, this is a very blatant and straightforward claim about my having a very specific psychological condition, stated as a fact to be picked up, believed and repeated by his followers who trust him. I have no history of any kind of mental illness. I am very boring psychologically, which is why I’ve been able to remain consistent in my output and worldview. Not that there is anything wrong with having bipolar disorder or any other type of mental health diagnosis, and if I had indeed revealed at some point that I had a history of manic episodes it would still be pretty disgusting for Martin to use it to smear me with. But I don’t; it’s a lie that Robbie Martin made up to help him in his long campaign to discredit me and my work.
Regarding my husband, I have always been open and transparent about the fact that he collaborates with me on my articles. He has never at any time been my "ghost writer". pic.twitter.com/7S8GPLbWg2
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) October 26, 2018
In the same tweet Martin uses the word “again” to falsely assert that my husband, Tim Foley, has ghost written for me in the past. I have always been straightforward about the fact that Tim (who has also never had a manic episode) collaborates with me in my work. I talk about it frequently, it came up all the time back when we were podcasting regularly, I gushed about it in my very first interview with Jimmy Dore way back in March of last year, and it’s in the “About” section of my website. My work is the product of an ongoing conversation that my soulmate and I engage in about life, the world and politics all day every day; we discuss ideas, and those turn into tweets, jokes, poems and articles. This in no way means that Tim has ever been my “ghost writer”; his insights and ideas are laced throughout my work and I am 100 percent certain that I could not do this job without him, but I have full authorship and authority over everything printed in my name. The idea that a husband would willingly take a back seat to his wife while still devotedly helping her succeed seems very challenging for some people, but that is indeed the case.
I made some noise about Martin’s false claims on Twitter yesterday, which drew public attention to what he was doing. Martin has not as of this writing responded to me directly, but he responded to the deluge of criticism as follows: “If you were legitimately offended by my tweet yesterday I highly fucking recommend you stop following me. You should already know how much I despise click bait grifters that tell the left to collaborate with Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec”.
Martin is here pretending that he does not understand what the issue and objection is to his behavior. This isn’t about anyone being “offended”, and it has nothing to do with his disdain for my writings about issues of convergence upon which the left and right can agree and work together to advance mutual agendas. The issue is of course the fact that he is knowingly circulating false claims about me, my family, and my mental health.
I do not care that Robbie Martin doesn’t like me, and I do not care that Robbie Martin doesn’t like my work. It’s none of my business how Robbie Martin feels about me or my work. There are many people who think I’m completely full of shit, and that’s fine, but they’re not going around knowingly creating and circulating lies about me. The only high profile alternative media figure who is doing that repeatedly and deliberately is Robbie Martin.
Take last year, when Martin was spreading the outright lie that I practice plagiarism. “I know several critics of Caitlin Johnstone who literally had their hard work and ideas plagiarized by her in her own articles,” Martin claimed on Medium. “She recycles other people’s shit constantly and only gives credit/mentions sources of the people who don’t criticize her.”
This is a lie; I have never plagiarized anyone, and as of this writing I am unaware of anyone ever even so much as attempting to put together a solid case that I have done such a thing. Martin has no evidence of his claim, and he never will have any evidence of his claim, but he put it forward as an absolute fact. He didn’t say he knew people who’ve evidenced such claims, he just said it was a fact that people “literally had their hard work and ideas plagiarized by her”.
When I publicly confronted Martin on Twitter about this lie after he’d made the claim that I don’t challenge or criticize Trump supporters (which is also a lie, as anyone who reads me knows), he said he will not retract or apologize because some writers he trusts have claimed that I plagiarized them and that’s just how their feelings feel.
I'd just like to point out that it's been two hours and @FluorescentGrey, a well-connected documentary filmmaker, has provided neither proof nor apology for his accusations of plagiarism, despite having engaged my posts here many times since. https://t.co/Nubm0JF3di
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) January 11, 2018
“im not going to apologize for a goddam thing, several people I know who i trust feel that Caitlin plagiarized their work, it’s as simple as that,” Martin tweeted. “if they want to come forward with proof they can”.
“i’ll apologize for the accusation (even tho i’m not saying it’s false) if you apologize for giving anti imperialist credentials to Jack Posobiac and Mike Cernovich,” Martin also said, taking the same position he took today that because he dislikes things I’ve written, it makes it okay for him to circulate lies about me. This is a bizarre stance for a documentary filmmaker to take, or anyone whose career depends upon their credibility for that matter.
Or the other time this past May when Martin falsely claimed that I was reversing a position I did not hold, saying I’d been “telling her readers that Trump was fighting the deep state for almost a year” up until that time. In reality at that time I’d been saying for more than a year that it was clear Trump is fully absorbed into the unelected power establishment known as the deep state.
A mea culpa? He's lying. Robbie Martin lies about me constantly. This is why I keep him blocked. The fact that he knows he lies about me constantly is probably why he keeps me blocked as well; so I can't respond when he lies about me. pic.twitter.com/83XXOoM4vf
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) May 16, 2018
These are just a few of the lies that I know about, and I only know about them because I was tagged in them or had them drawn to my attention by others. I don’t go around stalking the guy. I have no idea what he’s been saying about me on his podcast, for example, where he talks a lot more than the few words he taps out on Twitter. Just the few things people have flagged me in have contained multiple lies, so I have reason to suspect he’s circulating more disinfo about me to people both publicly and privately, and will probably continue to in the future. This article exists solely to fight that.
This is so weird to me because I literally never say anything about Robbie Martin except when he’s been working to tear down my reputation with lies and manipulations. In fact I’ve had the man blocked since the beginning of 2017 when a name I did not recognize kept turning up in my mentions commenting on everything I said and did and telling me how to do my job. It wasn’t until months later when people started telling me Abby Martin’s brother keeps smearing me that I realized who he was, and to this day I only ever unblocked him twice (now and once previously) to push back on lies he was spreading about me.
So anyway, that’s my article. I’m sorry Robbie Martin made it necessary to waste one on him in order to protect my reputation in alternative media circles, but that’s his fault, not mine. It’s fine to hate me, it’s fine to disagree with me, it’s not okay to lie about me. This is not a complicated distinction, and anyone who pretends they don’t understand that distinction is lying. Peace.
UPDATE: Mr. Martin has wisely set his Twitter account to private. Embedded tweets have been replaced with screen shots.
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