Up Yours: telling deviant truths with Caitlin Johnstone

Helen Razer shares a long car ride with an Australian journalist who's not afraid to step on the toes of more than a few in the American media.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

Caitlin Johnstone wears her long hair in a lawless bun. Caitlin Johnstone once made a wage as a tap-dance instructor. Caitlin Johnstone is just the sort who won’t hear of you taking the train home and will drive you twenty clicks, because, well, look. Just get in the car. It’s Friday night and I’m taking the kids to their thing at Southland shopping centre anyway.

“Also, we can get more chit-chat in on the road, Razer. Tell me more about your divorce.”

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27 thoughts on “Up Yours: telling deviant truths with Caitlin Johnstone

  1. David Thompson

    Excellent, H, the Caitlin lass is truly worthy. A recent standout, which I read just prior to Mal Formed’s trip to Donnieville, was CJ’s description of Oz as Amerika’s ‘gimp in the basement’. More than just good smithery, that.
    A note on your reference to Amy Goodman/Democracy Now. Storms have been brewing for some time, with a cloud burst a day or so back, when they had a very comfy interview with a Syria regime change fan, Wendy Pearlman (she’s found many a regime she fancies seeing changed, over many a year).
    A good place to start your ‘research’ is at Max Blumenthal’s twitter (or go to RT, where they quote Max on Twitter) – https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fnews%2F419853-blumenthal-pearlman-syria-twitter%2F
    I was reminded of the Goodman/DemocracyNow storm not just by your mention, but because Blumenthal is one of those who gave Bauer, the ‘senior US reporter’ who called for Caitlin to be thrown off the web, a damn solid thrashing for being a tosser.
    He’s a good un’, Blumenthal. If you haven’t read “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”, I thoroughly recommend doing so. A epic work of contemporary investigative and dissident journalism, by a damn fine journo – and fan of Caitlin’s

    1. Helen Razer

      I know Blumenthal. Yes, he’s great.
      As for Democracy Now. Sure, their broadcasts don’t always please me. Thank goodness for them, nonetheless.

      1. David Thompson

        More like thank George Soros and the Ford Foundation for them, H.
        I came to realise years ago the funding tells most of the story.

  2. rumtytum

    Well Helen she sounds so interesting that I tried to sign up to a site she writes for. Sadly, I can only join via Google or Facebook. I don’t do Facebook and Google won’t let me sign up and give the site money unless I agree to them sending me ads and using my internet activity for their own evil purposes. It was AGREE or CANCEL. I cancelled.

    1. Helen Razer

      You can just check in regularly here, R https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone
      I’m not a fan of signing up, either.

      1. zut alors

        Ditto for the link, Helen.

        I regularly hit a brick wall with Google or Facebook insisting on joining their insidious cults. Never, not ever.

        1. Helen Razer

          Oops. I guess I am signed in without my knowledge!

  3. dennis

    Thank you very much for the link, Helen Razer, I do not know how I ever missed this woman, on the net, I have become a Patreon, and its easy to donate other small amounts to these wonderful minds, occasionally, as the pocket allows.

    1. Michelle Imison

      Likewise – I can’t believe that my voracious reading has not yet brought me to Caitlin’s work. I will also be contributing as and when funds allow. Thanks for the introduction, Helen!

    2. Helen Razer

      M and D. Hey. I came late to Caitlin, too. A mate demanded to know what I thought of her work just about a month ago, and I had no opinion. Which, as you might imagine, is a terrible state for a person like me.
      Anyhow. We’ve fixed it.

      1. Linda Connolly

        ditto. found her on Twitter just recently. very impressed.

    3. Helen Razer

      I do the odd bit of Patreon too, D. I wish it were a cost-free thing for creators with no financial benefit to the company, all monies straight to the journalist or economist or whoever. Still. It’s what we’ve got and I am happy to be able to fund people I admire or wish to incite directly.

  4. AR

    Thanks for this introduction to a worthwhile writer.
    I also tried to follow the links to see how I could fund her but kept ending up at an amerikan site which was not very reassuring. (Apart from that loathsome FarceBuch requirement)
    If possible to fund her directly I’d like to know how.

    1. Helen Razer

      You can do it here https://www.patreon.com/caitlinjohnstone
      Or PayPal https://www.paypal.me/CaitlinJohnstone
      There’s Bitcoin too, but I am afraid I don’t understand/care to understand that pyramid scheme. Good on you for this commitment.

  5. Miranda31

    I’m glad you two finally got together. I’ve been reading Caitlin on Medium for a while, and while not always gratified or convinced (she has a tendency to go “I already explained that” and do big pronouncements using sharp language) over time she has made an impression. The feeling that you would find a sisterly soul there was strong.

    1. Helen Razer

      I must admit, we seem to be from the same foundry!

  6. Mr Smith

    I just read a few of her articles. That small sample made me feel like she is trying to sell her stories to the conspiracy theorists on the Right. CNN does a bad interview with a Syrian girl, therefore we should be suspicious of a CNN interview with a student from Parklands? Isn’t that just going to fuel the loony “false flag” theories, which she claims to have no time for? Sure, most mass-market media outlets put out shoddy and sensationalist “reporting” to reinforce their target audience’s biases, but claiming fabrication of teenage witnesses to a mass shooting – isn’t that tin-foil hat territory?

    1. Helen Razer

      I have read more than a few and I have formed a different opinion.
      Either way, I am fairly sure you will agree that she is a good sort of Australian to profile here in Crikey.

      1. Mr Smith

        Profile, good. Hagiography, maybe not so.

        1. Helen Razer

          Maybe here, only a strong critique would have done for you?
          It is no hagiography. This occasional column is intended to provide a look at stubborn Australians. You’ll find their stubbornness, and the other things we might agree make them Australian,will be offered in Up Yours.

          1. Mr Smith

            I subscribe to Crikey mainly for the articles of yourself and Bernard. I do so because I enjoy your contrarian points of view, and because there’s some intellectual rigour behind it. And now I’m making a comment that I don’t think Caitlin shares your rigour (albeit in a small sample size).
            1. The establishment are wrong and bad.
            2. I am anti-establishment.
            3. Therefore I am right and good.
            That crappy syllogism has been and will always be employed by cranks on the left and the right. Accurately pointing out where someone is demonstrably wrong does not make the rest of an argument any less worthy of scrutiny or criticism. Duh.

  7. Charlie Chaplin

    Thank you, Helen. I hadn’t read Caitlin’s work before, but I followed your links and I will certainly be reading her from now on.

    I just read this one and watched the video with Naomi Wolf answering a question about fake news:


    So it’s perfectly legal for the US government to propagandise its own people now and has been for two years? That is truly terrifying. And how long before our government imports it, if it hasn’t already?

    Thanks again.

  8. Humphrey Bower

    I’m curious to learn how someone who has never lived in the US can write ‘stories made from shoe-leather’ about it. From what I can tell reading a few of her ‘stories’ they appear to consist largely of recycled conspiracy theories and the usual denialist memes about the Syrian regime not using poison gas, the White Helmets being a front for the CIA, etc. Such arguments are indistinguishable from those who deny the Holocaust or climate change on the basis that ‘you can’t trust the authorities’ or that ‘they don’t meet the burden of proof’, and are equally disingenuous, and frankly downright sickening. Please explain why this qualifies as journalism in comparison with actual boots-on-the-ground research and reportage from the US or Syria? Or is the latter necessarily disqualified because those reporters happen to work for ‘storied organisations’ like Associated Press, the ABC, the BBC, CNN, The NY Times, The Washington Post or (heaven forbid!) The Guardian?

    1. Helen Razer

      I use “shoe-leather” in a metaphoric way. Journalists use communications for their trade. This isn’t new.
      No problem if you object to her work. I am sure you won’t object to us profiling her here in Crikey. She’s a big name in US political writing. She lives in Melbourne. Tin-foil or not (I’d say not, but that’s just my view) she is someone to look out for.

  9. Sue Stevenson

    Gasp! The two Australian political commentators I admire the most in one vehicle! Be still my beating political heart 🙂

  10. nino

    Wow she wears her hair in a lawless bun. What a rebel.

    1. Helen Razer

      There is this weird convention in profile writing where one strives to draw a picture of the subject.

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