By now you’ve probably heard of Dan Johnson, the Republican lawmaker who took his own life two days after an investigative report laid out substantial evidence showing he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl from his church, but did you know many conservatives, including Johnson’s own wife, are actually blaming “the media” for his death?
Rep. Dan Johnson's widow says the media 'attacked' her husband because 'he is not liberal' https://t.co/jEPgcjttPG
— Courier Journal (@courierjournal) December 15, 2017
Johnson, who served as a Kentucky State Representative before shooting himself while blaming “fake news” and “the devil,” was shown to have lied about many aspects of his own biography. He was also linked to numerous other crimes, according to the well-sourced report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
But instead of blaming Johnson, who called himself “Pope” and frequently posted racist and anti-Islamic rants on social media, many conservatives are blaming liberals, “the media,” and even the #MeToo Movement.
Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson commits suicide after unverified anonymous sexual assault accusations are published in the media without regard to truth.
— Steph (@steph93065) December 14, 2017
Warned about this in my #MeToo tweet. Now the alleged victim, the family of the accused, and the media must live with the fallout, forever. I've seen this play out in HR/Legal, nobody wins. #Due #Process first, if found guilty, then consequences. https://t.co/UwzRHxvLHY #FoxNews
— USAProud (@FactsNoHypeGirl) December 14, 2017
It’s true that Johnson hadn’t yet been charged with a crime in this case of sexual assault (although he did have a lengthy criminal record he tried to keep under wraps), but police were investigating and, considering the Facebook messages and other pieces of evidence provided by his victim, it’s likely he would have served some time behind bars. The report also linked him to the arson of his former church and provided ample proof for other crimes.
But that doesn’t mean the media, or liberals, or his critics killed him. Johnson pulled the trigger, most likely because he feared the consequences of his lies being uncovered. He didn’t want his false narrative to be tarnished, and he didn’t want to go to prison. That’s why his suicide shouldn’t be celebrated: he escaped the justice system’s punishment and is now being hailed as a martyr and a victim.
Ryan Saavedra, a reporter at the conservative outlet The Daily Wire, pushed the narrative that #MeToo is to blame for Johnson’s death. The movement was started to help women and girls come forth about sexual misconduct against them by men in power. Men like Johnson.
SHOCK: Congressman Kills Himself Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 14, 2017
RIP Rep Dan Johnson. Another victim of the #MeToo hysteria
— Just Joe (@MrJoePrichard) December 14, 2017
After the suicide of Dan Johnson today, who was accused of molestation… I think this #metoo business has gone too far. If you do NOT have evidence, you should not be allowed to make the accusation in public. And if you are caught lying… you should go to jail for a LONG TIME. pic.twitter.com/MZ5IZOLsdi
— the Duke (@John_Wayyne) December 14, 2017
There is no shortage of conservatives jumping to defend Johnson, a man who was, as the evidence suggests, far from innocent. They’re eager to blame liberals and “the media” for reporting these facts, but the facts rarely matter when hyper-partisan politics take over. The ultra-conservatives will side with their kind, regardless of what they do to hurt others, just as they did with Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race.