Conservative PowerLine Blob Joins Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is center stage lately.  At the Republican convention last week, it was brought up by several speakers such as Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General.  Cancel culture is when an “authority” (or mob) tells you what you can and cannot say, what you can and cannot believe. 

Ignore them and you will be banned, cancelled, unpublished, harassed or worse.  Ironically, the conservative PowerLine blog spends much time on cancel culture with more than 30 posts over just three months, June, July, August.

Ironic, because as Reader Robert McEwen, posted on our websiteIt’s indeed disappointing to see an important conservative voice such as PowerLine embracing the same ‘cancel culture’ we rail against when it’s the Left doing the censoring.”

As the Washington Examiner points out in an article on cancel culture, “both sides [Left and Right] are guilty” of this behavior. 

McEwen acknowledges this is more typically viewed as “liberal” behavior, but notes:  PowerLine cannot in good conscience silence readers who wish to respond to blog posts with comments that express alternative points of view. Going forward, I hope PowerLine will distance itself from socialist-style censorship and stand-up for the First Amendment by serving as an open forum for all voices.”

Within its plethora of posts on the cancel culture Chief Hypocrite Scott Johnson cites a first-person account in Commentary Magazine by Steve Hayward, a PowerLine writer.  Hayward chronicles his experience with the academic cancel culture at the University of California.

We salute Hayward for sharing his story.  Hayward is the best writer on PowerLine compared with Johnson, Hinderacker and Mirengoff.

But here is what’s missing:  PowerLine consistently tells the story of how they were banned, cancelled, treated rudely (one of my favorites from Johnson who is a chronic whiner).  But they never, ever admit they do the same to others.  Lies of omission.  Never fails with the elite — be they Right or Left.

Readers haven’t missed PowerLine’s double standard; but the Lawyers Club at PowerLine ignore it.  They are the first to virtue signal about transparency and the people’s right to know.  How about the people’s right to know about PowerLine?

For example, here are some authentic PowerLine cancel culture threads from Scott Johnson to yours truly.  After he banned me from commenting, despite no violations of his alleged standards, he refused to reply — even Twitter replies.  (See origin story.)  Five months later, Johnson fired up his double-standard stump speech and I saw my chance to raise the issue again.

I sent him an email that said: 

I’ll bite.  What guidelines did I violate?  [See attached thread]. I asked in June and you refused to reply.  In fact, you practice what you condemn — FANG, Star Tribune, et al.  By the way, when you banned me from commenting on the PowerLine Blob (YOUR typo), you screwed up my Disqus account.”

Johnson’s reply began by whining about having better things to do and the vulgarity he sees on a daily basis “defies [his] belief.”  Tsk, Tsk.


  • Why doesn’t Johnson ask one or two of his colleagues for help? Because he doesn’t want help.  Johnson is an emotionally needy person and gets a kick out of any petty power trip he can manufacture.  As he bragged:  “I am judge, I am jury, and I am executioner.”  Note the construction of that sentence, how it is drawn out.
  • Speaking of vulgarity: If he is so repulsed as he says, why is there so much of it in the form of memes in Steve Hayward’s Week in Pictures posts. We have saved and chronicled enough of it.


In our email exchange, Johnson’s synaptic neurons finally clicked and he got to the point:

“It looks like I banned you months [sic] for vulgarity and perhaps personal abuse.  The lapse of time makes it extremely difficult if not impossible for me to look up the comment that resulted in my banning you.  Perhaps if you send it to me at the Power Line gmail account I can be more specific.

So I followed up with the following.  Does this strike you as inflammatory?

“Mr. Johnson:

“It is all here.  Scroll to the bottom of the thread in this email.  Below today’s email, you will find my June 25 email to you following my “banning.”  

“Below that you will see my original reader comment under the heading, My Note To PowerLine.  Presumably this is what got under your skin for reasons unknown; but I am happy to be educated.

“This last item in this thread is an October 2017 email complimenting you and PowerLine and mentioning an article I had published in The Federalist.

“By the way, my association with lawyers is wide and deep, including Akin Gump, which involved international trade issues with Japan at the time.  Your colleague Paul Mirengoff worked there as you know.

“Here is to continuous improvement and an open exchange of views.

Mike Benard”

Johnson’s reply is as follows: 

“Dear Mr Benard: You don’t get it.  I have no desire for an open exchange of views with you.  I do not desire to be improved by you.  I do not desire to communicate with you on my personal email account.  I do not desire to communicate with you, period. 

“Looks like I may have banned you because you annoyed me.

Scott Johnson”

Oh what a tangled web Johnson weaves.  He has many rooms in his head.  Most are dark.

Time for PowerLine to support the people’s right to know, including the right to know about PowerLine.  Johnson likes to demand answers from others.  Readers, reporters, commenters should demand Johnson do the same.  Here is a starting point for PowerLine questions: 

  • Why does PowerLine no longer report on Abdi Nur, who Johnson says was his first Somali source on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar? Yes, we understand he was threatened allegedly by Somali gangs; but why no further follow up?
  • How many readers has PowerLine banned over the last 2 years? For what reason, aside from alleged profanity and vulgarity? 
  • Why does PowerLine say it forbids profanity and vulgarity yet allows memes with such profanity and vulgarity as F-bombs, gangsta MFers?
  • Why do Johnson’s “standards” not apply to the PowerLine Bloggers Club (Johnson, Hinderacker, Hayward, Mirengoff)?

Readers, writers, reporters and commenters should feel free to share this link on social media and spread the word to others.

1 thought on “Conservative PowerLine Blob Joins Cancel Culture”

  1. Mike was not banned by PowerLine for vulgarity or personal abuse. Scott Johnson asked Mike for the original comment, then slammed him when he provided it. Yikes!

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