When Trolls Cry: A Response To The Click-Bait “Journalists” at The Daily Cal and The Washington Times
Filed under: IGD
Filed under: IGD
Originally published to It’s Going Down
I have come to believe, in the course of our bizarro unfriendship, that Milo believes in almost nothing concrete—not even in free speech. The same is reportedly true of Trump, of people like Ann Coulter, of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage: They are pure antagonists unencumbered by any conviction apart from their personal entitlement to raw power and stacks of cash.
We ban drunks from driving because they’re a danger to others. Isn’t it time we did the same to trolls?
It is my view, that there is this sort of suggestion on the political Left that the holy grail of journalism is to be ‘unbiased.’ To just stick to the facts. This sort of fact-checking, data journalism mythology, which is really just political ideology masquerading as data-driving reporting. My view on this stuff is that you should be open and transparent about your political objective and in the way that the Right is and the Left is not.
Even broken clocks are right twice a day.
Last Thursday, IGD re-published an article entitled, The Kids are Alt-Right: The UC Berkeley Republican Students Behind the Milo Event. Since then, the article has been shared 500 times on facebook along with hundreds of times on twitter. In short, the article argues that some of the current and former members of the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) are part of the so-called Alt-Right, a growing internet subculture that promotes white nationalism (which argues for the creation of an all-white fascist State), while celebrating Neo-Nazism, patriarchy, and racism through memes and podcasts.
The piece articulates that the line between what is considered ‘mainstream’ conservatism (the Republican Party) and the far-Right is blurring, as the Alt-Right begins to make up a new base. Moreover, the article argued that this crossover is part of a growth of fascist and far-Right activity in the bay area; a reality that The Daily Cal has refused to report on, even as well known white supremacists like Richard Spencer have organized events on campus, and white nationalist groups like Identity Evropa have plastered the school and surrounding area with posters.
Now, with members of the Alt-Right clearly operating within mainstream political groups, the media plays up fears of “cyber-attacks” by anti-fascists in order to preserve the “good name” of long established institutions that more than half of the US don’t vote for, care about, and flat out hate.
Comically, this entire situation began with the BCR inviting Alt-Right (or more specifically, Alt-Lite, as Milo distances himself from the more open Neo-Nazi segments of the far-Right) talking-head Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley. Milo has made a name for himself defending and popularizing a host of misogynists and Alt-Right thinkers, while pushing to attack progressivism and the Left in general in the wider mainstream media and culture. This has allowed him to become not only wealthy, (he only just broke even after his first company failed and he refused to pay his employees), but also land a new book deal, and a lucrative position at Alt-Lite media platform Breitbart. Many have also pointed out that Milo generally works with a large host of ghost-writers and interns, who write in part his content. As Buzzfeed noted:
A leading voice of the new “alt-right,” Breitbart.com tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, does not write many of the articles that appear under his byline on the conservative news site, two sources who have worked directly with him told BuzzFeed News.
Throughout Milo’s career, in order to remain relevant to the next generation of junior trolls, he has sought to give a voice to everyone from video game fans who threatened to rape women for speaking out about their role in the industry, claiming Shaun King isn’t black, to calling white nationalists and neo-reactionaries “dangerously bright.” In short, Milo has made a career off of using 4 and 8chan as a source of inspiration, and gotten rich in the process. In doing so, he’s given a huge spotlight to the far-Right. His, yawn, ‘stunts’ have gotten him banned from twitter, such as harassing Ghostbusters and SNL actress, Leslie Jones, a 15 seconds of fame, such as “privilege grants” for white men. In short, Milo has built a career around his status as a troll. But ironically, a troll which feeds off of harassing and attacking people personally.
This is something that he is now taking on the road with a speaking tour across the US. For example, at past Milo talks on campus with the help of his Breitbart coworkers, he records people in the crowd who are “triggered” at the dumb shit that he says and puts their faces up on a screen, calling it “The Trigger Cam” and later releases it onto Youtube to get that whole Alex Jones, “the Lizards can’t see through my tin-foil hat” crowd. Even Milo’s promotional flyers come across like poorly written racist bathroom graffiti, “Fat People are Ugly,” “Muslims Are Gay,” etc. Tacky. At one speaking event stop, Milo singled out one transgender student for mocking, causing the school administration to go into a tailspin, much to the glee of Milo and Breitbart.
And the wider media eats this shit up like it’s applesauce. Just as middle-class urban liberal ‘journalists’ are fascinated by the Alt-Right because they are white supremacists from similar backgrounds as they are, so to are they fascinated with a hipster gay man that attacks the Left and reaffirms patriarchy, structural racism, and capitalist social relations. Because of this spotlight, made possible by the liberal media, people like Milo and white supremacists like Richard Spencer can paint themselves as countercultural icons fighting against a dominant system, when in reality they are simply white rich kids who benefit from receptive institutions, like the media, looking for edgy content that ultimately won’t actually challenge the real dominant aspects of society in any meaningful way.
What’s ironic however, is that either in Seattle or at Berkeley, if there’s one thing that actually triggers both Milo and his white nationalist, Republican, or Alt-Right supporters and fans, it’s that they don’t want anyone talking about them. For all the energy they put into being trolls of “Social Justice Warriors,” “feminazis,” and beyond through their mocking, rape threats, and online harassment, their collective crying could satisfy a generation of Kermit the Frog memes sipping on tears.
The major assertion by both The Daily Cal and The Washington Times is that members of the Berkeley College Republicans were ‘victims’ and of a “cyber attack,” which of course creates the idea that anti-fascists “hacked,” or otherwise illegally gathered information on people. From The Daily Cal:
Members of the Berkeley College Republicans and other campus students were the victims of a cyber attack Friday, which exposed their private information in a public post online.
The political organizing group Northern California Anti-Racist Action published a post that named and shared information about students involved with BCR gathered from social media accounts in opposition to the group’s February event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos. Both BCR and ASUC President Will Morrow posted responses to the incident on Facebook condemning this illegal activity known as doxxing.
“It is a dangerous precedent in an academic environment for student groups to be subjected to harassment and cyber doxxing based on political affiliation,” Morrow said. “This goes beyond any singular political frame or any one event context — rather this is something that the foundation of our university is in many ways built on.”
You really have to pause and appreciate a group of people that collectively has risen to prominence as a reaction to social movements fighting against structural inequality, who are literally crying so hard because people put a face to their racism and sexism.
But moreover, the point made by Morrow and others is not only hilariously stupid, but also of course, factually not the case. Literally all of the information gathered from the original article came from social media accounts which were public. There was no cyber-attack, nothing was hacked.
But hey, this sensationalism helps make sure people will share your story online right? So at a time when print is dying, #PizzaGate is the new standard, and click-bait is everything, we should understand just how dumb, and poorly written, these articles actually are and how stupid their authors look.
In May of 2016, Richard Spencer, now almost a household name as the public face of silver spoon white nationalism, organized a rally with his troops in Identity Evropa, fronted by Nathan Damigo, a former white power ex-prisoner, who left the Neo-Nazi group National Youth Front behind to start a more Alt-Right formation. About 25 white supremacists rallied in Sproul Plaza, handing out flyers, doing a livestream, and talking with the media. Some of the media there included journalists with The Daily Cal. An article on the rally never was written, however, several months later, Spencer became infamous after he MCed a conference in DC where participants gave Nazi salutes while Spencer screamed, “Hail Trump!” Now, Andrew Anglin of the Alt-Right Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer is planning to organize a march in support of Spencer in Montana in response to the backlash. Anglin claims to be busing in hundreds of Neo-Nazi skinheads (from the bay area no less) and plans to march with “high power rifles” against “Jews.”
Going back to Berkeley, soon after the white supremacist rally at the UC campus, posters for Identity Evropa began to appear throughout the school and the wider Berkeley area. Some of these were even reportedly seen outside of offices of The Daily Cal. Editors with IGD called The Daily Cal and encouraged them to write about these developments, but nothing was ever written.
Guess Nazis organizing on your campus and putting up posters outside of your office isn’t news to the high powered journalists that make up the staff.
According to Dan Mogulof, the assistant Vice Chancellor of UC Berkeley:
We believe that personal attacks have no legitimate place in this conversation or at this university — before, during, or after the upcoming event — and we urge everyone, no matter their perspectives, to refrain from engaging in them.
The article was not a personal attack. Calling someone that listens to Neo-Nazi podcasts, holds Alt-Right views, and posts Alt-Right memes a part of the Alt-Right isn’t an attack, it’s a fact. Furthermore, connecting the Alt-Right with the Republican Party isn’t libel, it’s exposing a growing network of white supremacist activity.
The media, the heads of UC Berkeley, and the Alt-Right all want this to go away. In order for them to do that, they need to reduce it all down to “personal attacks” and “people being mean.” Being that this is coming from a subculture based around sharing gas chamber memes and rape jokes, it’s all pretty surreal.
Despite the various articles that have been written on the subject, nothing has been written dispelling the fact that some current and former members of BCR clearly are part of the Alt-Right, listen to Alt-Right podcasts, and are connected to wider Alt-Right groups.
Associated Student Body President Will Morrow stated:
It is a dangerous precedent in an academic environment for student groups to be subjected to harassment and cyber doxxing based on political affiliation. This goes beyond any singular political frame or any one event context—rather this is something that the foundation of our university is in many ways built on.
Ironically, this is also what Milo has built a career on. The public harassment, shaming, and attacking of people at his talks and written works for being either overweight, black, transgendered, feminist, Leftist, etc. Just today, Breitbart published the names of positions of a whole list of professors who are opposed to Milo speaking at the campus, and at recent Milo speaking events Breitbart has released video and footage of protesters in an effort to embarrass and mock them. As Media Matters wrote:
On December 13, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW), where he used the opportunity to openly mock and harass a transgender student that was recently enrolled at the school. As detailed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yiannopoulos “named and showed a picture of the student to his audience.” Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, “The way you know he’s failed is I can still bang him.”
The student, who was in the audience but reportedly unrecognized, later described the experience of being “frozen in total terror” that Yiannopoulos would cause someone in the audience to “incite the mob of the room against me.” The Breitbart livestream of Yiannopoulos’ talk included a “trigger cam” that targeted individual audience members with the crosshairs of a telescopic gun sight. The personal attacks on the student prompted UMW chancellor to send a campuswide email in which he strongly condemned “the belittling of others and their appearance, and the encouragement of hate and harassment.”
It seems that for BCR and the Alt-Right, when people point out their connections to white supremacist groups they play victim. When Milo attacks physical people they deem as their enemies, they cheer.
The real question is, in the real physical world: what are you going to do about it and who’s side are you on?
It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.