February 5, 2017

Newsweek, Senior Writer Celebrate ‘Ferocious’ Shutdown of Milo’s Berkeley Speech

In a Thursday morning tweet, Newsweek communicated its delight over the previous evening’s cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled speech at the University of California in Berkeley — and of the violence committed by some of those who forced the cancellation.

Though the magazine might argue otherwise, by including an accompanying photo of the violence that occurred in a tweet from its official account, and by referring to the results achieved by “ferocious protests,” Newsweek, which also claimed that Yiannopoulos had been “schooled,” clearly came off as celebrating not only the suppression of free speech, but also the violence and property destruction which occurred.

Here is that tweet. Again, note that it is from the magazine’s official Twitter account, not that of Alexander Nazaryan, the underlying article’s author:


Thus, Newsweek owns the sentiments expressed.

Nazaryan’s 1,400-word celebration extended to pleasure over Berkeley’s return to the radical frontlines (bolds are mine throughout this post; some profanity, cleaned up by yours truly, follows):


On Wednesday night, several hundred people decided the University of California at Berkeley would reclaim its reputation as a crucible of radical activism. They did so in a fiery, violent protest against right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose Dangerous Faggot tour had drawn protests around the country.

in the place sometimes known as Berzerkeley, he appeared to have miscalculated the ferocity of the resistance he’d face. Berkeley was to be the last stop on the Dangerous Faggot tour, in which Yiannopoulos, an editor at the white-nationalist website Breitbart, goes through all the far-right complaints and nostrums one might find at a Trump rally, only delivered in a British accent.

Darn it, I have to stop there.

White Breitbart.com is vulnerable to criticism for its often unskeptical support of Donald Trump — no more or less than the New York Times is similarly vulnerable for its unskeptical support of Barack Obama and the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton — the claim that it is a “white nationalist” site is about the most tired and defamatory lie there is. Nazaryan compounded the nonsense by similarly smearing the legions of Americans who have attended Donald Trump rallies.


Protesters made sure that didn’t happen at Berkeley. Gathered at Sproul Plaza, where the Free Speech movement began in 1964, they succeeded in getting the event canceled with a sustained demonstration that began several hours before its scheduled 8 p.m. start. It was to be hosted by Berkeley College Republicans.

… (Before, the event, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas) Dirks ultimately sided with those who believed that Yiannopoulos’s talk fell under the rubric of the First Amendment. In an open letter to the Berkeley community, Dirks called Yiannopoulos a “troll and provocateur” who must nevertheless be allowed to bring his road show to Berkeley.

Yet the event was canceled as soon as Sproul Plaza started to tip toward unrest.

… The crowd—including Berkeley students, older radicals and anarchists clad in black—pushed against the doors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, in whose Pauley Ballroom the Yiannopoulos event was to take place. Disregarding the nonviolent resistance philosophy of the building’s namesake, some protesters broke windows in the ground-floor Amazon store in the Dr. King center. A light tower was destroyed and set on fire, to the cheers of onlookers. Later, the burned-out remains of the tower were tagged with a graffito that hinted at the real reason the crowd was so large, and so quick to anger: “F*ck Trump.”

… The vast majority of the people in Sproul Plaza were not violent (so why did they cheer for it? , but they were angry, judging by their signs: “Make Racists Afraid Again”; “No Safe Space for Fascism”; “United Against Stupidity”; “Nazi Punks F*ck Off.”

Time and again, the protesters returned to one line of argument: “Hate speech is not free speech.” … Yiannapoulos revels in mockery of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” but his criticism often turns into vituperation … That, many protesters suggested, disqualified him from enjoying the free speech protections of the First Amendment.

Yet many also felt uncomfortable by the violence in Sproul Plaza. A junior at UC Berkeley who would only identify herself to Newsweek as K. said she thought breaking glass and setting fires was unnecessary.

Here’s a logical followup question for “K.” which wasn’t asked: Was the violence “unnecessary” because it’s destructive, hurts innocent parties financially and physically, and is against time-honored legal and moral codes? Or was it “unnecessary” only because Milo had already been prevented from speaking, and the mission was accomplished?

Based on some of his past record, Nazaryan’s celebratory headline and “protester”-sympathetic writeup are hardly surprising. In January 2016, as the official Republican presidential primary season began, Nazaryan infamously tweeted the following over a picture of Nazis marching with swastika flags: ”Ted Cruz has a strong ground game in Iowa.” He has also called urban gentrification of former slum areas “the new urban blight.”

Nazaryan’s report is tagged as “Updated” at its very beginning and as “updated to reflect new developments” at its very end. This would appear to indicate that at some point, the author, as the violence escalated, had a choice to back away from his celebration of the speech’s cancellation — which is bad enough to anyone who genuinely believes in civil liberties — and to denounce the violence and property destruction which occurred. (This violence included “a Bank of America whose glass doors were shattered with a concrete garbage pail” and “a Starbucks outlet came under particularly heavy assault.”) He didn’t. He could only bring himself to write that “It is unclear who, exactly, won the night.”

As to “who won,” subsequent events indicate that the radicals’ shutdown of Milo is decisively redounding to his benefit:

  • Sales of his recent book, Dangerous, are up — “ferociously” up, one might say. The book “was No. 1 on Amazon.com as of Thursday evening.”
  • He has drawn support from President Trump, who questioned in a Thursday tweet whether Berkeley should continue to receive federal funds if it “does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view.”
  • Yiannopoulos himself appears undaunted, as he “announced Saturday that he still intends to make an appearance at UC Berkeley, even though his event Wednesday was canceled by UCPD.” Whether the “free speech” hypocrites at Berkeley will permit it is, of course, quite another matter.

Newsweek’s tweet is an offensive disgrace. Judged by the comments present there, it has not helped a magazine whose circulation “has not been audited since 2013,” and which in November infamously produced thousands of copies of a slavishly devoted commemorative “Madam President” issue because it, like most of the establishment press, assumed Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org. (pending)


1 Comment

  1. Also notice the all too typical and tired labeling of anyone who is not liberal as a “provocateur.” Really sad how merely having a contrary opinion is “provoking” to the snowflakes.

    Comment by zf — February 5, 2017 @ 2:57 pm

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