Some on the Left Have Lost Their Minds over the Milo/Berkeley Riot

MiloI am no fan of Milo Yiannopolus. To me, he represents nearly everything that is wrong with our public discourse. Specifically, it is very clear that he has created a character which is designed solely to produce notoriety and money for himself, with no concern for the negative impact he has on the causes he pretends to support.

However, the reason that his persona is able to resonate with many on the political right (whatever that term means in the era of Trump) is that he is correct about a lot of things, and the left, much to his delight, keeps proving this to be true. The riot which erupted over his planned speaking engagement this week at Cal-Berkeley, and the aftermath which followed, is the best example of this to date.

It is very clear that academia is tremendously biased against conservatives and is extremely hypocritical on the issue of “free speech.” In the vast majority of our places of higher learning (even at the high school level), “academic diversity” means that the school makes sure that they have a liberal of every color, gender, sexual persuasion, and religion. Generally, a “conservative” is defined as someone who thinks that George W. Bush was legitimately elected and didn’t purposely lie to get us into Iraq (I’m not kidding).

Understanding this, Yiannopolus has decided to take personal advantage of the left’s all-too-predictable freak-out over an openly gay conservative who calls himself a “faggot” being allowed a microphone and an auditorium on a major college campus. He obviously schedules his events to create the greatest possible chance to be banned, cancelled, or to create chaos, all of which gives him what he wants most: publicity and martyrdom.

At Berkeley, he got probably more than he could have ever dreamed of, with hundreds of apparent students gathering to protest and creating all sorts of destruction on live television. This caused his “performance,” as the school aptly described it in a tweet, to be cancelled (which is basically the dictionary definition of the “heckler’s veto,” which used to be a concept for which academia had complete disdain). This, of course, in the era of modern media and the perverse incentives it creates, was the best outcome for which he could have possibly hoped.

Thanks to this, Milo’s national profile increased greatly. He got to expose the liberal academics as the hypocrites that they are while being allowed to take the moral high ground. The President of the United States effectively tweeted his support while threatening to pull federal funding from the school. He got invited to be an in-studio guest on Tucker Carlson’s new hit Fox News show. And his already controversial book dramatically surged in sales. All of this without having to even say a word to the miniscule crowd which would have heard him speak that night.

Nice job liberals.

This whole episode went so poorly for the liberal “resistance” that several prominent voices are deluding themselves (or just desperately lying) into thinking that this really was NOT all the fault of young liberal “special snowflakes” who grew up getting participation trophies and can’t even deal with an opposing opinion. That’s right. You see, at least according to some on the left, this was all part of a grand right-wing conspiracy to make it LOOK like a riot by liberals.

Yeah, and I heard that the very same people were also behind the “Bowling Green Massacre.”

For many reasons, this “theory’ is absurd on its face. First, it should be pointed out that just because someone benefits from a circumstance, as Milo clearly did here, that  not means that they were responsible for creating those events (though, I’m sure he anticipated/welcomed them). Milo may have set a trap for liberals, but, like a husband who makes a pass at his wife’s hot friend, that doesn’t get them off the hook for stupidly taking the bait.

Secondly, is it simply not in the DNA of conservatives, of any age, to organize, protest, and riot (real or fake) in this way. I’m not saying that many might like the idea as a concept, but expecting hundreds of them to actually act out on it is beyond far-fetched. Everyone knows that that protesting, for a variety of cultural reasons, is something that the left does exponentially better than the right does.

I know this all too well from my own personal experience. In 2009, I stupidly got roped into a “leading” a protest of David Letterman for inappropriate jokes he made about Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter. The whole time my gut was telling me this was a horrible idea but those who came up with the idea kept assuring me that they could somehow get a crowd of conservatives to show up in the middle of a workday in Manhattan. Yeah, that didn’t turn out very well.

The third and most obvious reason there is NO chance that right-wingers were behind the riot is that if this had been remotely the case there would be a massive amount of evidence by this point to prove that. In order to somehow get hundreds of young right-wingers (which nearby conservative conclave does the left think these kids magically came from?!) to the liberal bastion of Cal-Berkeley would have taken an ENOURMOUS amount of organization and money.

This means that there would at least be things like a Craigslist ad, an email chain, and buses or vans providing transportation to a campus which is not easy to get to. In this age of social media, this means it would be IMPOSSIBLE to pull off an operation like that because invariably someone not sympathetic to the cause or someone who just doesn’t like Milo (there are plenty of conservatives who don’t), would have simply posted about the plan and the news media would have immediately jumped all over it.

Instead, nothing like that has happened, because this was obviously not a right-wing “false flag” operation. This was exactly what it looked like: spoiled liberal kids idiotically giving their purported enemy exactly what he wanted, when if they had all just gone to have some pizza and beer their efforts would have created a far more effective result.

It has long been said that one of the keys to success is to choose your enemies wisely. I give Milo Yiannopolus credit for, just like our president, both being a genius at this element of warfare as well as getting incredibly lucky.

John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is a documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

Filed Under:
  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. Law & Crime
  5. SportsGrid
  6. AmboTV
  7. Gossip Cop