Thursday, February 02, 2017

Play Into It

I agreed with this Sacramento Bee editorial, until the last sentence:
Milo Yiannopoulos has a game that he has been playing for months. He’s really good at it, too.

First, the alt-right cult hero accepts invitations to speak on college campuses. Then, as word spreads, he revels in the backlash from liberal students who condemn his hateful rhetoric. And when unruly protesters force him to cancel, he wins – the public relations war anyway.

It worked in January at UC Davis, where angry students showed up in droves and made campus police nervous. It worked at UCLA, too, where administrators canceled his speaking engagement days in advance over security concerns.

Unfortunately, UC Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, is just the latest to get played. The truth about the riots that broke out on campus Wednesday night before his speech has been twisted by a master provocateur.

...Yet, in this cowardly new world of alternative facts, the narrative that UC Berkeley is full of intolerant leftists who shut down speech they don’t like with rocks and commercial-grade fireworks has taken off. Yiannopoulos got what he wanted. And Trump, who has no problem with false narratives, went a step further by threatening to withhold federal funding from the UC system if “innocent people with a different point of view” aren’t allowed to speak.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a UC Regent, called Trump’s tweet “asinine.” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, called it an empty threat that’s an abuse of power by a man who is “president, not a dictator.”

Far be it from us to dissuade condemnations or peaceful protests against Trump or Yiannopoulos. But there is a larger game afoot here. Don’t play into it.

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