The plot, the puppy, and the provocateur

Short of something else happening, this should be the last Yiannopoulos post for the time being. Just to tie up the mini-kerfuffle in Puppydom, who is getting all the blame for this?

In general, there is an undiscriminating mix of complaints against the left and conservatives (apparently scared of the left) for the events. Notably, a common theme was that Milo’s destruction (as it is portrayed) must have been terribly well planned. The notion here is that great effort must have gone into attacking the guy.

Even a cursory look at events (an anti-Trump website tweets out an edited copy of a genuine video) does not look like it required much organisation. This article from suggests it was a 16-year-old in Canada who prompted the website ‘The Reagan Battalion’ to post out the video. (I’m a little unclear whether she pointed them to the edited version or the longer version).

From that point, the story goes into a patch of cross-partisan-consensus reality. Reagan Battalion is ostensibly a conservative anti-Trump website and it used social media to highlight Milo’s under-aged sex comments in the video and this is what led CPAC to disinvite him etc.

So why, you might ask, is Brad Torgersen attacking somebody else? Specifically Utah libertarian and former presidential candidate Evan McMullin:

Just to be clear about it, and speaking as someone who not only voted for Evan McMullin in November, but encouraged many others to also vote for Evan McMullin too . . . the man has sacrificed my good will and support. What he did was dirty. It doesn’t matter if he thinks his target deserved it, nor how righteous he thinks his cause is. It was dirty. It was cheap. Lying by omission. Perhaps also, false witness? It made me feel like I’d been sold a fraudulent bill of goods, back in October and November. I don’t forget stuff like that. I don’t forget it when somebody fools me in this manner. Especially not someone who claims to walk beneath my church’s banner with me. Go to the Lord, brother. He will probably be more forgiving of you than I will be. And I am not alone. You’re not getting my vote back. Ever.

The root of the Evan McMullin claim lies with an article on The Daily Caller here:

That article tied The Reagan Battalion to McMullin in two ways: firstly the site supported McMullin over Trump and secondly, the group appears to have been funded by a pro-McMullin political action committee (PAC). Now, you might think that is not only very slim evidence for McMullin’s involvement but also exactly the kind of guilt-by-association that Brad likes to complain about but really we should all be used to this level of double-think now.

The clincher for the pups was not just the Daily Caller article but a tweet by McMullin in reply to a tweet claiming a plot against Milo.

Posobiec Source: $250,000 spent on opposition research on Milo. Hired PI’s and video editors. Evan McMuffin involvement confirmed

McMullin: Never cared much for Nazi punks.
Jack Posobiec‏@JackPosobiec
Evan McMullinVerified account‏@Evan_McMullin

My main reaction is “$250,000!”. Gosh with all the fictional Soros money for protesting or posting anti-Trump comments, plus $250,000 for pointing at a video that’s been circulating for a year, I feel like my current $0 return on saying mean things about Trump is a very poor return on investment.

Anyhoo, the snark from McMullin is, apparently, confirmation that it was him! Yes, yes, it just looks like somebody replying snarkily but that’s sufficient to make the leap from ‘supporters of McMullin posted the video’ to ‘Evan McMullin directly brought about the fall of Milo’. McMullin probably isn’t going to push back to hard against this considering that it makes him appear relatively dangerous and effective.

Still, why attack McMullin when  The Reagan Battalion clearly were the main characters in this pseudo-tragedy? Partly because The Reagan Battalion is somewhat shadowy – it isn’t clear who runs the site or what their overall aims are. This article suggests other odd connections but this article pours some cold water on some of those findings

Either way around, we know that Milo is not short of enemies, everybody to the left of him because the guy is a nasty bully, anti-Trump conservatives because of his associations with the alt-Right & Breitbart, and also other factions of the alt-Right (e.g. the punchable Richard Spencer) for interfactional reasons. Given his schtick is to upset people, this isn’t surprising. To his supporters, such as Brad, this means that the solution to the non-mystery must be The Murder on the Orient Express solution, [SPOLIER] they all did it! Somehow masterminded by Evan McMullin.

So was McMullin involved? For all I know, he could have been. There is no particular evidence that he was and no reason to speculate that he was because the events were quite simple. A publically available video that had been circulating for months is posted in edited form. The edits are not some kind of technological wizardry but a minor task on a laptop. The cost of editing and posting the video would be minimal. The key element was the video coming from a platform that the right audience would see it. Even the article above feels like it overcomplicates the story.

So, no, we can’t eliminate the possibility of a wider more complicated plot – it is just that Ockham’s razor suggests we don’t need one to explain events. Perhaps anti-Trump conservatives really are that incompetent at oppo-research (after all they seem to have missed a lot about Trump)? Even the level-head story about the 16-year-old Canadian suggests that the Reagan Battalion had to be led to the story rather than them just doing some very basic leg-work.


5 responses to “The plot, the puppy, and the provocateur”

  1. Rats! Could you please, just once, cease to be reasonable? I keep reading your posts, and you don’t seem to have got the memo about us living in a post-fact world; not only do you insist on looking for facts, but then you insist on thinking about said facts.

    Admittedly, your approach does demonstrate just how silly Bannon and his ‘burn it all down’ brigade are; he’s been in the White House for over a month, and he’s made the earth shattering discovery that judges don’t care about him shouting at them. This has obviously come as something of a surprise, just as the reaction of Fox News to reporters being banned from briefings has completely baffled him; he didn’t see it coming, which is a major problem for anyone trying to play the role of Eminence Gris.

    Since you continue to decline to whip up conspiracy theories I commend to you my strategy for evaluating would-be dictators; how would they do against Havelock Vetinari? So far the Trumpeters are completely outclassed but I suppose it’s possible that they might find someone, someday…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There was never any world where the Alt-Right would get a sniff of power and not start thinking ‘internal purges’, and there was never any world where Yiannopoulos wasn’t going to be amongst the first to be purged. The fact that they got beaten to the punch by a non Alt-Right changes the timing, but not much else.

    Liked by 2 people

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