For years we have been hearing from left-wing activists that words are violence. They have used this fallacy to carry water for activism that mobs, shames, unpersons, and assaults people with unpopular opinions. This past weekend, our friend and colleague Andy Ngo was brutally beaten by Antifa activists—the sort of people who live by the fallacy that words are violence. Ngo has video footage of masked Antifa thugs yelling at him and claiming that Ngo, a 5’5, mild-mannered, pacifist journalist was making them feel “unsafe.”
Well, if words are violence, then the mainstream media is basically ISIS. Outlet after outlet ran stories minimizing the harm done to Ngo and implying that he somehow “was asking for it.” They called a meek, pacifist journalist a “provocateur” just because he had the guts to go do his job in a hostile environment.
Claire Lehmann of Quillette took to Twitter to defend Ngo, one of her editors:
Lehman makes several great points in this thread. Just weeks prior, Quillette published an article that alleged ties between activist journalists and Antifa. The response to the article by journalists implicated was so over-the-top paranoid that it beggars belief. To these scribes, the very publication of the article was violence. After complaints from the journalists who were called out, the author was Twitter banned and slimed as an “alt-right troll.”
These journalists claimed that they were put on “death lists” and when Lehmann asked for evidence, they did not produce any. Lehmann correctly points out that since the publication of that article, the only journalist who has been physically assaulted was Ngo. Lehman also includes a video clip of a Portland man justifying the attack on Ngo because Ngo “doxxed” people. Again, there is no evidence for this claim. But facts don’t seem to matter to these people who are so keen on matching “verbal violence” with fists and weapons.
Biologist and writer Heather Heying compiled a stunning list of photoshopped fake headlines used by leftist activists to spread disinformation about Ngo and his assault:
It’s staggering to see such disinformation in action, but even more stunning is the fact that the actual headlines by the Huffington Post and the Independent weren’t much better. “The right want to make the Andy Ngo Antifa violence a reason to stop confronting fascists. Don’t ever let it happen,” shrieked The Independent. “Far-Right Extremists Wanted Blood In Portland’s Streets. Once Again, They Got It” proclaimed HuffPo.
On the Antifa apology tour, HuffPo’s Andy Campbell provides us with the most appalling example of bias. You see, “it’s not a surprise a conservative writer was bloodied.” Campbell belittles accurate coverage of the assault as a “flood of hand-wringing.” He smears Quillette, a moderate platform of free thought, as “reactionary” and claims the whole thing is a distraction. It’s straight-up victim blaming. Campbell basically spells it out: Andy had it coming. The fight must go on. We’re definitely not the baddies!
Vox‘s resident authoritarian, Carlos Maza, took to Twitter in a pathetic attempt to debunk the Antifa attack by focusing on the unconfirmed reports by Portland police that there was quick-drying cement in the milkshakes.
All we really know is that the Portland police received a recipe for cement milkshakes and they alerted the public. Whether the reports of cement milkshakes turn out to be true or not, this is what is essential: a journalist was beaten for doing his job by a mob of violent fascists posing as anti-fascists. They kicked him. They punched him with assault gloves. They bruised and bloodied him. They gave him a brain hemorrhage. They put him in the hospital. Oh, and by the way, they brutalized others too.
Self-proclaimed “free speech activist” Nathan Bernard referred to Ngo as a “grifter” for daring to seek justice.
That’s a hell of a grift: standing there, peacefully doing your job, and getting violently beaten to the point where you might suffer neurological damage. Bernard also refers to left-of-centre journalist Tim Pool as “far-right.” How deranged can these people get?
What these activists and journalist are doing is staking a claim to a specific narrative, one where what’s more important than a journalist being beaten up by ideological thugs is a story that says any means justifies the end of rooting out extremism. HuffPo can hardly be blamed, after all, this is a message being sent globally by governments and multinationals. Rooting out extremism is considered such a noble cause that it doesn’t even matter how many milkshakes are thrown and skulls are cracked in the process.
There’s clear, disturbing video evidence that Andy Ngo was beaten, yet the language used by left and mainstream media to describe the story is cynical and manipulative. CNN’s Brian Stelter referred to Ngo as a “messenger” on Twitter and later reported on air that Ngo “appeared” to be attacked while video showed him being actually, physically, violently attacked. The New York Times basically ran a PR-friendly explainer in the wake of this assault in order to tell its readers that Antifa is in a historically “difficult situation.”
The way the far left and Antifa operate is through a critique of language, saying that the words used to malign them, to question their beliefs and assumptions about everything from basic rights to what words mean, make them feel unsafe. By employing the word “unsafe,” language is recast as violence. In response to this perceived word violence, Antifa fights back with actual violence. This is basically their whole game and it’s time for it to be called out for the thuggery it is. It’s not noble to bash journalists.
Either words are violence or they’re not. If we take Antifa’s word violence definitions, then the language used to report on Andy’s assault, wherein the physical harm he suffered is deemed less essential than the reporting he’s done on the allies of his attackers, then the left is committing verbal violence by their own definition.
It behooves us to ask, why is it that so many journalists, who have blue checked banners of respectability, want to discredit Ngo? Why is it so hard to believe that a journalist who has documented the violence of a violent movement, has suffered violence at their hands, and has video evidence to back it up, is telling the truth? By the leftists’ standards of the progressive stack and the hierarchy of oppression, Ngo should be listened to. He checks off lots of boxes, he is a gay person of color, but because his narrative doesn’t match the cause, his account is discounted.
As disgusting and disconcerting as all of this is, it also signals that far-left journalists and activists are getting desperate. The violent assault on Andy Ngo opened the eyes of average, moderate-thinking people across the world. Antifa and the journalists who enable them are losing the information war. Their totalitarian reign of terror is coming to an end, and it’s thanks to responsible journalists like Ngo.