This is something of an addendum to my previous post recommending that liberals get used to Milo’s presence as a conservative voice. Shortly after that post was published a controversy erupted over positive comments about paedophilia that Milo had made during two online interviews. The subsequent outcry proved too great even for him to deflect. So in short order, he was disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference, had his book deal cancelled by Simon & Schuster and ultimately resigned from Breitbart.
Many liberal commentators have reacted with glee that finally Milo has been slain and it is hard not to feel some satisfaction that a troll who achieved fame by making incendiary statements has now done damage to his brand by, well, making incendiary statements. Retrospective pieces are already appearing on several liberal news sites that document the ‘fall’ of Milo (see here, here and here). But this to me seems entirely premature. Although Milo undoubtedly did some damage to his reputation a quick look around the alt-right twittersphere finds that far from abandoning Milo, the predictable figures are actively voicing their support. The typical attack lines of invoking mainstream media conspiracy/censorship and false equivalence arguments are already out in force; with poor taste jokes made by liberal comedians being highlighted to suggest that all of the criticism is just partisan hypocrisy.
The hatred towards Milo is driven by the jealousy & self-loathing of hacks who know only compromise, obedience and intellectual cowardice.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 22, 2017
Milo’s hastily convened press conference where he resigned from Breitbart and offered a not-pology also already illustrated the angles that he intends to use to deflect criticism and reassure his right wing base–focus on his status as a previous victim of abuse and shift emphasis to the lying mainstream media.
I take responsibility for the words I used. I take responsibility for the things that I said. but I don’t believe that any journalist writing a story or any editor pressing the publish button believes that I sincerely advocate for or support pedophilia. It’s an absurd and ridiculous allegation but they gleefully printed it anyway. America knows better, and knows different.
The idea that the current controversy has finished Milo is just another demonstration that many mainstream commentators do not understand the alt-right and its supporters. Milo’s defence that this is all a mainstream conspiracy to silence him will quickly prove more appealing and it won’t be long before this incident is featuring in his campus talks as an illustration of the war on free speech. My recommendation about how best to respond to Milo thus still stands: just accept that he is now a polemical right wing voice and react accordingly. If you think Ann Coulter isn’t worthy of much attention or thought space then neither is Milo.