Boy, Do I Feel Naïve

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Yesterday, BuzzFeed published an exposé on how soulless alt-right troll doll Milo Yiannopoulos solicited ideas and advice from white supremacists and neo-Nazis to help grow Breitbart into the mainstream hate influencer it is today. That report also contained exchanges with other journalists, ones who don’t nominally run in white supremacist circles, but who fed tips and pitches to Yiannopoulos and his ghostwriters, praised his misogyny, sicced him on left-wing writers, and generally palled around with him. And damn it if I wasn’t shocked.

A senior staff writer at Vice’s women’s website, Broadly:

“Please mock this fat feminist,” [Mitchell] Sunderland wrote to Yiannopoulos in May 2016, along with a link to an article by the New York Times columnist Lindy West, who frequently writes about fat acceptance. And while Sunderland was Broadly’s managing editor, he sent a Broadly video about the Satanic Temple and abortion rights to Tim Gionet with instructions to “do whatever with this on Breitbart. It’s insane.” The next day, Breitbart published an article titled “‘Satanic Temple’ Joins Planned Parenthood in Pro-Abortion Crusade.”

A tech reporter and writer for HBO’s Silicon Valley:

Dan Lyons, the veteran tech reporter and editor who also worked for nearly two years on HBO’s Silicon Valley, emailed Yiannopoulos (“you little troublemaker”) periodically to wonder about the birth sex of Zoë Quinn, another GamerGate target, and Amber Discko, the founder of the feminist website Femsplain, and to suggest a story about the public treatment of the venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale, who had been accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit that the plaintiff eventually dropped.

A former Slate writer:

And the former Slate technology writer David Auerbach, who once began a column “Gamergate must end as soon as possible,” passed along on background information about the love life of Anita Sarkeesian, the GamerGate target; “the goods” about an allegedly racist friend of Arthur Chu, the Jeopardy champion and frequent advocate of social justice causes; and a “hot tip” about harsh anti-harassment tactics implemented by Wikipedia. Bokhari followed up with an article: “Wikipedia Can Now Ban You For What You Do On Other Websites.”

After the report was published, evidence of these and other liberal journalists buddying up to Yiannopoulos (his Twitter handle was @Nero before he was banned) and other alt-right ghouls like Mike Cernovich, who spends his days spreading insane conspiracy theories online, and Ann Coulter, famous for being a racist hyper blonde lady and for bombing on Comedy Central, wasn’t hard to find. It had all been out there in the open.

Is there a word for when you feel embarrassed about your naïveté? Because I feel dumb as hell. I assumed that when Nuzzi and her down-the-middle cohorts wrote things like this glowing profile of Mike Cernovich in New York magazine, they went home and immediately took a hot shower to wash off the stink. I didn’t realize they were just writing about their friends.

Maybe these reporters think associating with Pepes makes them look like they know something everyone else doesn’t? That they’re cool enough to get into the club? That this is all just a no-stakes game that ends with a few more Twitter followers? Maybe they feel subversive? Maybe they’re just so caught up in a big media circle jerk that their brains have been jostled out of their ears and they don’t realize or care they’re enabling the work of literal white supremacists? I’m not sure why anyone would want to be best friends with Ann Coulter.

I do know that I feel like a moron for not realizing sooner that opportunistic dopes and morally bankrupt frauds walk among us.