“...it doesn't matter if people love you or hate you, as long as they feel strongly one way or the other. The worst place you can be is in the middle.”
― Eric Bischoff, Controversy Creates Cash
For years, I thought the worst byproduct of the conservative media and blogosphere bubble was the habitual misinformation or "fake news" that’s made political dialogue virtually impossible. I was wrong; in my newly revised opinion, the normalization and profitability of bigotry has been far more damaging than the propaganda disseminated by these outlets. Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and a plethora of lesser known radio personalities built large audiences (and larger fortunes) by manipulating the fear and (sometimes) hatred of racial, religious, or cultural others. Milo Yiannopoulos is the natural evolution of normalized bigotry. The most successful conservative talking heads use promotional strategies that have more in common with professional wrestling promoters than the politicians trying to gain access to their audience. Milo, Tomi Lahren, and Tommy Sotomayor are picking up where Ann Coulter, Michele Malkin, and Glenn Beck left off. This is the third generation of this brand of vitriolic media conservatism.
Social media is full of people tap dancing on the proverbial grave of Milo Yiannopoulos; sadly, they don’t understand that this isn’t the end of him or his brand of bigotry. Milo is likely to be more powerful this time next year because of the attention he’s receiving. Rush Limbaugh built his EIB network and Glenn Beck built the Blaze in spite of being hated and receiving negative media coverage for their controversial statements. Milo is every bit as capable as they were of setting up his own production and distribution networks; he has the most important thing any media personality needs to be successful: a core audience willing to financially support his ideas. He’s not dead! He will still give the kind of talks he was giving before he lost his book deal. Speaking at CPAC would have helped legitimize him, but it wasn't going to make him anymore influential among his most loyal supporters.
The right to report, dissent, or satirize without criminal prosecution is often confused with the right to do so without facing any consequences. If Milo is smart he will learn that insulting and dehumanizing black people, brown people, feminists, and Muslims is far more profitable than engaging in the sort of sexual dialogue that caused his corporate sponsors to pull their support. There’s a segment of America that will always support his kind of bigotry. If he self-publishes his book, sets up his own monetized blog or podcast, continues touring, and remembers to limit his attacks to the kind of people corporate America doesn’t mind offending he will be just fine. Pedophilia was a bridge to far for an industry built on pushing the lines of decency.
Long before Frank Luntz and Republican think tanks were crafting the language Republican politicians use to convey their message, Rush Limbaugh was dropping conservative thought bombs on the mainstream media, intelligentsia, and college campus culture. Many on the left still foolishly believe we are one clever campaign slogan away from winning the hearts and minds of the mythic working-class white voters and young college libertarians who are the core of Milo’s base. This kind of thinking has been around since Dr. George Lakoff wrote “Moral Politics” in 1996. Here’s a news flash: people who use terms like “Cuck”, “Libturd”, or “Libtard” aren’t worried about cogent arguments. I know this feels pretty good for some on the left who were the victims of Milo's verbal assaults, but this isn't his end. I can assure you we will be dealing with his brand of hate for a long time!