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Thursday, November 11, 2021

When the IDW comes after you

Lehmann claimed, without evidence,
that Ngo was the victim of a chemical attack.
There was no chemical attack.

Quillette was identified by Bari Weiss, in her NYTimes article as "the publication most associated with (the IDW)."

In spite of claims that can be found online that Andy Ngo was fired by Quillette, he is in fact still listed as a "contributing writer" at Quillette.

As Buzzfeed News wrote:

He’s whittled his themes down to a brutally efficient, social media- and Fox News–friendly trio: Hate crimes are hoaxes, anti-fascists are the real fascists, and liberals are naive about Islam, which is violent. And he now edits part time for Quillette, the so-called heterodox publication that has staked out a position as a home for centrist journalists and academics disgruntled about left-wing activism and woke culture. It gives him an easy way to defeat charges that he’s a right-wing activist.

Ngo also had connections to the Trump administration, and Ngo's relentless attempts to demonize the rag-tag group of unorganized anonymous leftists, Antifa, was so popular with the Trump administration that at one point during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Trump claimed the attackers were Antifa.

So I was very interested to see an article in The Intercept, A Right-Wing Brawler Asked a Court to Protect Him From an Antifascist’s Tweets

It seems that rightwing extremists went after an activist who had volunteered to investigate far-right groups:

LODER FIRST BECAME alarmed while working as a consultant for tech companies that wanted to keep their sites clear of hate speech and messages that promote violence; they realized that social media platforms were not doing enough to keep extremists “from fundraising and recruiting and spreading their hateful messages.” Paying attention to what was on those platforms during Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and in the lead-up to the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Loder said, felt like “pointing at an oncoming freight train, and then just watching it happen.” 
So, working on weekends, Loder started to tackle the problem as a volunteer, watching hours of footage from right-wing social media feeds and trying to identify groups that might be using political rallies as “grass to hide in, to recruit and carry out violent acts.” 
Loder has tried to prod social networks into taking action against users who threaten violence. In 2019, Loder set up searches to collect death threats directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, after then-President Donald Trump tweeted a video that distorted her comments on the 9/11 attacks alongside images of the World Trade Center in flames. Loder then urged other users to mass-report those tweets to press Twitter to enforce its rules and remove them.

The article reports on Andy Ngo's connection: 

In July, Loder helped identify  far-right activist Aaron Simmons as the masked attacker who clubbed an independent filmmaker in the head during an anti-trans protest in Los Angeles. (That attack had been wrongly blamed on antifascists after video of the assault was tweeted with a misleading caption by Andy Ngo, a far-right commentator.) Simmons was subsequently arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon for the attack on the filmmaker (Simmons had menaced Loder outside the Torrence courthouse in September)...

Ngo was identified as a "free speech grifter" in 2018 along with a named member of the IDW, Christina Hoff Sommers. But of course free speech only goes one way with grifters:

In the meantime, Loder has also repulsed two recent legal complaints from lawyers working for Andy Ngo. The first was a copyright complaint over a photograph Loder tweeted of Ngo posing in front of fascist graffiti in Poland. The second was a cease-and-desist letter concerning Loder’s role in a Twitter campaign to shame companies into pulling their ads from the Canadian website Ngo writes for, The Post Millennial.

Loder scoffs at Ngo’s complaint that putting pressure on the site’s advertisers is a form of censorship. “I’m not censoring you,” Loder said they would tell Ngo. “But I am showing advertisers what your site looks like and what’s on there, and they’re dropping you.”

Thanks to Quillette and other rightwing media, Ngo was classified as a "journalist" for a time, but soon news outlets discovered that Ngo was very much a partisan:
Nowhere was this demonstrated more quickly than in the case of the meteoric rise and equally rapid fall of Andy Ngo, the provocateur and social media personality who garnered nationwide sympathy last June, when he tweeted that he was attacked by antifascist protesters at a Proud Boys rally. Last week, the local newspaper the Portland Mercury reported that a left-wing activist going undercover as a member of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group known for promoting and engaging in violent clashes with leftist activists, had given the publication an 18-minute video that included footage of Ngo with a group of Patriot Prayer members as the members discuss an upcoming brawl, including weaponry to be used in altercations with antifa. Ngo, who describes himself as a journalist, did not record the conversation, and does not appear to have his camera or notebook out. For part of the footage, he is seen on his phone.
It should be mentioned here that both Ngo and Proud Boys have shown up at public demonstrations disguised as Antifa and BLM supporters.

Luckily for Loder, California has a robust anti-SLAPP law:
Unfortunately for Kiefer, that is not how the law works. Thomas Burke, a lawyer who wrote a book on California’s anti-SLAPP statute, told me that it doesn’t matter at all if Loder is defined as an activist or a journalist. The law is designed to protect anyone whose free speech in a public forum or on a matter of public interest is threatened by a meritless lawsuit or injunction.... 
...As Burke explained, the original aim was to stop wealthy corporations from suing environmentalists or residents of an area who protested a company’s use of land but could not afford the legal fees to defend themselves from a libel suit. A later amendment added language saying that the statute “shall be construed broadly.” Since then, courts have ruled that anti-SLAPP protections apply to people who are providing information to the public, whether they are activists or journalists.

My work is different from Loder's: he focuses on the rightwing extremists themselves. I am less likely to be the target of violent threats, since I focus on the mainstream right-wingers who sometimes aid and abet extremists, and "celebrity intellectuals" like Steven Pinker, who, while he may not support Andy Ngo directly, seems to have no problem supporting Quillette, which helped legitimize Ngo's grift. Pinker even has a couple of bylines in Quillette.

Quillette also published Razib Khan's review of Charles Murray's latest book in which Khan agreed with Murray we need to "connect the dots" about Black Americans or "face disaster." That information is public, but few people outside the Quillette audience are aware of it. It's possible Khan considers my publicizing his menacing views of Black Americans as some kind of threat to his career.

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