For his part, Nathan Bernard runs Bernard Media, which, according to Rolling Stone, is a one-man operation. He has 24,000 Twitter followers. The Daily Caller quoted him as tweeting, “After relentlessly baiting and harassing antifa, far-right provocateur Andy Ngo finally got his wish of being milkshaked.” (In addition to punching Ngo, antifa activists threw “milkshakes” at him, which a Portland police source claimed—but various protesters denied—contained quick-drying cement.)
Then there’s Vegas Tenold, who, according to his website, has written for The New York Times and The New Republic. Tenold has 2,000 Twitter followers and recently described himself as “a white man who nobody’s ever heard of.” The Daily Caller quoted him as tweeting, “An egg lobbed into a crowd where a journalist happens to be isn’t attacking a journalist.” Finally, the Daily Caller quoted Charlie Warzel of The New York Times, who said, “Violence should be unacceptable. But there are also serious risks involved with putting yourself in volatile situations.”
As its exception that proves the rule—the pundit who ducked the tide of liberal sympathy for antifa violence—the Daily Caller cited CNN’s Brian Stelter, who tweeted, “Attacking a messenger shows weakness, not strength. Hopefully the authorities will get to the bottom of this.”
So here’s the overall tally: A New York Times writer calls antifa’s behavior “unacceptable.” A CNN reporter says the police must investigate. Two freelance journalists with relatively low profiles downplay the severity of the attack, while another accuses Ngo of “antagoniz[ing]” his adversaries, who “are the ones at fault here.” After scouring the internet for evidence that liberal journalists cheer attacks on conservative journalists, that’s the best the Daily Caller could do.
The weakness of this evidence is particularly striking given the sheer volume of postings that appear on social media. Any partisan who trawls Twitter looking for irresponsible or mean-spirited statements from her ideological adversaries will usually find something. When I contacted the Daily Caller for an explanation, I received a statement from Ethan Barton, the managing editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation, who wrote in part, “The article points out several journalists who excused Antifa’s assault against Andy Ngo by accusing him of being an agitator, which is reminiscent of victim blaming.”
In fact, whether any of those quoted “excused” the assault is debatable. And the insinuation that these commentators represent “liberal journalists” is fanciful.
Other conservative publications did no better than the Daily Caller. “Reporters and activists pile on journalist after antifa attack,” declared the Washington Examiner. The evidence: the same quotes from Picazo, Warzel, and Bernard. The Examiner also quoted the Cosmopolitan and CNN columnist Jill Filipovic, who wrote: “This is reprehensible. I really, really hate much of what @MrAndyNgo believes. But you don’t physically attack a person because of their views.” It cited the Media Matters editor at large Parker Molloy, who made light of the attack before writing, “In seriousness, though, now that I see the actual video … yikes … wtf are people thinking?” The Examiner also cited Slate’s Aymann Ismail, who declared, “This is bad, but he’s guilty of worse,” and Charlotte Clymer from the Human Rights Campaign, who wrote, “Violence is completely wrong … but I’m also not going to pretend that this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start.”