Robert Reich went on TV a few nights back and suggested that he’d “heard rumors” that the Berkeley rioters were actually thugs paid by Milo Yiannopoulos himself to cause the scene and set the stage for a Trump plot to defund American universities. He doubled down with this preposterous thesis in Newsweek:
Which raises the possibility that Yiannopoulos and Brietbart were in cahoots with the agitators, in order to lay the groundwork for a Trump crackdown on universities and their federal funding.
Thursday night on CNN, I said “I wouldn’t bet against” that possibility. …
I don’t want to add to the conspiratorial musings of so many about this very conspiratorial administration, but it strikes me there may be something worrying going on here.
Paul Cassell at the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy finds this totally laughable:
So let’s see: Yiannopoulos, who is an outsider to Berkeley and generally unwelcome there, succeeds in secretly arranging for more than 100 thugs to assemble in this city and then invade the Berkeley campus and cause more than $100,000 in damage, all to create a pretextual motive for Trump to alter federal funding for the UC system. And Yiannopoulos manages to do this without a single one of the thugs spilling the beans and tipping off the fact that this violent criminal conspiracy is organized by Yiannopoulos, not his opponents.
To even describe the plot is to make clear how phantasmagorical the whole idea is. Occam’s razor applies here. Or, as medical students are taught, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. There is no way Yiannopoulos organized these protests, subjecting himself to serious criminal liability and placing the fate of his career on the sealed lips of more than 100 conspirators. Instead, the simplest explanation is the correct one: The persons responsible are left-wing anarchists, as the New York Times (among others) has described in this recent article.
If Reich keeps this up, he’ll have to go stag to the White House Correspondents Dinner. Get it? Reich-stag? (Boy am I on fire today.)
P.S. Should I be worried that this is what happens to you if you hang around Berkeley too long?