In case anyone has been operating under the misconception that a journalist was violently assaulted by Antifa protesters in Portland on Saturday, the New York Times’ Mike Baker is here to set the record straight. Or, rather, he’s here to fill your head with enough extraneous nonsense to give those in denial about left-wing extremism and violence any number of paths to continue believing there is no problem here. His piece in Monday’s edition, “In Portland, a Punch and a Milkshake Rumor Feed a Fresh Round of Police Criticism,” reads like a release from Antifa’s public relations department. In it he essentially asserts that the journalist assaulted basically had it coming, that the incident is only of interest to conservative politicians and media outlets, that the Portland Police are in cahoots with right-wing groups, and left-wing protesters were really only interested in having a milkshake dance party.
What are we to make of protesters who show up for a demonstration clad in makeshift riot gear? That these are individuals who were just sitting at home one Saturday and decided to head downtown to protest the fascists. They’re not an organized group itching for a fight or anything. Everybody has black helmets and body armor hanging in their closet. Give credit to the NYT for running the photo of the anti-fascist fascists, but their caption reads “Multiple groups demonstrated in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday.” Not only does the NYT not identify these demonstrators as Antifa, but not once does Baker mention the group’s name in the entire piece. The only time they are identified is in a quote of Andy Ngo’s attorney.
Baker does concede that Ngo was struck by a black-clad activist, going beyond what a lot of mainstream outlets reported. Many MSM reports preferred to let it seem like the journalist was just heavily milkshaked. Amazing that the word “milkshake” is now a verb and accepted by many on the mainstream left as a perfectly acceptable thing to do to someone. Baker, however, avoids using “milkshake” as a verb in his article and instead writes that Ngo was “slimed” with “vegan coconut milkshakes”. Very considerate of him to point out that the milkshakes were vegan, in case Ngo happens to be vegan himself. It takes a little bit of the sting out of being milkshaked when you know that the projectile doesn’t contain any animal products. Although, one wonders how Baker knew that the specific milkshakes that struck Ngo were vegan coconut. Did the New York Times thoroughly fact check all those milkshakes?
Baker does seem pretty confident, however, in claiming that the milkshakes did not contain quick drying concrete. He describes as “questionable” the Portland Police warning that the milkshakes contained cement, and that this claim fueled “conservative alarm” and “dramatically fueled the furor”. Nothing to see here folks, Baker seems to be reassuring NYT readers. This is just a bunch of conservatives getting their panties all in a bunch.
Baker goes on to question Ngo’s work as a journalist, dropping hints that he and the publications he works for produce racist content. Also, he spends a couple paragraphs making the case that the Portland Police have a history of colluding with right-wing extremists. At this point, if I’m a leftist frequent reader of the New York Times even the slightest bit concerned about groups and elements at the extreme of my political ideology, I’m beginning to drift back into my comfort zone. I’m thinking, okay, this is all a manufactured crisis and Ngo is just getting what’s coming to him. After all, as Baker writes, “He (Ngo) has a history of battling with anti-fascist groups” and “has built a prominent presence in part by going into situations where there may be conflict and then publicizing the results.”
Okay, so he’s not really a journalist, he’s a right wing provocateur. Well, that explains it. Because that’s what they said about Jamal Kashoggi, right? He had a history of battling with the Saudi Royal family. And that’s what they say about correspondents in conflict zones. They’re just publicity hounds, right?
After trashing a journalist and totally discrediting the police, Mr. Baker would like Times readers to know that anti-fascist activists are just a bunch of fun-loving, peaceful party people who want to drink milkshakes and dance. While reserving a healthy amount of skepticism for the police account of the incident, Baker seems to accept on faith information gathered from the Rose City Antifa affiliated group, PopMob. According to one member of the group, they were simply “having an entertaining counterprotest building off Pride month.” And those milkshakes: “they were vegan milkshakes made not of cement, but of coconut ice cream, cashew milk and some sprinkles.” A credulous Baker barely even addresses the glaring reality that milkshakes are currently the preferred method of humiliating conservatives and right-wingers. They were clearly dispensed with the intent of hurling them at their opponents, including Mr. Ngo who was targeted with a barrage of them.
It is one thing to write a piece that avoids leaping to conclusions and reporting unverified facts. It is quite another to omit facts, engage in irrelevant personal and professional attacks, and deliberately mislead. Is Baker really so beholden to ideology and obligated to protect the left and readers of the NYT that it extends all the way to doing public relations for a group of violent thugs? Perhaps, or maybe he just wants to stay on Antifa’s good side. Hmm, wonder why?