- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Andy Ngo may be a gay, Asian-American journalist, but the only aspect of his identity that seems to matter to many on the left is his conservative political bent.

His supporters say that explains why many liberal political and media figures have dismissed, ignored or even blamed Mr. Ngo for the attack by white left-wing antifa rioters at Saturday’s protest in Portland that left him with facial cuts, bruises and a brain hemorrhage.

Flip the political beliefs of Mr. Ngo and the activists who pummeled him, and there’s little doubt that leading Democrats and gay-rights groups would be on their feet, blasting the right-wing thugs who beat him up and demanding hate-crimes prosecutions, said Charles Moran, spokesman for the conservative gay-rights group Log Cabin Republicans.

“If this had been a Democratic gay person of color and journalist who had gotten attacked at some sort of right-wing or conservative conference, they’d be all over this,” Mr. Moran said. “They’d be calling for an investigation. There would be that outrage. And in this situation, there’s not.”

Most major gay-rights groups have been mum on the antifa attack, but Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer said Sunday that Mr. Ngo was a “sniveling weasel” who was asking for it by deliberately provoking leftist protesters.

“Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend that this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start,” tweeted Ms. Clymer, adding that it was the “greatest thing that could happen to his career.”

Mr. Moran called such reactions par for the course.

“They only call it hate speech if it’s speech they hate,” the Log Cabin spokesman said.

“If it fits their narrative of being a victim, that’s when they call it out. But if it’s on the other side, ‘well, they just deserved it, because they’re a gay conservative,’” he said.

The story of a gay journalist being attacked by a white mob also failed to gain traction with the mainstream media.

The Post Millennial’s Anna Slatz assembled a list of a dozen progressive “blue check journalists” who took the opportunity to slam Mr. Ngo, including Middle East Eye columnist C.J. Werleman, who first tweeted Mr. Ngo had “participated in white supremacist violence” before amending it to say, “participated in rallies where white supremacist violence took place.”

Slate’s Aymann Ismail tweeted Mr. Ngo had “helped create an atmosphere of violence,” adding, “This is bad, but he’s guilty of worse.” HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias, who covers “the far right, disinformation and hate,” said Mr. Ngo’s “‘work’ supports violence.”

“I don’t know the details of what happened in Portland,” tweeted Pacific Standard’s Noah Berlatsky. “But calling Andy Ngo a journalist is inaccurate. Doing so gives fascists a propaganda victory.”

After Mr. Ngo, an editor at Quillette, tweeted Monday a photo of a suspected assailant, former Snopes editor Brooke Binkowski tweeted, “Wow you really have recovered miraculously from that traumatic brain injury! Congratulations, Andy!”

New York Times writer Charles Warzel declared that “violence is unacceptable,” but added “there are also serious risks involved with putting yourself in volatile situations. Any journalist should know that.”

In a staff editorial, Quillette slammed journalists who responded with “either snarky dissembling or outright celebration.”

Part of the problem is that many of the journalists who cover antifa most often “have turned their outlets into pro-Antifa propaganda organs,” according to the Sunday editorial.

“These are the same people who would (rightly) respond with howls of outrage if a journalist were assaulted by right-wing protestors,” Quillette wrote. “And it is appalling that anyone in our industry would excuse violence against a journalist on the basis of political orientation.”

Journalists who immediately condemned the attack include CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter, although CNN itself drew a thumbs-down from the conservative Media Research Center for emphasizing in a Tuesday report that Mr. Ngo only “said” he was assaulted.

The headline on the CNN website — “Conservative journalist blames Antifa for rally attack” — also drew double-takes, given that it was obvious on video posted by the Oregonian that Mr. Ngo was being attacked by black-clad protesters who had covered their faces, the signature antifa look.

“First off, anyone with two eyes can see clearly what happened, it’s not a matter of he said or she said,” said the MRC’s Kristine Marsh. “Second, why the ‘conservative’ qualifier? Would CNN have called Ngo a ‘liberal’ journalist who ‘says’ he was attacked, if this had happened at a Trump rally?”

Still, CNN received credit for covering the story at all — CBS, NBC and MSNBC had not as of Tuesday morning, while ABC gave 17 seconds to the attack. The New York Times weighed in Tuesday with a story, “What is Antifa? Explaining the Movement to Confront the Far Right,” that mentioned Mr. Ngo once.

The story received coverage almost exclusively in Oregon and national media outlets with a conservative bent.

“The liberal media has been largely been unwilling to cover the attack on a fellow journalist,” noted Joseph Chalfant, an MRC contributor.

Then again, the mainstream media mentions were positively effusive next to those of Democratic politicians.

As of Tuesday, only two of the two dozen Democratic presidential primary contenders — Andrew Yang and Eric Swalwell, both of whom are bringing up the rear — had condemned the attack.

“I don’t agree with much of what @MrAndyNgo ever says. But that’s not the point,” Mr. Swalwell tweeted Tuesday. “He should not be harmed for his views and his attackers should be prosecuted.”

Said Mr. Yang on Monday: “I hope @MrAndyNgo is okay. Journalists should be safe to report on a protest without being targeted.”

Neither mentioned the antifa, or “anti-fascist,” protesters seen pummeling and throwing milkshake and eggs at Mr. Ngo as he tried to walk away from the crowd. Portland police later said the milkshakes were believed to be mixed with quick-drying cement, pointing to a recipe distributed before the demonstration.

Mr. Ngo was filming a protest organized by the Portland Democratic Socialists of America, Rose City Antifa and Pop Mob when he was attacked. He said his GoPro was stolen by his assailants. Portland police said the protest resulted in three arrests and “multiple assaults.”

In a Monday interview with Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, Mr. Ngo, described by Quillette as an “elfin, soft-spoken man,” said that before Saturday’s melee, he had never before been in a fight.

“While hearing people chant ‘No hate, no fear,’ I am suddenly bashed on the back of my head. From behind,” Mr. Ngo said. “And from there, I am a very passive person, I have never been in a fight, it took me a few seconds to realize that I was actually even hit in my head. When I realized what was happening, it was too late.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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