- - Monday, February 24, 2020

The other day a “conservative activist” was mobbed at Ohio University and everyone involved is in the wrong, but no one will tell you that.

I didn’t know Kaitlin Bennett’s name before Tuesday morning, I had only known her as the girl who had caused a controversy by having an AR-15 in her Kent State graduation photo. Predictably since then, her career took the turn of a thirst-trap Instagram account where she tries to look saucy in American flag bikinis and camouflage while holding various other guns. God bless her, she’s making money, but that gimmick can only stretch so far. She, or whoever is coaching her, had to come up with another gimmick to keep the cash flow coming — and they did — harassing liberal college students — and it worked better than they could ever have imagined.

Ms. Bennett and her camera crews have become known for walking up to the most liberal looking (yes, you can pick them out of a crowd) students on liberal college campuses and asking questions that they know would trigger them — and it’s worked with great success.

“But she gets hated most of the time on the Internet for these videos,” you may be thinking — and you’re right. But clicks are clicks; comments are comments; and all of those metrics add up to great sums of money.

With videos of her both “owning the libs” and “being owned by the libs,” equally going viral, Ms. Bennett has developed an incredibly profitable gimmick. 

Don’t believe me, just watch any episode of professional wrestling and you’ll eventually see a “heel” or bad guy character insult the audience. Whatever town they’re in, they’ll insult the local sports team and call the crowd stupid to get what’s called “cheap heat,” or the booing you really don’t have to work hard for. That’s Ms. Bennett’s entire character, show up to a college, stick microphones in the faces of people who clearly don’t agree with her and ask a question they clearly don’t agree with. She knows it’ll get them angry and she knows it’ll get her clicks. The problem is, that these college students always fall for it … and there was no greater example than what she just pulled off, with their help, at Ohio University.

Ms. Bennett, like a basic pro-wrestling bad guy, announced her arrival with a braggadocios entrance — showing up in what appeared to be the largest bright orange pickup truck on the face of the planet. She didn’t want to go deep undercover for her interviews — she wanted to be seen — she wanted to trigger the students — and she did.  

Fortunately for her and whoever is behind her business, the leftist college mob didn’t disappoint. They took the bait hook, line and sinker — more so than ever before — and the mob was so overwhelming that the videos made national news. Mission accomplished. Twitter instapundits lined up on either side of the issue, spouting her name and pointing fingers at both sides. Ms. Bennett, once known for pictures with guns, is now the ultimate martyr to some and the ultimate villain to others.

The organization she’s associated with, Liberty Hangout, took to Twitter to fan the flames more — comparing her martyrdom to Jesus and Casey Anthony — no I’m not making that up. They’ll say anything for the extra cheap heat from the crowd that already hates her. After all, clicks are clicks, people.

Defenders of Ms. Bennett will say that this is a free speech on college campus issue, but this isn’t someone standing up for free speech — it’s someone capitalizing on how easy it is to trigger liberals in 2020 — and liberals being too stupid to realize they’re being played. 

Defenders of the liberal mob will also say that this is a free speech on college campus issue, but they aren’t standing up for free speech either, they’re encouraging mob rule to silence their opposition — no matter how basic.

If the liberal mob really wanted Ms. Bennett to go away, they would just avoid and ignore her, rendering her videos unwatchably boring instead of entertaining car wrecks. But they don’t want that. They, like pro-wrestling fans, want to be entertained by a basic bad guy that knows how to touch on everything that triggers them — giving them someone to jeer at and hate.

Both sides of this issue have a First Amendment right to yell at each other all they want and be entertained — and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Both sides also have a right to play each other, dress up in bikinis with guns, make money off of each other, and look stupid — and I’d love to proudly say that that’s what makes America great — but I’ll just end with a shrug, an eyeroll and a less than half-hearted, ‘yay … free speech or something.’

• Tim Young is a political comedian and author of “I Hate Democrats/I Hate Republicans” (Post Hill Press).

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