How a Right-Wing Troll Managed to Manipulate the Mainstream Media - 2019-09-03
There's a folksy saying that grandparents of all stripes like to dispense: If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, then you shouldn't be surprised when it starts quacking. Another, perhaps less folksy version of this idiom is Occam's Razor, the theory that the simplest explanation for an event or phenomenon is usually the most likely.
Nowhere was this demonstrated more quickly than in the case of the meteoric rise and equally rapid fall of Andy Ngo, the provocateur and social media personality who garnered nationwide sympathy last June, when he tweeted that he was attacked by antifascist protesters at a Proud Boys rally. Last week, the local newspaper the Portland Mercury reported that a left-wing activist going undercover as a member of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group known for promoting and engaging in violent clashes with leftist activists, had given the publication an 18-minute video that included footage of Ngo with a group of Patriot Prayer members as the members discuss an upcoming brawl, including weaponry to be used in altercations with antifa. Ngo, who describes himself as a journalist, did not record the conversation, and does not appear to have his camera or notebook out. For part of the footage, he is seen on his phone.
The source told the Mercury that Ngo and Patriot Prayer have an "understanding" that the group offers him protection when he covers rallies in exchange for favorable coverage. While this has not been confirmed, and Ngo strongly denies these allegations, an audio conversation between members of the Proud Boys, released by Willamette Week seemed to confirm that such discussions between Ngo and the Proud Boys had occurred, as one man is recorded saying that Ngo was attacked on June 29th because he refused an offer of protection. "Andy Ngo was fucking told that if he wanted protection from the PBs [Proud Boys], he went in with us and he went out with us," the man says.