Newsweek have published a conspiracy theory written by UC Berkeley’s Professor of Public Policy and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, questioning whether the anti-MILO rioters at Berkeley last week were paid by Breitbart News.
“Thursday night, Yiannopoulos had a friendly interview on Fox News’s ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ – a show that, according to the Washington Post, has ridden anger at left-wing activism into best-in-class prime time ratings,” wrote Reich on Saturday. “Yiannopoulos wasn’t asked about the content of the speech that was shut down. The conversation focused instead on how Berkeley proved the point that the Left was ceding its right to federal grants by cracking down on free speech. 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.”
After repeatedly misspelling “Breitbart,” Reich then asked his readers to “connect these dots,” in typical conspiracy theory form, before adding “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.”
Reich, who works directly for the college administration at Berkeley, has repeatedly floated this conspiracy theory since the riot last week. He first suggested it in a CNN segment with host Don Lemon.
In addition to not shutting down Reich when he made his baseless allegation, CNN’s Lemon egged him on from the start, opening his segment by saying that the violence at Berkeley “played right into the hands of the right-wing, white supremacist … someone like Milo Yiannopoulos.”
Then, instead of challenging Reich’s allegations, Lemon asked him to expand on them. “You think this was a strategy by Yiannopoulos or right-wingers? They put this on in an effort to show that there’s no free speech on a college campus like UC Berkeley?”
Reich went on to say that he “wouldn’t bet against it.”
“Despite admitting explicitly that the claim was not based on facts, Reich charged ahead in claiming that Breitbart News had an affiliation with the violent rioters that lit fires around campus and beat and pepper sprayed the MILO supporters who were waiting to get into the venue,” reported Breitbart News’ Tom Ciccotta last week, after Reich initially pitched the conspiracy.
Rush Limbaugh also mocked Reich’s claims on his own show.
The riot started at UC Berkeley on Wednesday after protesters against Breitbart Senior Editor MILO became increasingly violent outside of his show.
Despite the large amount of violence, numerous reports indicate that police officers refused to intervene, and only one suspect was arrested.
On Sunday, Breitbart News reported that one of the groups behind the riot, Refuse Fascism, had received $50,000 from a group backed by socialist billionaire George Soros.