Oh dear. It was only a matter of time – say, minutes – before somebody tried to connect the dots between Cesar Sayoc’s browsing habits and right-wing media figures. That’s exactly what Nathan Bernard, of Bernard Media, did this afternoon when he tweeted:
Cesar Sayoc has @benshapiro content on his Twitter feed. Several months ago, prosecutors discovered the Quebec City mosque shooter studied Shapiro's work obsessively before killing six people.
— Nathan Bernard (@nathanTbernard) October 26, 2018
Note the nasty ‘facts’ jibe – such wit! Shapiro, understandably, was not amused at his being accused of inspiring murders.
‘This is the height of despicable idiocy, and an obvious attempt at equating normal conservative political speech with violence by a complete hack,’ he told Cockburn. ‘Such censorious garbage deserves no further response.’
We’ve seen this before. The Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was discovered to have been a voracious reader of right-wing writers, for instance. That was a source of great glee left-liberals who want to silence opinions with which they disagree. Now Sayoc’s ‘indoctrination in hate’ will be similarly unpicked.
Shapiro was similarly robust earlier this year when Spectator USA asked him about this idea that he could be responsible for political violence.
‘I find this completely bizarre. The idea that I’ve ever called for the killing of civilians is just fully insane. Fully insane. Fully crazy. I’ve condemned every killing of a civilian ever. What in the hell are they talking about?’
What’s peculiar about Nathan Bernard in this instance – there seems to be a lot that is peculiar about Nathan Bernard – is that he calls himself a free-speech advocate. But he appears to think that even fairly mainstream opinion on the right is too dangerous. Censorious is the word. Or is he just trying to own the cons?