Milo's travails show how quickly fortunes can change in 2017 media
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Milo Yiannopoulous personifies the meaning of the term “clickbait” in 2017. The 32-year-old Breitbart editor knows how to push buttons and stand out from the crowd, which is quite an accomplishment given how many attention-starved media members and pundits that exist in the cable news/political media world alone.

In terms of cultural/political commentators that don't reside in traditional media, there hasn't been anything like Yiannopoulous in terms of the ability to evoke/provoke reaction since Lena Dunham, who attracts media attention with almost every tweet, every thought, despite how despicable the comment may be.

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Dunham is the perfect example of why a Milo could draw so much media attention just for being a provocateur.

 

“I shared a bed with my (much younger sister), Grace, until I was seventeen years old. She was afraid to sleep alone and would begin asking me around 5:00 P.M. every day whether she could sleep with me," Dunham wrote in her 2014 book, "Not That Kind of Girl.”

"I put on a big show of saying no, taking pleasure in watching her beg and sulk, but eventually I always relented," Dunham continued. "Her sticky, muscly little body thrashed beside me every night as I read Anne Sexton, watched reruns of SNL, sometimes even as I slipped my hand into my underwear to figure some stuff out."

Dunham received almost no backlash for sharing that story. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina MORE even granted her an interview not long after as the New York Times continued to give her glowing press.

But now, after Yiannopoulous made comments that almost certainly advocate pedophilia, he's falling at breakneck speed. Controversial comments can temporarily sidetrack one's path upward, of course. But pedophilia is a no-go zone where there are zero defenders and carried a stench that cannot not be washed away.

“In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents,” Yiannopoulous said in the damning video.

Think about where Milo — a Breitbart editor but likely for not much longer — was on Saturday morning: He had just completed an interview with the aforementioned Maher that drew major headlines and made major waves in the media world. The openly gay Christian had just been invited to speak at CPAC. Simon & Schuster was set to publish his first book. And it would have sold very, very well.

A television hosting gig was likely next on the horizon somewhere outside of the usual outlets. He is a 2017's producer's dream: He's fearless (which obviously has its pitfalls when a filter isn't present). He knows how to articulate a point and appear authentic in doing so. And he knows how to resonate, a challenge for 85 percent of the pundits you see on cable news. most importantly, he — like a Bill Maher — knows the value of being staunchly politically incorrect in an increasingly politically correct world.

"I met with top execs at Simon & Schuster earlier in the year and spent half an hour trying to shock them with lewd jokes and outrageous opinions,” Yiannopoulos said to The Hollywood Reporter in December. “I thought they were going to have me escorted from the building. But instead they offered me a wheelbarrow full of money.”

That wheelbarrow consisted of a $250,000 advance alone.

But as we have increasingly seen illustrated by subscription numbers for the New York Times, Washington Post and even Vanity Fair, being anti-Trump is very good for business.

CBS' Stephen Colbert is the best example. Pre-Trump before he was a candidate, Colbert struggled mightily, mostly sitting in third place behind the Jimmys in late night (Kimmel and Fallon).

The challenge for the one-dimensional Colbert was the lack of a foil to play off. Then along came Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE. Colbert is now #1, even beating the once unbeatable (and apolitical) Fallon on NBC.

Yiannopoulos had an opportunity to play counterweight to all of that with little competition to get in his way. And to stop the usual slings and arrows from ever making a dent along the way, he branded himself that protected him from the left.

Being gay means he can't be a homophobe.

Being "half-Jewish" (he says he is) means he can't be anti-Semitic.

Preferring black men as sexual partners means he can't be racist.

CPAC organizers saw Milo not so much as a voice of conservatism as much as a voice against political correctness that would attract major eyeballs to its conference.

"Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation of Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference," wrote Matt Schlapp, head of the American Conservative Union.

"We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient. It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments."

So CPAC is gone. The book deal is gone. The interviews from traditional outlets like the one he had on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" recently won't be coming back anytime soon.

There are very few lines left to be crossed in the hilariously hyperbolic, pathetically provocative media world where seemingly almost everyone's goal is to make themselves the story.

Yiannopoulos crossed that line.

Question is: Can he come back from this?

Stranger things have happened. And controversial comments from a Milo Yiannopoulos will always draw an audience because that's just the way it is in our food-fight obsessed culture, regardless of who the messenger is.

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.