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It chastened the media — until it didn’t — and kneecapped movements at Duke and elsewhere to address issues of racism, sexism, and classism.
It not only launched Spencer’s career, but that of White House adviser Stephen Miller, too.
Much of the Duke community, including 88 professors who signed a statement calling the situation a “social disaster,” declared this was merely the latest and most egregious example of the racist, sexist, and privileged behavior that permeated the elite campus.
It has become a touchstone for many on the far right, who have cited it to defend everyone from George Zimmerman to Donald Trump.
“If you don’t, I will.” He took issue with the lack of due process in the case — the prosecutor was later disbarred — but his emerging priorities seemed to be influenced most by the reaction of Duke’s faculty and people in the town of Durham, North Carolina, and he spent most of his time targeting “the chants and screams of the Duke-and-Durham-Left who sprang into action as soon as it became clear that the alleged victim’s story could be used to propagate their destructive black-versus-white worldview.” Miller’s columns made him a sought-after guest for cable-news bookers desperate for a conservative campus voice. “My sense of Stephen then — and there’s certainly nothing that’s changed my mind — is that criticism from what he would see as politically correct elements was not going to dissuade him from speaking up.” Compared to other Duke students who appeared on TV, Miller delivered his arguments forcefully and coherently and withstood criticism. Miller was a “true believer,” as Kevin Miller (no relation), a local reporter who often appeared alongside him, told me.
At one point, he appeared during prime time five nights in a single week, and regularly went on Nancy Grace’s show, where he displayed no fear of getting into fights. “He might as well have been one of the lacrosse players,” he said.
They knew most of the speakers — an economics professor, an editor at the Washington, a men’s-rights blogger — but their talks were so boilerplate that neither Mc Connell nor Dougherty could recall much about them. “Scott and I both thought, Here’s a young guy, he presents himself well, and his talk was the most interesting of the night,” Dougherty said recently.
“God, I hate to think that we were part of creating this.” Richard Spencer, the fourth speaker, is now America’s most famous self-identified white nationalist.