Media Matters will tend to take old, forgotten (or never-remembered) words spoken by conservative public figures and then elevate those words for punitive purposes. On campus, the conservative pattern is to take words (old or new) by obscure speakers and then elevate both the words and the speakers to punish the professor and embarrass the university. Who really cares what an English professor at Davis thinks about police violence? Who really cares about what a random Fresno State teacher thinks about Barbara Bush? No one does. Not really. They have no meaningful impact on any public debate.

I’ll repeat again what I said last year — if you truly hate the offensive speech in question — if you truly believe it’s hurtful — why share it far and wide? Why amplify the offensive voice? Arguably, the worst rebuke for a troll, the worst punishment for the self-promoting radical, is indifference. That said, there are times when we do have to engage. When encountering hateful speakers and malicious ideas, I ask a few questions. Are these ideas gaining traction? Do they threaten to make a material difference in the marketplace of ideas? If the answer is yes, then I engage — with better ideas. If the answer is no, I let the offensive speech die a natural death.