Below is a clip of one of the most expertly done examples of persuasion I have yet seen. Australian TV channel 10 interviews Milo Yiannopoulos live in preparation for his Australian tour. There is an interesting panel: a mainstream female anchor, a male anchor, an older woman, and a feminist with the sides of her head shaved who I think is named Jess.
I’ll post some of the techniques in the next post so as you watch the clip and read the transcript now, what persuasion techniques can you identify?
1st pass: Identify the use of Cialdini’s principles and pre-suasion
2nd pass: Identify reframes (higher ground, changing chunk size, etc.)
3rd pass: Watch the clip and pay attention to Milo’s tone of voice and hand movements. What patterns can you detect?
Anchor: Who is Milo Yiannopoulos and what exactly does he stand for? Well we are going to ask the man himself because he joins us now from New York City this morning. Milo Yianopolous! Welcome to Studio 10.
Milo: Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you for having me.
Anchor: Well you have … your critics call you antisemitic, homosexual hating, white supremacist… yet you have publicly said that you are a proud gay man, you have Jewish heritage, and you just recently married your black boyfriend. Congratulations, by the way!
Milo: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Anchor: Lots of people want to label you, so tell us: what does Milo stand for?
Milo: Well I’m a free speech activist so sometimes I say outrageous and controversial things. Sometimes I’m a jokester and a trickster and a Loki-esque figure. The political left, the, you know, the feminists and the social justice warriors and the leftist journalists don’t like me very much and call me a variety of names because they find me difficult to categorize. They don’t understand how a gay guy could have these opinions, or whatever. I don’t fit, really fit into any box, so I represent sort of a threat to them because I’m persuasive and charismatic and I have a huge fan base. They just really don’t know how to deal with that.
Older Female Panelist: Oh, very modest as well, darling!
Milo: Also, very humble. (laughter)
Shaved Head Feminist: Ah, because, Milo, I’m a feminist, and I’m proud to be a feminist, and a lot of what you say …
Milo: That’s ok, I’m sure they’ll cure you soon.
Milo: There’s chemotherapy for that now.
SHF: No no no what, I suppose, of course everyone is entitled to a view, and to free speech, but the issue that I have with you, and I suppose a number of critics have with you, is that you just seem to stir up hate for the sake of it because you want to get a reaction, because you want to provoke, and then you don’t seem to take the consequences for that.
Milo: I don’t think it’s fair to say that I stir up hate. I mean, most people would admit, I think, if they’re being fair and reasonable, it’s very difficult to describe yourself as “not a feminist” if you’re in public life and that’s an enforcement of a particular political orthodoxy that is not shared by the majority of the public. I mean, very few women describe themselves as feminist. Fewer than 1 in 5 in America. Just 7% in England. I’m sure the numbers for Australia, being a very sensitive, ah a very sensible country, are about the same. You know, these ideas that are being enforced in popular culture and on TV are not views reflected in the public, and the gap between the media and the people at home is growing all the time. That’s my insight and what I seek to expose and ridicule and have fun with. Um, it’s perfectly fine if you’re a feminist – my problem isn’t that. My problem is you, not you personally, but my problem is with those feminists who require in public for us all to say we are too, when we might not be. We might think that feminism has run its course and had its day, you know. I’m not particularly interested, um, in anybody else’s specific positions. What I’m interested in is an open marketplace of ideas. You know, a fair, open system where everybody can express themselves without fear of censure. Without fear of professional disaster or fear of social peril just because they cracked the wrong joke on Twitter. Or because they used, you know, the wrong language at work.
Anchor: Can I just interrupt for a second Milo because just picking up what Jess says is you do throw these social hand grenades out there and you say things like “feminism is cancer.” But if you drill down past the headlines and read some of your work – I’ve read your book, I’ve listened to a number of your podcasts – you do make some fair points. But do you think this kind of outrageous schtick that you have is hurting you and turning people off listening to you?
Milo: No, I think the opposite’s happening I mean millions of people on Facebook, a sold-out tour – by the way Sydney is completely sold out. Now we’re adding a new day on the 30th of November – very obviously the opposite is true. There is a huge appetite for someobody who doesn’t mind thumbing their nose and sticking their tongue out and pointing their middle finger up at the scolds and the nannies and the people who want to tell us how to live. For years, Conservatives
SHF: But Milo, you do more than stick your tongue out. I mean, because of the sorts of things you’ve written, along the lines of “Islam is a cancer,” “feminism is a cancer,” you rally…
Milo: I never wrote that actually. That was an invention by journalists. The feminism is true.
SHF: You rally your followers for hate campaigns. There was Leslie Jones, who was in Ghostbusters
Milo: Well what do you mean by “hate campaigns?” I mean, this was invented by the media.
SHF: Well, all the… it was not invented.
Milo: I wrote a review of Ghostbusters… I don’t want to get into the little details but
SHF: But no that isn’t a “little detail”
Milo: I wrote a review of Ghostbusters that defended her.
SHF: It isn’t a little…
Milo: No, no, the “little detail” is that actually, actually I wrote a review of Ghostbusters that defended her. Then, some people said some mean things about her and I was blamed. Well we don’t blame Beyonce when her fans say mean things to Taylor Swift. We don’t blame Justin Bieber when his followers
SHF: But wait a minute. They were your followers. They were your followers who said incredibly racist things
Milo: Says who? Says who?
Milo: Some mean people… and I went on CNN and I said it was horrible. I said it was terrible. But I’m not responsible for what they say. I’m responsible for what I say.
SHF: So then why don’t you take more of a consequence of what you say. Because I think there is so much hate in the world and you seem to think it’s funny. You seem to sort of think it’s…
Milo: Mmm-hmm. Oh I do think it… Oh no no no … Well, most of what’s characterized as “hate” and “abuse” and “harassment” – this is all a sort of hysterical drumming, it’s like a moral panic by the media.
SHF: How is it a moral panic?
Milo: The reality is, some people in power don’t like jokes being made about them and I’m perfectly happy to tell jokes about powerful people because they can take it. I don’t tell jokes about ordinary private citizens. I don’t ruin the lives of private citizens like journalists do.
SHF: Well, I think there are people who would take issue with that.
Milo: Gawker’s journalists who destroyed that woman Justine Sacco because she told the wrong joke. I tell jokes about people in power. I tell jokes about politicians, celebrities, journalists, university professors. I tell jokes about people in positions of huge institutional power who can take it. I punch up, not down. Um, you know, and I tell jokes that a lot of people find funny and are amusing and now the actions of a small
SHF: But do you punch up? Because the point is what you do is that because you continue this hate, it then encourages other people to think, you know what this is alright to have a steps-on mentality…
Milo: You keep calling it hate. I think… I think you are over-egging the pudding. Keeping cause… you know a gay man who tells a few waspish jokes …
SHF: Over-egging the pudding when women have threats of rape made against them on Twitter. You think that’s “over-egging the pudding,” do you?
Milo: Well, you’re implying that I’m responsible for rape threats now on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
Male Panelist: I don’t think Milo actually said any of those things you’re talking about. People who follow him.
Milo: Why do you think I’m responsible? I think you might be misled by new reports. I think I’m probably the most lied about person in America if not in the world. I think, and I sincerely believe that you are being straight up with me and are conducting the interview with integrity but I think that you’ve been misled by inaccurate press reports about what I have personally, actually done. And very often you’ll find – because I’m in the midst of these culture wars in America which are very bloody and very dirty, full of name calling and false accusations, right the way up to the Washington Post – I think that’ you’ve been misled. If you could give me a specific instance of something…
SHF: Why do you call Donald Trump “daddy.”
Milo: Let me just finish my point and then I’ll tell you why I call him Daddy. If you can think of a specific instance in which I have ever said anything that has directly given rise to rape threats against some woman please tell me because I don’t know what it is. What I do is crack jokes about celebrities.
SHF: Well, Leslie Jones would say that you have. And you were taken off Twitter.
Milo: No no no let me tell you: Leslie Jones – not to get too much into this because I’ve been over it so many times – but Leslie Jones was responsible for targeted harassment on that platform. I wasn’t. Leslie Jones was retweeting all kinds of stuff about me. I barely mentioned her except to crack a joke about her looks which I’m entitled to do. If I can’t comment about a celebrity being ugly then literally the roof is going to come down and the First Amendment is dead. Um, you know.
SHF: Yeah, but you got to take some consequence for it and all this stuff you did with Gamergate
Milo: You know, well, I do, I accept responsibility for my own actions. And you can throw out names like Gamergate which your viewers are not going to understand but the reality is I took the side of what I considered to be consumers over the establishment. The consumers, actual video gamers, who were worried about their art form being poisoned by social justice just like social justice has ruined comic books, ruined Hollywood, ruined the Academy, ruined journalism, and everybody agrees with this. 65% of people in America think the press routinely makes stuff up. Why? Politics. The Left. And we didn’t want that same thing to happen to video games so we resisted it and for our trouble we were called all manner of terrible things and accused of things we did not do.
SHF: ‘Cause you trolled women, that’s why.
Older Female Panelist: Can I just ask a question?
Milo: All kinds of things get thrown… did I troll women? You seem to be, you are accusing me of things I never did. I’m responsible for what *I* do. I’m much more interested, by the way, in your question about Daddy Donald Trump. I called him that because I think it sort of annoys everybody, but also because it reflected the role that Donald Trump was playing in Culture and society at the time. He was one of those people who kind of slightly made you cringe sometimes, made you a little embarrassed sometimes, but was basically right, basically had your interests at heart, and if you stuck by him you knew he was going to look after you in the end. I found that a lot of female voters, who you might not have imaged would vote for Trump, perhaps because of his locker room talk or whatever, were voting for him anyway and they loved him. Why? Because he was this strong, masculine figure who projected strength and maybe a little machismo. Versus the previous president who was you know limp-wristed and useless and never, never inspired her. There were no women fainting in the aisles or, you know, light-headed on the chaise-longue for Obama towards the end. But there were for Trump and I found it fascinating. and I so anyway I called him Daddy and it annoyed the left and the right which is exactly where I live. If both sides are upset with me, that’s what I want. I want the conservatives and liberals mad with me, then I know that I’m probably OK.
Older Female Panelist: I just want to… Are you the subject of fake news then?
Milo: Of course! Of course. I mean any conservative in public life is going to be routinely, you know, lied about, demeaned, ridiculed… Look at how hard they’ve come at me. They’ve called called me a pedophile apologist when actually, I’m the victim of it. They’ve called me a neo-nazi and a white supremacist when actually, white supremacists and neo-nazis hate me the Daily Stormer which is the biggest white supremacist blog in the world declared a holy crusade against me. No one reported that. They threatened to boycott where I worked until where I worked fired me. Nobody reported that. The fact is the far left and the far right both hate me equally but it’s only the left that gets reported and that consistently because I’m effective – get smeared as far right. When somebody calls me far right what they actually mean is I’m right-wing a really good at my job. I’m right wing and I’m persuasive. And this far-right label is something the media does to attempt to suggest that I’m beyond the pale and not fit for public consumption. Well guess what? I am and millions of people agree. My book, despite no mainstream media interviews, despite no reviews in the mainstream press, was on the New York Times bestseller list for 5 weeks. You don’t get that by being some crazy hateful crank. You get that by telling jokes and telling the truth that ordinary people want to hear and by speaking truth to power. All of my readers understand it because they actually read what I say instead of reading what people say about me. And all of my viewers and my fans and the people who come to my shows get it because they actually listen to me instead of what left-wing journalists say about me.
Male panelist: I certainly understand Milo. And when you speak, you know, you’re often very funny, often very witty,
Milo: Thank you
Male panelist: …and a lot of what you say is often very interesting. I remember listening to a speech you gave at one of the universities where you talked about you know the origins of religion and the role of marriage in protecting women’s rights, making it about consent, and I love history and I thought that was very interesting. And I think you made a lot of good and unfashionable points. And then it sort of veered off into something along the lines of, and you know, aren’t all feminists ugly or something like that. I just kind of wondered if, I mean, have you become now a sort of captive of some of these, a bunch of followers or a sort of mob that wants to cheer and shout when you say things like that but actually doesn’t get you?
Male Panelist: I mean I kind of get the feeling that Donald Trump wouldn’t actually get you. He wouldn’t actually understand half the jokes you’re making.
Milo: Well, daddy never gets… the daddies never get their children but um no, I don’t think that’s true. I think that what I do is weave highbrow and lowbrow. In my columns you’ll see, you know, low-rent jokes and you’re like, “ugh, that was low-hanging fruit” or “uuuh, do you have to be so mean?” It was like News Flash: gay guys can be catty. I try to blend low culture with theology, with history, with sociology, with science. So you come to one of my talks, you know I did, I talked about how fabulous Christmas was, which I think is the one you are referring to. I was talking in theological terms about how the church invented marriage as a way of protecting women…
Male Panelist: Yep. Yep.
Milo: …and how that comes from, you know, catholic tradition and all the rest of it. My talk “10 Things I hate About Islam,” which was obviously provocatively titled, then went into the theological differences between Christianity and Islam. The conception of God being different, you know how to practice faith. I try to blend lowbrow and highbrow. It’s very unnerving to people. They don’t know how to deal with it and it’s very threatening.
Male Panelist: I don’t want to interrupt right now but you make a lot of good points about the censoriousness of the left and the outrageous things that’s happening on US campuses now where they are just shutting down debate and banning people and calling anyone they disagree with a fascist.
Milo: All true.
Male Panelist: But I guess it sort of gets undermined when you unleash these kind of primal forces that we’re seeing in politics now on the extremes.
Milo: No no, but it’s only journalists. It’s only journalists who think that my position on this is undermined by my language here. Everybody else loves it. It’s only journalists because they’re so “earnest” and “high-minded” and stuffy and pompous. No offense I’m not talking about you but other journalists who say this stuff, you know.
Male Panelist: No no, that’s all right
Milo: We’re just getting to know one another so I don’t know what you think, but other journalists who say this stuff you know they give <pompous fake voice> “Oh, lurra lurra couldn’t possibly use this language hurra lurra lurra.” Give me a break! If I want to say that feminists are fat and ugly, which, by the way, most of them are, then I will.
SHF: No they are not! They are not! That’s… <frustrated sigh>
Male Panelist: <sharp intake of breath> Heh heh heh! Here we go…
Milo: If I were to say at the same time, you know, if I want to make a complex historical point about the different emergences of strands of feminism, if I want to talk about the virtues, you know, of equity feminism versus whatever, I can be both and I can do both and you know what it shows, when people are upset about those two things, it shows that there is a double standard at work. You are perfectly happy for Jon Stewart, for Bill Maher, for Stephen Colbert to blend highbrow and lowbrow, to be both comedians and cultural commentators, to be clowns and historians. You’re perfectly happy when a left-winger does it. But for some reason, now I’ve arrived, I’m the first person on the right ever to do it and suddenly people are like “Wait! You’re not supposed to do that. Conservatives aren’t supposed to behave like this. Wait – you can’t be real and funny and dangerous and also a bit offensive and be able to talk about Nietzsche and Sartre and Heidegger and Descartes! What is going on here?” Well, I’m sorry but this is a double standard. We’ve had it for decades on the left. Well, now you have it on the right. Welcome to the new era. If people don’t like it and people can’t cope with my blend of elevated discourse as well as low-rent cattiness, that merely demonstrates their own hypocrisy. The fact is most people love what I do. They come to my shows in droves which is why we’re sold out in Sydney. I’m looking forward to selling tens of thousands of copies of my book when it goes on sale November 2nd in Australia. And I can’t wait to explore the country because Australia is I think my number 3 place for fans. Millions of Australians watch my stuff. They come to read my columns and watch my videos. I think Australia need saving from their own media.
Male Panelist: laughs
Anchor: Alllllll right. Well Penthouse Australia is bringing Milo Yiannopoulos on his Troll Academy Tour to Adelaide Perth Melbourne Sydney and the Gold Coast from November. You can get all the details from Milolive.com.au
Milo: Thank you
Anchor: <to SHF:> You’ll need a little lie-down after that interview. Milo thank you so much.
Milo: Thank you so much. [applause]