BEN SHAPIRO CAN'T SAVE THE GOP
There's a limit to how blissful ignorance can be.
Let’s talk about Ben Shapiro. Right now, there’s a power vacuum in the conservative pundit world. Previous regular staples like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are quickly and thankfully fading into irrelevance. Milo Yiannopoulos looked to be the right’s new darling for much of this year, until we figured out that he was cozy with white supremacy, bad at putting on events, and that his trollish fans are full of shit, just like the assclown they follow. (Pssst, I basically called this before anyone else. Don’t sleep.)
But Ben Shapiro has gradually built his own media empire. Like Milo, he’s a Breitbart alum, but while Milo was ousted from the publication earlier this year after we found out about the whole pedophilia thing, Shapiro left after receiving a torrent of viciously anti-semitic hate-mail from Trump supporters. Shapiro wasn’t shy of critiquing Trump — at least from a Breitbart perspective.
Ben Shapiro is articulate, direct, and unforgiving — strengths which have earned him a loyal following, making him "the fastest growing conservative podcast in the nation" as Shapiro will tell you himself in every episode, to one of those obligatory rock riffs that every conservative talk show must have.
These conservatives flocking to Ben Shapiro, many of them young college students like myself, find themselves with an identity crisis. They don’t like Trump as the face of their party, but they’re repulsed by this “friggin SJWs” perception of the left that Shapiro feeds into, inadvertently or not. So being the open minded person I try to be, I started listening to Ben Shapiro’s podcast to see if the left had really met it’s match. (Spoiler alert: no)
On the October 17 episode, Ben was talking about the #metoo campaign on social media that spawned from the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault revelations.
“Sexual harassment is awful. Sexual harassment is evil. It’s why I am supremely careful around women…”
— Ben Shapiro
Okay, basic decency. Don’t see that enough on the right. That’s good.
“...One of the problems I have with the #metoo thing...we need to have some standards”
But mainly, Ben Shapiro, like other men (myself included),
was a bit slow to get the point
of the #metoo campaign.
First of all, Ben: survivors of sexual violence don’t have to explain their situation to your standards for their experiences to be valid. Second, it’s called power dynamics. When your abuser is so well networked that they could either make or break your career, it's hard to come out with your story. It's even harder to share your story when you might face scrutiny from the press, or smear from your abuser..
But mainly, Ben Shapiro, like other men (myself included), was a bit slow to get the point of the #metoo campaign. It’s not enough for survivors to tell their stories, but there must also be a radical shift in the culture that allows Weinsteins, O’Reillys and Trumps to repeatedly get away with sexual assault without consequences.
It’s also on men to make our workplaces safe for everyone, which, to be fair, Ben Shapiro also talked about. So he’s problematic, but definitely far from the worst Republican take of the year. Don’t worry, it does get worse.
In what seems to be a consistent pursuit to create plausible deniability for any wrongdoing by Trump, I noticed that Shapiro just constantly omits information that disproves his points From November 3:
“...what Trump is doing here is certainly no worse than what President Obama did repeatedly with the IRS where he kept saying it would be great if people could go after … these conservative 501(c)(3)s, and then administrators at the IRS got the picture and they went ahead and went after the conservative 501(c)(3)s.”
So lemme translate that. In 2013, the IRS revealed that it was taking extra steps to make sure that organizations applying for tax exempt status, colloquially and clunkily known as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4), were not engaging in political activity.
Shapiro just omits information that’s bad for his point.
This tax exemption is meant to incentivize the work of charities, nonprofits, and foundations, public and private. Just no politics. To enforce this, the IRS searched for organizations that included terms like “Tea Party”, “Patriots”, “9/12 Project”, anything that mentioned making the US “a better place to live”, or any group that mentioned Obamacare. Which does sound like it’s targeting the political Right, right? Here comes that pesky context.
They also used words like “occupy”, “progressive”, “medical marijuana”, you get the picture, they weren’t just targeting right wing organizations, there were targeting left wing ones too, and according to a Freedom of Information Act request -- it’s arguable that the left was targeted more than the right.
So uh great point. Until you left out the evidence that made that a weak point.
I listened to the Ben Shapiro show every day for about two weeks, and it wasn’t hard to find cases where Ben Shapiro conveniently left out facts. I was going to finish by going through a bunch of these cases -- rapid fire style, but on Sunday November 5 at a church outside of San Antonio, Texas, a mass shooter used a rifle to murder 26 people. I wanted to check if Ben Shapiro had a conscience. Can you tell where this is going?
There are a lot of people who immediately jump to gun control, but one of the things that is important to recognize here is that it was an armed citizen -- a good guy with a gun -- who showed up to stop the bad guy with the gun.
Good thing that good guy with a gun prevented 26 people from being murdered by a gun. Oh wait.
"...the reason that the NRA is so prominent is not because the gun industry is paying the NRA, it's because there are millions and millions of people who are members of the NRA who join voluntarily because maybe they're afraid that the left tries to grab guns and suggests guns ought to be grabbed every time something bad happens…”
Two things. One, from Business Insider: “companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA's revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.”
Secondly, right now, private gun sales don’t require a background check, and this is one way that some -- but not all -- of these shooters obtain guns they shouldn’t have. Closing the “gun show loophole” will save lives. And most NRA members are on my side here, not Ben’s: A Johns Hopkins poll found that 73.7% of NRA members supported closing the gun show loophole. CBS/New York Times poll? 85%. Pew Research? 74%.
As he wrapped up his coverage of the shooting, he needlessly ties it to another news story that happened over the weekend, where -- and remember this the next time Ben Shapiro says that “the media are jumping to conclusions” on anything, because when learning of the news that Rand Paul had fractured 5 of his ribs in a dispute with his neighbor, Shapiro says...
is it useful to the left’s agenda is more of a judge than if it's newsworthy. if Bernie Sanders were tackled by a right winger it would be newsworthy … Rand Paul gets tackled, breaks 5 ribs by his own property and by a Democrat? nothing. I had to find this on twitter, it wasn’t even covered anywhere it's ridiculous.”
I wanted to check if Ben Shapiro
had a conscience. Can you tell
where this is going?
To quote Boucher’s lawyer in a statement that came out a bit after Shapiro’s show: “The unfortunate occurrence of November 3rd has absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas. It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”
Nevermind that this sounds like a good episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, don’t forget about this the next time Ben Shapiro faults the media for jumping to conclusions on anything.
It’s tempting to kid around about this because we’re so numb to mass shootings in America, but If you wanted to cover this story right, here’s how you’d do it: In 310 days of 2017, there have been 378 mass shootings, defined by the FBI as 4 or more gunshot injuries in a single incident. 6 of the 10 most violent mass shootings in the US have happened in the past 10 years. Two of them, so far, were in 2017. This is to say nothing about the rampant gun violence that goes unreported in America’s inner cities.
What does Donald Trump have
to do to lose Ben Shapiro?
Democrats propose imperfect solutions, but they’re proposing solutions. Republicans respond with platitudes and distraction. Obviously it isn’t as easy as just banning all guns. But why can’t we as a society look at what went wrong in every mass shooting thus far, identify patterns, and create a gun reform package to address as much that is going wrong as possible?
If only Ben Shapiro put as much effort into proposing solutions, maybe like a Republican take on a gun reform package, as he did with making excuses for why we shouldn’t even take steps to bring down the number of these shootings, then I’d be debating how good his ideas are. But he has none. He only has distraction and spin, just like every conservative pundit that came before him.
Ben Shapiro can’t save the GOP. I don’t know if anyone can. The Republican party must reconcile with the fact that they allowed a greedy, mentally unstable, white nationalist into the oval office just to get them young tax cuts. Ben Shapiro transcends some of the messiest of what the right has become -- but what will it take for Ben Shapiro to reach his breaking point with the Republican party? What does Donald Trump have to do to lose Ben Shapiro, and why hasn’t anything that has happened up to today not done that already?
Ben Shapiro is the modern repackaging of the same slimy disingenuousness as all the other right wing pundits before him -- at a time when the American public is angry with lies and spin.
If Ben Shapiro is the best the American right has got, the GOP is fucked.
12 November 2017 by
Dan From The Internet/>
Credits for video:
Dan From The Internet
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Purple Planet Music