How conservative Ben Shapiro is ‘riding the wave’ of Trumpism and 'faux outrage' — even tho he promised he never would
In an article published on July 19, National Public Radio's Miles Parks reported that far-right pundit Ben Shapiro has been using Facebook to help build his very profitable media empire — the same Facebook that former President Donald Trump has filed a frivolous lawsuit against, the same Facebook that MAGA media have accused of trying to suppress right-wing viewpoints. Never Trump conservative Charlie Sykes weighs in on Parks' reporting in a July 20 column for The Bulwark, slamming Shapiro as someone who has successfully ridden the wave of Trumpism and MAGA fake outrage even though he once insisted that he never would.
Sykes observes, "Amid all the complaints that big tech is silencing conservative voices, NPR reminds us that the undisputed king of Facebook is Ben Shapiro…. How big is Shapiro's site? How has it weathered big tech's attempts to censor, gag, and suppress right-wing views?" And Sykes answers that question by noting that according to NPR, Shapiro's the Daily Wire had "more Facebook engagement" in May than the New York Times, NBC News, the Washington Post and CNN combined.
Much of the Wire's Facebook engagement, Sykes points out, is "straight from the MAGA sausage factory of faux outrage, election trutherism, vaccine skepticism, and lib-owning." Sykes adds, however, "It wasn't always like this. Back in 2016, Shapiro declared that he would never, ever, under any circumstances vote for Donald Trump."
To illustrate his point, Sykes noted this March 4, 2016 tweet from Shapiro:
SHAPIRO: I Will Never Vote For Donald Trump. Here's Why. | Daily Wire https://t.co/4iba5yOTg2 https://t.co/GcFLpaxKtR— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro) 1457114177.0
Sykes included Shapiro's use of the #NeverTrump hashtag in that tweet. But unlike Sykes, The Bulwark's Bill Kristol, the Washington Post's Max Boot, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson and other Never Trump conservatives from 2016 who are still outspoken Never Trumpers, Shapiro flip flopped and supported Trump's reelection campaign in 2020.
"By 2020, Shapiro was on board with both Trumpism and Trump," Sykes notes. "By the time the election had rolled around, Shapiro was a right-wing-media clickbaity juggernaut and a rock star of lib-owning in the MAGAverse. He had also moved on from Bill Buckley to hiring Candace Owens."
Is anyone surprised @benshapiro sold out? He saw what Trump what in 2015 and took his fans as his own. There was a… https://t.co/kLLWnYnDTh— Steve Anderson ✳️ (@Steve Anderson ✳️) 1626722237.0
Sykes adds that Shapiro's "tortured explanation for his flip-flop on Trump is a museum-quality artifact of rationalization and wrongness." In October 2020, Shapiro said of Trump, "Whatever damage he was going to do, he's already done, and it's not going to help if I don't vote for him this time."
The Never Trump conservative writes, "What more damage could he possibly do with a second term? Shapiro asked. Hadn't we seen the worst? What could possibly go wrong? Of course, that was before the Big Lie. Before Trump's attempt to overturn the election. Before he delayed the transition. Before he demanded that his vice president nullify electoral votes. Before military leaders feared he might stage a coup. Since then, he incited the January 6 Insurrection."
Sykes continues, "Since then, Trump praised the rioters as 'patriots' and 'peaceful people.' Since then, he made delegitimizing the election a litmus test for the GOP. And since then, Ben Shapiro has ridden the wave."
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