The exploits and ideals of conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro are well-chronicled and frequently eulogized in The Arch Conservative. He may be conservatism’s most effective voice in the braking of postmodern progressivism and he has earned the ire and attention of the Left as a result.
On October 12, The New York Times posted an op-ed titled “The Hollow Bravery of Ben Shapiro” written by freelance journalist Jane Coaston. In her piece, Coaston demonstrates the depthless journalism that should be expected from the Left now that someone, in this case Ben Shapiro, is successfully challenging their frail ideals and inspiring others to follow suit.
In a stunning, nearly Olympic-caliber feat of mental gymnastics, Coaston accuses Shapiro of “shadow boxing,” or pandering to conservatives “whose values dominate mainstream American culture.” Off the bat, Coaston demonstrates unbridled obliviousness to that culture, as Hollywood, television, sports commentary, public school curriculums and indeed The New York Times and similar mainstream media outlets exhibit Leftist tendencies on a daily basis.
Coaston goes on to assert that Shapiro’s website, The Daily Wire, serves only to reinforce and confirm the biases of its conservative followers. Once again, the lack of background knowledge (journalism) on the part of Coaston is utterly baffling. If Coaston had even an elementary understanding of Shapiro’s track record, she would know that he spent the better part of 2016 standing up to pro-Trump populism, often to the chagrin of fellow conservative commentators and his own fans. Even now as Trump sits in the Oval Office, Shapiro and The Daily Wire are frequently critical of the administration.
Coaston also accuses The Federalist, another conservative-leaning publication, of simply pandering to its readers, and in doing so, she buries her original argument. She says, “These publications and commentators aren’t embracing the kind of real debate that they pay lip services to on campus; they are spoon-feeding screeds to their right-wing readers.” Perhaps this phenomenon is what Coaston was referring to when she claimed that conservatism dominates mainstream American culture. She’s still dead wrong, though, because unlike Leftist outlets, Americans have to look much harder to find conservative ones like The Federalist. It takes no effort to hear the Left’s perspective, because it is embedded into mainstream media.
However quickly conservative thought leaders like Shapiro gain popularity, their outreach pales in comparison to Leftist propaganda, often veiled as journalism. Sure, Fox News is biased and occasionally overt in peddling its brand of conservatism, but the roster on the Left more closely resembles the Golden State Warriors of mass media. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC are just a few news outlets which fawned and gushed over Hillary Clinton last year. That’s not to mention the many entertainment platforms laden with Leftist politics such as those stood upon by most actors and the rarely-nuanced slant of television, including award shows, late-night talk show hosts, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Jane Coaston’s old employer, MTV. Americans who recognize this are naturally drawn to people like Shapiro, who unlike the New York Times, are up front about their biases. Shapiro does not veil his content as a balanced perspective, and in doing so, he retains the integrity that mainstream has lost in its cheerleading of the Left and the Democratic Party.
Even if Jane Coaston’s bizarre claim that conservatism dominates culture was true, it would be irrelevant in a Ben Shapiro collegiate lecture. Shapiro always makes a point to hear opposing points of view from listeners. In fact, his rule for campus talks calls for audience members who disagree to come to the front of the line during his Q&A sessions. The notion that Shapiro only caters to a conservative audience is just as ludicrous. Shapiro is a man of conservative principles, and he is quick to defend them, arguably with even more vigor when they are under attack from right-wing figures. In fact, about half of his recent speech at Berkeley did just that, as he lambasted nationalist populism and the alt-right.
The arrogance that permeates Coaston’s op-ed is telling of the tide of the culture war. For decades, American universities have been monopolized by Leftist thought. This monopoly has been dealt significant and public blows recently, and Shapiro has been identified as a troublemaker. This is an understandable cause for concern for the Left, so it’s easy to understand why some might lash out. However, Coaston’s infantile hit-piece will generate nothing but support and validation for Shapiro and an ambitious generation of conservatives.