While looking for permanent Politico Playbook writers, editors at Politico offered guest-editing opportunities to a handful of prominent voices across the political spectrum. Newsrooms across the liberal landscape erupted in outrage at the inclusion of conservative provocateur Ben Shapiro.
Politico faced internal backlash after inviting conservative podcast host and provocateur Ben Shapiro to guest edit an edition of their famed newsletter Politico Playbook.
- Shapiro took the opportunity to provide his insight on why all but ten Republican House members declined to impeach President Trump this week.
- Backlash from the Left and mainstream media was swift, condemning Politico for giving Shapiro a platform, with a correspondent for The Nation equivocating it with white supremacy.
- Previous guest editors include liberal documentarian Ken Burns and former New York Times editorial editor James Bennett, who was forced to resign last year after a similar newsroom revolt at the Times when an op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton was published.
- In a Zoom call with Politico employees and a statement released by the outlet, editor in chief Matt Kaminski defended the inclusion of Shapiro, saying Politico “rises above ideological warfare” and “mischief making has always been a part of Politico’s secret sauce.”
- Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported there were more than 200 people on the Zoom call and one reporter spoke up saying Shapiro had a history of bigoted and incendiary remarks.
- The Wire’s reporting recounted a handful of left-wing reactions to the guest-edit gig, who alluded to what they claimed were past controversial statements by Shapiro.
- The New York Times started their report by calling Shapiro a “right-wing commentator” while failing to include a similar descriptor for liberal MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
- Name-calling continued at The Daily Beast who called Shapiro’s rhetoric “divisive” and “bigoted.”
- In response to the outrage in the Politico newsroom, The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by Shapiro, will be sending drink tumblers emblazoned with “Liberal Tears.” The co-CEO of Daily Wire said “I know that a single conservative opinion was enough to make 225 journalists at Politico very sad. We just want to make sure they don’t get their desks wet.”
- The Federalist made the argument that displays of outrage like this “showcases how modern newsrooms have become the new college campus” and noted there was nary a peep from the newsroom when Hayes, who has his own history of controversial remarks, edited Playbook the day before Shapiro.
- A contributor at RedState argued the very backlash to Shapiro’s views, opinions, and inclusion in a non-conservative outlet proved Shapiro’s point of liberals wanting to silence and marginalize conservatives.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021