There is no way to put this nicely. American politics is spinning so far out of control that it is legitimate to wonder if we will ever get to a place where we can all just get along. The recent Ben Shapiro dust-up is a classic case in point. This particular incident’s messages paint an alarming picture of where we are now and where we are headed as a people.
The Ben Shapiro Sighting That Shook the World
Every year a group known as Podcast Movement holds a national conference for those in the podcast business. The 2022 expo gathering was held this week in Dallas, TX. The Daily Signal, which is co-owned by Mr. Shapiro, plunked down its 10K for a booth as a conference participant. This is not an oddity as the conservative author and speaker is the host of a popular podcast. In 2021 his show clocked in with about 15 million downloads a month, according to Insider Radio. Shapiro’s program, to put it in perspective, is a blockbuster in the industry.
Then something shook the conference sponsors – and apparently, some of their faithful – to the core. The popular conservative showed up at the event, shook hands with a few people who stopped by the Signal’s booth, took some pictures, and left.
That’s it. Full stop.
Then the fur began to fly. “Hey @PodcastMovement what the f—. As a trans person, as a queer person, as someone with a uterus, this does not make me feel welcome. This does not make me feel safe,” Tweeted one person attending the conference.
Without so much as a beat, the Podcast Movement tweeted the following:
Podcast Movement at #PM22 Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.
Those of you who called this “unacceptable” are right. In 9 wonderful years growing and celebrating this medium, PM has made mistakes. The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward.
Just to clarify, no TDW representatives were scheduled to appear on panels, and Shapiro remained in the common space and did not have a badge. If you have questions, we’re here to talk. Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll continue to join us from here on out.
This is not some form of verbal meme or weird attempt at political humor. These Tweets were issued with the utmost sincerity and appear exactly as written on the Podcast Movement’s verified Twitter page.
That Shapiro’s very presence was found worthy of an apology is breathtaking.
Naturally, the response from the right was swift: The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway sharply tweeted, “You sound like *completely insane people*. What in the world is wrong with you? Is this a joke? You couldn’t tolerate *BEN* *FREAKING* *SHAPIRO*? Are you a child? An anti-semite? An anti-semitic child? How do you function in society if you can’t tolerate BEN SHAPIRO?”
Yet another response came from Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert: “So you were fine taking money from The Daily Wire as long as it stayed hush. Interesting. Also, if the mere presence of @BenShapiro somehow ‘harms’ you, you need more help than you can find on any self help podcast.” Or as one close friend from Youngstown, OH, recently said to me, “Maybe they should seek some professional counseling, though it sounds doubtful it would be of any help at this stage.”
While noting that the conference is a private event and is at liberty to include whoever they so desire, even the folks over at Reason Magazine seemed incredulous. “But we are getting into pretty crazy territory if the mere presence of a mainstream conservative podcaster at a large podcasting convention triggers apoplexy among some progressives,” author Robby Soave opined.
This does not bode well for the future. Will there come a day when conservatives will be ushered off the buses, trains, and planes? Has the left become so paranoid they feel unhinged at the mere sight of someone who does not share their political views? How about removing these people from the lunch counters and providing separate bathrooms? And here we thought all that was behind us. Dare we set off down this road, the political segregation of America will be complete.