Earlier this week, the left found another opportunity to be outraged.
On Columbus Day, author and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Wire, published an offensive video depicting Native Americans as bloodthirsty savages who were rescued from their ignorance by white settlers. Shapiro quickly removed the video, but the left just couldn’t let it go.
The Daily Wire’s Columbus Day Video
The video was a cartoon that featured Native Americans killing — and eating each other. Then, Christopher Columbus’ ship full of white Europeans lands and proceeds to teach the savages how to farm and raise cattle. Then, the video skips forward hundreds of years showing the Europeans building skyscrapers and paved roads.
At the end, it lists the many things white Americans invented after Columbus’ ship lands. The problem? The video left out the horrific acts carried out by the settlers against the natives. It completely ignores the evils done by the Europeans after they came to the continent.
At first, Shapiro defended the video, stating that it was satire. “Conservatives are allowed to make satire, too.” He said. “I was uncomfortable with the video, but in the interests of giving my employees the benefit of the — and in the interests of defending satire more broadly — I decided to leave the video up.”
The day after the video was published, Shapiro decided to take it down.
The Left’s Reaction To The Video
Naturally, the left pounced on the opportunity to smear Ben Shapiro and the Daily Wire. They were eager to paint him as an alt-right pundit who supports genocide. When discussing the video, Salon wrote:
“It also plays with the intertwined notion that he [Columbus] saved the indigenous people he subjected to bondage and slaughter from something much, much worse. Cannibalism gets a particularly dramatic starring role here. The 400-plus years of genocide that followed Columbus’ establishment of settlements in the Caribbean gets no mention. Honestly, if not for the outsized, Technicolor racism on display, it would be tiresome.”
Mediaite also joined in to slam the Daily Wire, comparing Shapiro to Richard Spencer:
“While Shapiro likes to bill himself as a conservative pundit who is vehemently opposed to racism and the alt-right, with videos like these, it is hard to understand why, as white nationalist leader Richard Spencer often espouses the exact same talking points promoted in this video.”
It is interesting to note that while these two left-wing news outlets attacked Shapiro, others didn’t. There were no stories published on Mother Jones, CNN, MSNBC, or any other leftist news sites. Only two conservative-leaning websites covered the story: The Hill and The Washington Examiner. There’s a reason for this: it isn’t a big deal.
Why The Columbus Day Video Isn’t A Big Deal
The Daily Wire made a mistake when they published this video. It could easily be seen as racist. It is true that the Native Americans were not “noble savages” — the tribes were ruthless towards one another. But the video mangles history so badly that even a child could see where it went wrong. While the natives were brutal, the Europeans committed acts that were every bit as evil as the natives.
It is for this reason that Ben Shapiro decided to take the video down and apologize for keeping it up in the first place. On Twitter, he wrote:
“Yes, the video was satire. In my opinion, it was bad satire. It did not fulfill my editorial guidelines. It skipped over the grave injustices visited upon Native Americans, and it engaged in broad-based stereotyping.”
In his statement, he also said: “It was a mistake, and I apologize fully for it.”
Shapiro handled this situation well — while he defended the video at first, he later decided to remove it. While he acknowledges that the video was satire, he understood that its offensiveness obscured the point The Daily Wire was trying to make.
It would be easy for people on the right to criticize Shapiro for giving in to “political correctness,” but there is a distinct difference between removing an inaccurate and overly offensive video and becoming an insufferable snowflake. The video was poorly-made, something you might see on an alt-right Twitter feed. It’s the type that trolls create to offend, rather than educate.
The Daily Wire obviously didn’t intend to create a racially offensive video — they were trying to make a point about Columbus Day. Like all other humans, they made a mistake — and they remedied it. Unfortunately, the left will likely use this misstep to smear Shapiro and his team as racists who are no better than the alt-right. However, Shapiro’s track record in this regard will make it easy to rebut such accusations. In the end, the whole story is a nothingburger.
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