What Politico Playbook didn't tell its readers about Ben Shapiro

The January 14 edition of Politico’s daily newsletter “Playbook” was guest-written by Ben Shapiro, founder of the right-wing The Daily Wire, a conservative cesspool that’s been pushing bigotry and hatred since 2015. (The outlet recently hired Candace Owens.)

Shapiro personally carries responsibility for fostering and enabling today’s dangerous political climate. Whether it be promoting an us versus them mentality, or dismissing the murder of protesters and innocent children, Shapiro helped lay the foundations for today’s political violence.

Playbook calls itself the “#1 political newsletter” among political professionals, and it reportedly brings in millions of dollars in annual revenue for Politico. Beginning on January 1, Politico began bringing guests in to write the daily Playbook newsletter. Surely it is possible to highlight guest writers from a variety of viewpoints without lifting up someone who built his career with takes like this.

Shapiro’s edition of the Playbook has been roundly criticized, including for his claim that former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Georgia Stacey Abrams “never accepted her election loss.” This is false. Abrams acknowledged Brian Kemp as the elected governor of Georgia but maintained her criticism of the state’s voting process that led to this election result.

Shapiro also grievance-mongered over Donald Trump’s impeachment by saying conservatives see Congress’ move as inspired by “members of the opposing political tribe [wanting] their destruction.” Last week’s insurrection at the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters left five people dead. Trump has been impeached for inciting this violence against Congress. Yet, Shapiro is claiming that he and other Trump supporters are the true victims.

Shapiro argues that Republicans saw impeachment as a Democratic plot to undermine them, and that they were justified in thinking this. If Republicans genuinely wanted to distance themselves from the rioters and Trump, however, then they could have simply voted for impeachment. Instead, they overwhelmingly sided with Trump thus showing to the nation that they are still united with Trump and his inciting to violence.

Shapiro also compared Trump, whose rhetoric incited an insurrection, to Bernie Sanders, connecting the shooting of members of Congress in 2017 to last week’s Capitol attack. Unlike Trump, Sanders explicitly denounced this violence (and never incited it in the first place, obviously).

Shapiro has a long record of spreading disinformation and amplifying racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. His daily podcast features such intellectually weighty moves as complaining about Hulu holiday movies, ranting about a female James Bond, and calling the movie Get Out racist.

When Shapiro is not reading lyrics to hip hop songs or complaining about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, he is providing juvenile commentary on the day’s news. He denied reports that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault because “nobody has yet described Kavanaugh’s [genitalia].” He told Americans who must work more than one job to feed their families, “That’d be a you problem” (which is not surprising for someone who thinks empathy is “bad for politics”). And he once threatened to murder then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.