Social media, being the cesspool that it is, was set alight after conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was invited to guest-write for Politico’s Playbook.
Staffers cried foul to their bosses through company communication channels. A meeting was convened where over 225 people admonished those who would dare allow someone right of Jake Tapper be published in a mainstream outlet. Editor-in-Chief Matt Kaminski, to his credit, stood his ground saying, “we’re not going to back away from having published something because some people think it was a mistake to do so.”
This isn’t a new phenomenon. The de-platforming of center-right commentators from mainstream outlets has plagued the industry for years now. Kevin Williamson was forced out of his position with The Atlantic in 2018. Bari Weiss was attacked and maligned by her colleagues until she ultimately resigned from her job with the New York Times last summer. To the left, a differing opinion is intolerable and must be stamped out with righteous indignation.
It’s only been half a year since the infamous Tom Cotton op-ed was “rushed” into publication with the New York Times. A deplorable debate ensued over whether or not a sitting Senator should be allowed a platform. Eventually, the editorial board of the Times issued a mea culpa, under the guise that the op-ed failed to meet their publishing standards, for daring to give the right a voice, and vowed to never again. If a prominent elected official can be forced out of the discourse, it should come as no surprise that an editor of an alternative media outlet can be shown the door too.
The left claims to have taken a stand against “divisive” and “toxic” rhetoric, but why has it led them to police only one side of the aisle? I cannot recall the left revolting en masse after the New York Times allowed the Taliban to spew their propaganda in their paper early last year. Where were these crusading journalists when their colleagues spent months covering up, shifting blame, and even supporting the destruction and violence perpetrated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa? Why is there more ire levied at Politico for allowing Shapiro, an intellectual thought-leader for much of the country, to pen a newsletter than there was for the nearly $2 billion of damages that resulted from the riots of 2020?
Some are quick to call it a double standard, but there’s hardly been a standard at all. Goalpost-shifting on what is and isn’t tolerable changes to fit whoever falls into the left’s crosshairs by the day. If you can’t fall in line with their fervent ideology, don’t expect a seat at the table. In the wake of unprecedented de-platforming, destruction of tech alternatives, and stoked hatred of conservatives, we shouldn’t expect even the most milquetoast of right-wingers to be allowed to speak in the public square.
Many are correct to say that the political temperature in our country needs to be turned down. Tempers are high, and some politicians and commentators are raising them further. Shapiro isn’t one of them. Silencing him, especially after he simply expresses hard truths about how much of the country feels about our media and government, just throws gasoline on the fire.
Much of the growing resentment and distrust of the media could be solved if they were upfront and honest about their intentions and agenda. Claiming fairness all while edging out those with competing ideologies only serves to further alienate those who’ve already been forced to build their own media conglomerates just to be heard. The brass at Politico defending their choice to keep the Overton Window open does the country well. By not cowering to the mob, they’ve ensured that intellectual diversity is respected, and they’ve whittled down the echo-chamber that much of the mainstream media perpetuates.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.