Ben Shapiro is once again in a major public battle with another conservative personality. This time it’s Steven Crowder who has the popular show “Lowder with Crowder” and famously asks bystanders (particularly on college campuses) to “change my mind.”
As you know, I have a firm and long-standing position that Ben Shaprio can get it. Not only is Shapiro an attractive and intelligent conservative leader, he basically invented the marketplace for conservative influencers to thrive online. He was out there starting new media and combating traditional platforms before it was cool and frankly that is just a fact. That is the full tea. Ben Shapiro walked so any other online conservative influencers could run. Ben Shapiro was straight talking to college students since he was a high school student.
Steven Crowder, obviously, can get it also. Attractive, masculine, traditional valued conservative male. We are here for Steven Crowder. But Ben Shapiro was doing it all by 2004 and Crowder was not on any kind of radar until 2009 and he was not really mainstream until 2012. The point of this background is simply to establish that Shapiro paved the path for us all and it’s valuable to remember our online forefathers and the sacrifices they made.
So now Shapiro and Crowder are publicly beefing because Crowder is leaving The Blaze (Glenn Beck’s outfit) and Shapiro’s team at the Daily Wire began negotiating an offer with Crowder which apparently went pretty dramatically south.
Based on both sides of the story which are posted online through Shapiro’s Twitter and Crowder’s website, it seems Shapiro’s team offered Crowder a contract that stipulated that if his show got demonetized or de-platformed, Crowder would get a 25% cut in fee and then could get other subsequent cuts in fees up to 80% (the figures aren’t fully confirmed this is per narrative). Crowder took the contract to task and accused the Daily Wire of playing ball with big tech censorship because they believe that if the Daily Wire penalizes their talent for being demonetized for speaking the truth or conservative values, how will they ever help uplift users speaking the truth?
Shapiro fired back saying that really the dispute was over money. Shapiro outlined a timeline saying Crowder asked for $30 million a year and Daily Wire was only going to go as high as $50 million over four years. Shapiro accuses Crowder of using this “big tech” narrative as essential revenge to hurt the Daily Wire since they wouldn’t give him the contract he was looking for and he was no longer with The Blaze. Shapiro says Crowder is only on the attack because he wants more views and email subscribers.
Woof. It’s all pretty ugly. I can’t possibly know who is right or wrong but my
annoying and unhelpful not to mention totally unsolicited opinion is that they’re both wrong and they’re both right. Shapiro might be having to play ball a bit with big tech in order to make sure his company stays in the black but as stated above: no one was fighting mainstream media except the late great Andrew Breitbart when Shapiro began his mission. No one was online, no one was “influencing” before Shaprio. So to say he’s in bed with big tech to me is not remotely fair considering the world that Shapiro has built that Crowder (and all of us) now benefit from. We stand on his shoulders.
But on the other hand, Crowder has a point. Operations like Free Press Fail are unwavering in our truth, our lens, and our voice. Our fearless leader, Corinne Clark Barron, is demonetized and deplatformed constantly. As a smaller personality with tens of thousands of followers instead of hundreds or millions, the loss of the monetization is a much bigger hit. Crowder is trying to say that Daily Wire and all conservative outlets should rethink how they structure fees to protect talent from that loss of income so they aren’t motivated monetarily to censor themselves. It makes perfect sense. And his decision to expose them may seem harsh, but Crowder argues that he never actually revealed their name on purpose and Daily Wire really outed themselves.
Regardless of who is right here, my big question is: Why is Shapiro beefing with so many conservatives lately? This is not the first of high-profile fights he’s had in even the last month. Just a couple of weeks ago he had a big spat with Emerald Robinson about the viability of an alternative to Speaker Kevin McCarthy in which Shapiro deeply and rudely patronized Robinson who is a long time political reporter with insider sources. Shapiro – along with an army of I assume paid talking heads – kept chirping that there were “no alternatives” to Kevin McCarthy which of course there were actually a million alternatives and was shaming the 20 holdouts saying they were making the party look bad (ha). Robinson supported their efforts and history holds Robinson was correct considering the major concessions the 20 holdouts managed to get in order to let McCarthy take the helm.
Shapiro also recently feuded with Candace Owens who is supposedly a personal friend and member of his own Daily Wire family. Owens retweeted something that was supposedly anti-semitic or promoted someone who is anti-semitic. Owens was favoring the concept that the anti-defamation league (ADL) is actually a progressive partisan organization that does nothing for civil rights much like Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She was recalling her personal experience calling out those organizations and sympathizing with the tweeter, Max Blumenthal, who was doing the same with the ADL. Shapiro publicly scolded her saying Blumenthal was a major racist and she shouldn’t be helping him. Of course Owens, like the rest of us, had no idea who Blumenthal was. She clapped back that Shapiro could have just texted her since they’re supposedly friends.
Shapiro paved the way for Crowder, Robinson, and Owens to thrive in the online space and reach fellow conservatives. But I have to wonder why he seems so at odds with so many major brands at the same time?
Optimistically, I like to think high growth and creativity create conflict. The conservative movement is experiencing a renaissance and with this burst of enthusiasm, there are a lot of new voices and ideas. That can be an explosive environment. What seems like fighting can actually be the best thing for conservatives to continue to thrive. The situation may be akin to a digital version of a salon (but like…less douchey).
Whatever the situation, thank you to Shapiro, Crowder, Robinson, and Owens (and Corinne Clark Barron) for their unwavering support of promoting conservative voices in new media.