Politico came under fire Thursday for allowing conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to guest edit its Playbook newsletter.
Shapiro, regularly in the middle of one controversy or another, tweeted Wednesday downplaying the significance of zip ties allegedly being carried by at least two Capitol rioters last week, writing, “Literally every regular human I know owns zip ties. This is like Pauline Kael on steroids.” He was responding to a New York Times editor who inquired how many regular people own such implements.
“The fact Politico gave prime real estate to Ben Shapiro the day after he claimed *everyone* has zip tie restraints at home in an attempt to minimize the Capitol riots and it all being sponsored by the oil and gas lobby tells you more about DC than any newsletter scoop could,” tweeted Yahoo news’ Hunter Walker.
Other critics pointed to less recent examples of why they thought Shapiro shouldn’t have been given the platform regardless of timing.
“I would appreciate if someone from @politico would read all the racist things Ben Shapiro has said about Arabs and Muslims here and then explain why they chose to give him a platform,” said the Wall Street Journal’s Sabrina Siddiqui, linking to a Georgetown University-backed fact sheet on his past comments on Muslims and various minorities.
A representative for the outlet didn’t immediately return a request for comment, but Shapiro celebrated his criticism on Twitter.
“People losing their s*** over me writing @politico Playbook this morning are pretty much proving my point. So keep at it guys, you’re doing great!” he wrote, censoring the swear word himself. In the newsletter, he wrote about Republican opposition to outgoing president Donald Trump’s second impeachment, saying it “comes from a deep and abiding conservative belief that members of the opposing political tribe want their destruction, not simply to punish Trump for his behavior.”