Love Him, Despise Him, There’s an Earnest Quality to Ben Shapiro’s Walk Toward the Fire

Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro isn’t necessarily an angry person, but he plays one on TV, on Twitter and on a new site he’s spearheading called TruthRevolt, a new media outlet he hopes will revolutionize American media as we know it. Quick translation? The 29-year-old Editor-in-Chief wants to destroy the left, as in destroy the advertising dollars that go to what he perceives are left-wing media outlets such as ABC, NBC, CBS and others. In essence, he wants to be the right-wing version Media Matters. An Andrew Breitbart disciple in every cell of his being, he reels off quotes from his deceased mentor with ease. Thanks to some appearances on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” he’s also gotten death threats and keeps a shotgun in his home. By phone, Shapiro is actually quite sweet — he even invited me to Shabbat dinner at his home when and if I’m ever in LA. It’s an offer he says he makes to any new acquaintance.

Now in the fight of his life, he took time on his hilly drive to a Fox News appearance this week to speak with me at length by phone. Amid the anger, we discovered a softer side to Shapiro that isn’t on the warpath.

Why did you decide to do this? Did the conservative gods give you the nod?

B.S.: “As far as the conservative gods, I’m not sure what conservatives gods are, but Andrew Breitbart, one of my mentors and Andrew Horowitz, who I’ve known since I was 17, were big on using whatever tactics are at our disposal to make the left live up to its own standards. When it comes to utilization of market power, to make a difference in the political debate, the right has for a long time been quite shy.”

Why is that?

B.S.: “I think that it is largely because the right sort of believes there was a quasi détente on the question of whether advertisers should be held responsible by consumers for their advertising choices. The right was wrong about that. There was no détente. Interest groups on the left have been doing what we’re talking about for years. Conservatives consumers don’t have anyone serving a similar function on the right.”

 Who are the worst offenders and where is Shapiro’s softer side?

Who are the worst offenders?

B.S.: “I think the broadcast networks, CBS, NBC, ABC in terms of pretending objectivity while pushing a far from objective agenda.”

And you’re going to show this on your site?

B.S.: “Yes. The folks we’re bringing attention to it, this pretend heavily leftist world view.”

So a lot of TV watching.

B.S. “Yes, a lot of TV watching, newspaper reading. A lot of information gathering from college campuses. It’s a big battle and there are a lot of targets. Everyone has a right to speak freely on politics. The question is whether advertisers should be able to advertise basically thanks to the ignorance of the general public.”

I take it Breitbart had a big influence on you.

B.S.: “He was an inspirational figure.. He spoke of walking toward the fire. It’s one phrase Andrew was very fond of. Certainly the media is not going to be on our side. My feeling is what he meant by that is that it’s important to embrace the fight. I feel like I don’t have a choice. This was a point Andrew was making. You can walk toward the fire, or the fight can come to you. You sit around and you try to speak the truth and folks on the left demonize you and try to destroy your career and livelihood and think if I just keep my mouth shut everything will just be okay.”