Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro participated in an odd profile released Tuesday by Vanity Fair that described his rise to conservative superstardom as “Hollywood produced,” a fact that he seemed all-too-proud to share.
The lengthy piece described Shapiro’s relationship with his advisor and confidante, Jeremy Boreing, a Hollywood producer who cultivated Shapiro from image to ideology to appeal to the masses. Vanity Fair described the beginning of Shapiro’s rise to fame, after the infamous Piers Morgan interview during which he accused Morgan of “standing on the graves” of the dead victims of the Sandy Hooke Elementary School shooting.
As he watched the Morgan hit, Boreing realized that Shapiro’s look, while perfectly adequate for a right-wing think-tank talking head, wasn’t going to cut it in many of the demographics they wanted to conquer. Shapiro quickly agreed to revise the right-wing-dork look, and the makeover began: Boreing and a wardrobe stylist emptied Shapiro’s closet almost completely, took him to Macy’s to re-stock, gave him an objectively better haircut, replaced his personal trainer, and presto, the Ben Shapiro look emerged—a decently-fitted button-up shirt in neutral blues and grays, tucked into better-fitting jeans, and a jacket that didn’t look too expensive.
‘You being a brand brings a lot of security. . . . You being a front man gives us a ton of security,” Boreing reportedly told Shapiro after the Morgan interview. “I can better accomplish that with video. I can expose a lot more people to you with video, I can expose them to you in a way that they’ll remember, because people are visual. . . . Let me make you famous and we’ll have a much louder voice and a much bigger platform to advance our interests.”
The piece described Shapiro’s realization that he had to become likable – that he was the Daily Wire brand – in order to be successful. He apparently made this realization while working around Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham in the radio industry.
“People love Michael, and they love Laura, because they love Michael and they love Laura, not because they love what Michael and Laura are talking about,” Shapiro told the magazine. Shapiro emphasized that he wants to use his cultivated image to spread what he views as conservative ideas.
But is it possible for a Hollywood-produced figure to actually relate to ordinary Americans? Judging by Shapiro’s disdain for the policies proffered by President Donald J. Trump, which are mainly aimed at helping ordinary Americans survive and feed their families, Shapiro lacks perspective to understand why such a large portion of people who identify as conservatives support the president.
It makes sense. Daily Wire was initially funded by billionaire Farris Wilks, a member of the out of touch donor class. Shapiro, in his ivory tower in Sherman Oaks, California where his company is headquartered, has been completely sanitized by the Republican elite since he graduated from Harvard Law.
Then again, Shapiro is something of a fence-sitter, every now-and then tossing a bone to the MAGA crowd to keep their clicks coming.
“Shapiro had achieved megastardom, even as he oscillated in his opinion of Trump,” said Vanity Fair. “To his former culture-warrior brethren, Shapiro was trying to have it both ways: pretending to be a populist one day, then trying to stake out a position as a Respectable Conservative the next, and then pissing off everyone by, say, tweeting inappropriate comments during George H.W. Bush’s funeral.”
The bottom line, of which Shapiro seems proud, is this: Daily Wire is a Hollywood-produced act to spout whatever is the popular “Respectable Conservative” opinion of the day, which in turn leads to clicks and page views, and thus revenue.
All of this from the allegedly “principled” wing of the GOP.
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