Shapiro the Shrill
Syndicated right-wing columnist Ben Shapiro not only has a full-blown case of Obama Derangement Syndrome, he also pushes false and misleading claims in his column -- dishonesty that the subjects of his new book know all too well.
By Terry Krepel
Ben Shapiro began as a garden-variety conservative columnist whose initial gimmick was his youth; at age 17, he became the youngest syndicated columnist in America. In between, he wrote a couple of books and graduated from Harvard Law School.
But when Barack Obama was elected president, Shapiro's writing took a hostile turn. He developed a full-blown case of Obama Derangement Syndrome and began cranking out some of the most shrill attacks on the president.
Shapiro also seems to think that he is the ultimate Jew (albeit in a hateful, Jackie Mason-esque way) who can apply litmus tests on the personal faith of others. In his April 28, 2010, column, presented as an "open letter to American Jews," Shapiro begins by declaring himself to be "a charter member of the tribe. I'm not only Jewish, I'm religious." But that word does not mean what Shapiro thinks it means; unless he was born several thousand years ago, Shapiro is not "a charter member of the tribe."
What is a kapo? Dictionary.com defines it as "a Nazi concentration camp prisoner who was given privileges in return for supervising prisoner work gangs: often a common criminal and frequently brutal to fellow inmates."
That's right: Shapiro called Emanuel -- a Jew -- a Nazi thug.
(As ConWebWatch has previously noted, the Media Research Center-owned CNS published this insult without comment while the MRC's NewsBusters attacked a guest on CNN who used the same word to describe black tea party activists.")
That wasn't the only sleazy attack by Shapiro on his fellow Jews. He screeched in a May 26 column:
In 2008, Obama grabbed 78 percent of the Jewish vote. Even the most wildly optimistic polling today shows that Obama's support remains high among Jews. It's a result that Republicans simply can't understand why do so many Jews continue to support a president who has shown time and again that he stands against the State of Israel?
Shapiro added some homophobia to his Obama-hate repertoire in his Dec. 23, 2010, column, insisting that Obama thinks "Lady Gaga is the de facto secretary of defense" because this "bisexual, drug-addled talentless Auto-Tune creation with a relentlessly annoying fan base -- full of faux-profound morons who think that fashioning one's hair into a telephone qualifies as high art" opposes the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Shapiro continued:
Ms. Gaga -- a noxiously androgynous combination of Madonna, HAL 9000 and the worst of Salvador Dali -- had made it her personal mission to stump for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." On Sept. 20, 2010, Gaga made a speech in Maine replete with idiotic misconstructions of the Constitution and vicious slander about our troops (she compared them to the murderers of Matthew Shepard). Worst, she offered not a single argument as to how the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" would help the military.
In between all the hate, Shapiro has used his column to peddle false and misleading claims. For instance, he wrote in his Dec. 16, 2009, column:
If you were president of the United States, would you hire an alleged former spy for Fidel Castro to be ambassador to El Salvador, a country teetering on the brink of hard-core socialism? President Obama just did.
In fact, the FBI cleared Aponte of "rumors" of Cuban recruitment, and even the publication he cited as claiming that Aponte "reportedly refused to cooperate" with authorities noted that it "could not confirm" the allegation.
Shapiro used his July 29, 2010, column to attack Shirley Sherrod as a "Marxist" as well as a "racial separatist and quasi-shakedown artist." He continued:
Along with her racist husband Charles Sherrod (“We must stop the white man and his Uncle Tom from stealing our elections”), Shirley founded New Communities, Inc. in 1969 with money from the Office of Economic Opportunity. New Communities was essentially a commune-style black farm that failed to turn any sort of profit. The USDA didn’t give it further loans. So, the Sherrods sued as part of the Pigford v. Glickman class action suit, an enormous lawsuit against the USDA by black farmers. The government settled the case for billions of dollars, awarding New Communities $13 million, including $150,000 each for Charles and Shirley for “pain and suffering.” It was the single largest payout in the settlement.
Shapiro misleads about the number of farmers involved. The 16,000 number is the number of black farmers that received money under the original Pigford settlement -- not the number of "black farmers in the entire country." But notification and communication errors kept some farmers from being included under that settlement, so the Obama administration announced a $1.25 billion settlement to cover those farmers.
Approximately 80,000 farmers have applied for money under this settlement, known as Pigford II -- where Shapiro is presumably getting his latter number from -- but even the head of the National Black Farmers Association has said that only about half of that 80,000 will receive money, presumably because claims will be investigated before money is paid out.
This week alone, for example, the federally-funded Smithsonian Institution spent cash stocking its National Portrait Gallery with pictures of Ellen DeGeneres clutching her naked bosom, penises, and nude brothers making outall of this in order to show America how gays and lesbians “struggle for justice ... [attempting to] claim their full inheritance in America’s promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity.”
But the federal government paid nothing to obtain the exhibit -- that cost was borne by private sponsors. The Smithsonian would still spend the same amount of money maintaining an exhibition space no matter what was exhibited there, so banning this particular exhibit saves no money.
Shapiro also suggested that "$1.25 billion in funding for black farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture" in the Pigford case could be cut. As Media Matters pointed out, that money is not an earmark but part of a lawsuit settlement, so paying it isn't optional.
In his April 7 column, Shapiro falsely attacked Obama adviser Samantha Power, asserting that she was "channeling the conspiratorial ruminations of anti-Semitic scholars the world over" by purportedly saying that "America should put military forces on the ground in Israel to prevent Israeli 'human rights abuses.'" In fact, Power was discussing how to react to a hypothetical move toward genocide by "one party or another" in the Middle East, not Israel alone. Power pointed out that United Nations peacekeeping forces were insufficient to stop genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, and her reference to "put[ting] something on the line," in its proper context, is to a force sufficient to stop a genocide, not, as Shapiro claimed, imposing a "solution" on Israel only.
This high level of fundamental dishonesty extends to Shapiro's latest book, "Primetime Propaganda." Shapiro admitted deceiving the people he interviewed for the book by refusing to explain to them that he was a conservative out to make them look bad: "When I showed up for the interviews, I wore my Harvard Law baseball cap my name is Ben Shapiro and I attended Harvard, so there’s a 98.7 percent chance I’m a liberal. Except I happen not to be.”
When producer Vin de Bona pointed out that Shapiro “misrepresented the nature of that interview and subject matter of his book,” Shapiro didn't apologize; instead, he justified his deception by repeating the vagaries he told de Bona, that his book would be about “the social content of television.”
So Shapiro demonstrates once again how he is willing to lie to forward his right-wing agenda -- seemingly oblivious to the fact that those very same lies undermine him.