Economist Apologizes to Ben Shapiro After Headline Smear

Economist Apologizes to Ben Shapiro After Headline Smear
Ben Shapiro, American conservative political commentator and editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, speaks during CPAC 2018 in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 22, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The Economist magazine apologized to popular conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for smearing him in a headline.

Shapiro spoke with the magazine and it published the interview under the headline: “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, the alt-right sage without the rage.”

Shapiro, who is Jewish, quickly hit back, noting that the “alt-right” descriptor didn’t apply to him.

“This is a vile lie. Not only am I not alt-right, I am probably their leading critic on the right. I was the number one target of their hate in 2016 online according to ADL data. I demand a retraction,” Shapiro said on Twitter.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves for that garbage headline and description. To call yourselves a journalistic outlet and then botch this one so badly is astonishing,” he added.

Technically “alt-right” refers to people who are outside the conservative mainstream, such as neo-Nazis, but it’s increasingly wielded by leftist publications and commentators as a smear against any conservative or conservative idea they don’t like.

Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and a popular podcast host, then shared links that document his criticisms of the alt-right, including criticism he issued after the Charlottesville clashes between some alt-right groups and radical leftist groups, including Antifa.

He also noted that in his recently published New York Times bestseller, “The Right Side of History,” he criticized alt-right groups.

The Economist later deleted the tweet that it used to promote the article and changed the headline, adding an editor’s note to the top of the article.

The headline now reads: “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, a radical conservative.”

Shapiro also criticized the new characterization but said that it was “at least defensible.”

The Economist said that the description of Shapiro was a “mistak[e].”


Shapiro shared a number of reactions from others who agreed The Economist got it wrong.

“To give just one example of why it’s crazy to lump @benshapiro in with the alt-right, actual [alt-right] leader Richard Spencer told me identity politics are a *good thing* or at least an improvement over conservatism’s love of markets and individual freedom,” wrote Reason editor Robby Soave.

“Fellow liberals, using words like “alt-right” to describe someone like @benshapiro is laughable & only works against you. Stop it,” added science journalist Dr. Debra Soh.

“In case you‘re not following this at the moment, there‘s *suddenly* a slew of smears, accusations, conspiracy theories, rumors & lies exploding against the non-institutional anti-alt-right who also just happen to be opposed to authoritarian social engineering. An amazing example,” wrote Eric Weinstein, managing director at Thiel Capital.

“They deleted the slanderous title calling @benshapiro ‘alt-right’ & replaced it with ‘radical.’ So standing up for free markets, individual liberty & moral virtue is ‘radical?’ This is a click-bait title,” wrote U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas). “Disappointing coming from a paper like @TheEconomist.”

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