About half of Hillary Clinton’s supporters in 2016 didn’t have any close friends who supported Donald Trump. The result is that partisans tend to see the other party as actively harmful to the country.
.. Critiques predicated on making insincere claims to affect future behavior is referred to as “working the referees.” Social media companies aren’t as used to this tactic.
.. The video shows senior executives expressing frustration about Trump’s victory, certainly, but as Gizmodo notes, several of those executives are themselves immigrants. There’s no discussion about the company actively working to squelch opposing viewpoints through its technology. That’s simply presented by Parscale as an almost natural extension of the political views expressed by the company executives.
In other words, Parscale seems to be assuming (or is at least suggesting) that the executives’ views alone are evidence that the tools are biased against their political opponents.
.. If you assume that Democrats are all hyper-ideological and an active threat to the country, you’re probably less prone to give a Democrat (or, for that matter, a Trump critic) the benefit of the doubt that they’re acting objectively. Particularly when sources you trust are arguing constantly that those individuals’ actions aren’t objective and fair.
.. Does Attorney General Jeff Sessions truly think that tech companies are biased against conservatives? Is he simply working the refs? Is he trying to score much-needed points with his boss, for whom this is a regularly cited issue? It’s hard to say. Among rank-and-file Republicans, though, it’s likely that concern about and skepticism of the political left makes it much easier for them to assume that Google’s executives aren’t just lamenting Trump’s presidency on video but also actively trying to cripple it behind the scenes.
There’s an irony undergirding all of this, particularly Parscale’s tweet. During the 2016 campaign, Parscale ran the Trump team’s digital advertising efforts, which included spending tens of millions of dollars on Facebook ads, leveraging Facebook staff who embedded with the campaign to guide their strategy. Of all the ways in which Facebook directly and indirectly helped Trump win the presidency, none was more important than that ad-buying partnership, as Parscale well knows.
In other words, Parscale certainly knows how to work tech companies for Trump’s political benefit. In 2018, though, positioning those liberal-run companies as inherently biased is a better use of his political capital.
And even some former fans say Mr. Shapiro is a brilliant polemicist, but in a tribal nation, he’s just one more partisan mobilizing his troops.
“He’ll never concede anything to the left,” said William Nardi, a college student in Boston, who used to look up to Mr. Shapiro. “He’s saying the left is wrong and I’m right. Kids love that. All they care about is this feeling that they are right and that their identity is preserved. That’s what he gives them.”
.. Mr. French calls Mr. Shapiro a “principled gladiator.” His aggressive tone draws in audiences, he said, but he does not attack unfairly, stoke anger for the sake of it, or mischaracterize his opponents’ positions. He even hits his own side, as he did with Sean Hannity for not weighing in on Roy S. Moore, the embattled Alabama Republican, and Mr. Bannon for supporting him.
“He appeals to the better angels of his audience’s nature, while still being a pugilist, and that’s quite a skill,” Mr. French said.
.. He is less established than Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, but his audience is younger. And instead of hunkering down in a studio, Mr. Shapiro travels the country, speaking at colleges
.. “So often I’ve felt turning on Fox, it makes you dumber, but you listen to Ben Shapiro and you are likely to be both entertained and enlightened,” said Charlie Sykes
.. People often discover Mr. Shapiro by seeing a video clip of him arguing with somebody.
.. He is often compared to his former colleague at Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos. On the surface, they seem the same. Both speak on college campuses. Both draw protests. Both used to work for Mr. Bannon at Breitbart. Both are young.
.. Mr. Yiannopoulos, a protégé of Mr. Bannon, was good at shocking audiences, saying things like “feminism is cancer.” But critics say that he was empty of ideas, a kind of nihilistic rodeo clown who was not even conservative. Mr. Shapiro broke with Mr. Bannon last year, saying Breitbart had become a propaganda tool for Mr. Trump.
Mr. Yiannopoulos’s act collapsed this year. But the fact that it lasted so long says a lot about the right’s fury against mainstream liberalism, Mr. Shapiro said.
.. Years of cultural dominance in TV, movies, comedy, media and to a large extent, universities, left conservatives feeling looked down on and labeled. Mr. Shapiro, who still lives in Los Angeles, wrote a book about it, “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.” Add to that economic frustration, and taboos around race, gender and sexual orientation, and you start to explain Mr. Limbaugh’s explosive success 20 years ago.
.. “Trump won the nomination because he was anti-left, not because of any political viewpoints,
.. He thinks it’s easy to provoke the left, which he says has become intellectually flabby after decades of cultural dominance. It’s not good at arguing and relies instead on taboos and punishing people who violate them. That is the essence of his stump speech.
.. Even if straight white males are low on the left’s pecking order, they have most of the power in Washington, in statehouses, in every corporate boardroom. They run America.
.. “I am trying to militantly defend conservative ideas,” he said. “I’m not going to be anti-left for the sake of it.”
Roger Ailes launched Fox News with a simple but effective premise: most news outlets were liberal, and most Americans were not.
.. He was known for ruthlessness
.. Sean Hannity, whose show airs at 10 p.m., has propagated wild theories about the murder of a Democratic National Committee staffer; on Tuesday night, after an outcry (and an embarrassing foxnews.com retraction), Hannity said he would desist.
.. Part of the genius of the network was that its existence, and its unabashed pugnacity, reliably incited outrage from other, avowedly nonpartisan media outlets, thereby reinforcing the network’s own message. By criticizing the “liberal” media, Fox News set the bait; any outlet that tried to rebut this criticism was, in a twisted way, corroborating it.
.. It is true that there were plenty of good reasons to ridicule and excoriate Fox News. But, even so, these responses only widened the partisan divide that made Fox News so successful.
.. Ailes’s strategy might have inspired his competitors to copy him.
.. But in the end, of course, MSNBC responded to Fox News by becoming a decidedly liberal news network instead, using the form that Ailes pioneered
.. This may require a more aggressive approach: a more intense focus on the leakers in the Administration, for instance, coupled with a claim that the various investigations into Trump constitute a perversion of democracy.
.. But it’s clear that the underfed audience that Ailes identified is as hungry as ever. It’s not hard to imagine that Fox News will find a way to keep feeding it.