Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro conceded he was “DESTROYED” after walking out of an ill-tempered interview with BBC interrogator-in-chief Andrew Neil.
Shapiro, a popular YouTube pundit perhaps best known for fan video compilations in which he is purported to “DESTROY” various left-wingers with “FACTS and LOGIC”, clashed with the British journalist in an interview on the Politics Live programme.
Neil challenged Shapiro on a variety of issues, including his former #NeverTrump stance on the U.S. President, support for new “heartbeat” anti-abortion legislation in Georgia, and comments alleging “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage” in Palestine — eventually triggering Shapiro into telling Neil, “I’m popular and no-one has ever heard of you”.
“I don’t give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you,” he repeated to the 69-year-old shortly afterwards, before terminating the interview as a “waste of time”.
The pair also touched upon Mr Shapiro’s former employment by Breitbart, which Shapiro claims to have left in protest over Breitbart’s mischaracterized handling of an incident involving a Breitbart reporter and a member of the Trump campaign.
Mr Shapiro did not, however, mention that prior to his resignation from Breitbart, he had already staked a “Never Trump” position and started a competing website with undisclosed backing from Never Trumpers Dan and Farris Wilks.
— Rob Burley (@RobBurl) May 10, 2019
Neil and Shapiro had a particularly testy exchange on the subject of abortion, with Neil forced to explain that “My job is to question those who have strong views and put an alternative to them; if you were [a pro-abortion] person I would be putting [anti-abortion] questions to you” after playing Devil’s Advocate with respect to whether or not the aforementioned Georgian legislation represented a return to “the dark ages”.
“Why don’t you just say that you’re on the left? Is this so hard for you? Can’t you just be honest?” Shapiro demanded.
“Mr Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is, you wouldn’t have said it,” Neil responded.
British broadcasting rules differ from American broadcasting rules in that a greater degree of “balance” is required, with the publicly-funded BBC, in particular, being subject to impartiality requirements by its charter.
It is true that the corporation is generally regarded as having a left-liberal bias, with panels often appearing to be stacked against Brexit supporters, for example, and anchors seemingly more willing to interrupt Brexit-supporting or right-leaning guests, and sometimes appearing to inject their own beliefs into the discourse.
Andrew Neil, however, is something of a rarity in that he has a firm background in right-wing journalism — and is often accused of right-wing bias by the British left — having been a champion of free market ideology during his early newspaper career, and serving as chairman of the conservative Spectator magazine today.
.@afneil DESTROYS Ben Shapiro! So that's what that feels like ;)
Broke my own rule, and wasn't properly prepared. I've addressed every single issue he raised before; see below. Still, it's Neil 1, Shapiro 0. https://t.co/UAtAUtIWtO
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 10, 2019
Shapiro appeared to realise he has misjudged his interlocutor shortly after terminating their discussion, tweeting: “Just pre-taped an interview with BBC’s [Andrew Neil]. As I’m not familiar with him or his work, I misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism (he termed the pro-life position in America “barbaric”) – and that was apparently inaccurate. For that, I apologize.”
He appeared to further concede that he had been on the losing end of the exchange overall in a subsequent social media post, tweeting: “[Andrew Neil] DESTROYS Ben Shapiro! So that’s what that feels like ;) Broke my own rule, and wasn’t properly prepared. I’ve addressed every single issue he raised before; see below. Still, it’s Neil 1, Shapiro 0.”