Slate has an interview with conservative book publisher Eric Nelson that made me chuckle:
Broadside publishes Ben Shapiro's book. What has the response to that been?
His new book is called The Authoritarian Moment, discussing deplatforming. And he is a very well-known guy who is not going to be invited on anything mainstream. We already know all the media that could possibly be willing to have him. It would be nice to think that you could get him on a morning show, even for an unfriendly interview, and they're just not going to do it because there's not enough upside.
Plenty of people think Ben Shapiro shouldn't be invited on any kind of show.
Exactly. Shapiro is thought of by the right as moderate in many ways, basically the way that maybe Ezra Klein is thought of on the left. But the difference is, if Ben and Ezra each decided to have each other on as guests, Ben's audience would say, "Oh, man, you really showed it to Ezra!" And Ezra would lose 100 percent of his audience if he didn't then spend at least two weeks on a listening tour of the people he had hurt and expressing profuse apologies for allowing Ben the platform of speaking with Ezra.
The left is continually saying, all these people over here are too far to the right. They've been carving those people off for so long that now they're carving off Matt Yglesias and Glenn Greenwald. And the right is embracing them. Ben Shapiro is such a frequent target because he's the farthest person to the right that the left is willing to pay attention to. So while there are people on, you know, Newsmax and OAN with far more controversial opinions, liberals would much rather go after someone fairly mainstream and conservative than someone pretty far to the right.
I was trying to think through what exactly made me chuckle about that passage. After all, the narrowness of the limits of discourse might be something to react to with anger or frustration rather than a laugh. What made me laugh was the line about "Ezra would lose 100 percent of his audience if he didn't then spend at least two weeks on a listening tour of the people he had hurt and expressing profuse apologies for allowing Ben the platform." Who would you rather be—the guy not invited on the morning show, or the guy who if he has the other guy on the show, he has to go on a two-week-long apology tour? For sure, one wishes the world were such that that were not the choice. But if that is the choice—well, I know my answer.