Ben Shapiro just shot to the top of my reading list

One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in I don’t know how long is Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.  The book’s beauty rests on two solid pillars.  The first is that Ben, who is so sweet-faced he looks as if he couldn’t hurt a fly, got liberal TV producers, writers, and directors to speak openly about the fact that they intended their TV shows — all of which were sold to the public as entertainment and all of which were, indeed, entertaining — to be propaganda vehicles for Leftist ideology.

By getting these detailed quotations, Shapiro ensures that his book cannot be dismissed as the ranting of a conspiracy theorist who sees Communism’s evil hand in Hollywood’s every move.  There’s no conspiracy here.  Instead, there’s a smiling confession from Hollywood power brokers who detail their goals and the way in which they used our television sets to achieve those goals.

Benjamin Shapiro, from his Facebook page

The second pillar on which the book rests is Shapiro’s own writing style:  he’s easy to read.  His writing style is utterly straight-forward, although never boring.  Reading the book, I had the sense that I was a participant in a delightful conversation with an informed, witty friend who was fleshing out for me something I’d only noted vaguely before.

My only problem with Shapiro’s writing — and this reflects badly on me, not on him — is that I’m incredibly jealous that someone so young has such a mature, informed world view, and that he is able to convey it so well to others.  Despite having a few decades on him, I’m still a work-in-progress, but he’s a precociously sophisticated, intelligent voice.

I just purchased Shapiro’s latest book, Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans.  The title, of course, is self-explanatory.  I suspect that it will be a perfect companion piece to Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.  Intellectual bullying and cheating are, after all, the yin and yang of Leftist discourse.

I have some other books I’ve been meaning to read, so I’d originally put Bullies in the middle of my reading list.  I’ve shuffled my list around, though, thanks to Shapiro’s masterful engagement with CNN’s resident bully, Piers Morgan.  Currently, the video is one of those autoplay videos, so I won’t include it here.  However, now that you’re warned about that autoplay, you can go here to see Shapiro reduce a bully to a quivering mass of incoherence.

Shapiro facing down Morgan

Shapiro’s ability to reduce Morgan so completely matters, not just because it’s gratifying to see a bully beaten at his own game, but also because it helps shift the discourse.  At Shapiro’s own Breitbart, Joel Pollak articulates Shapiro’s significant victory:

Ben Shapiro’s confident, fact-packed demolition of CNN’s Piers Morgan last night marks the turning point in the gun control debate. Ben showed that when they cannot exploit the deaths of children, gun control advocates are forced to defend their views, which are based on faulty premises. That timely reminder has given new energy and enthusiasm to defenders of the Second Amendment, who are preparing for the mother of all battles.


Ben put into practice something that Andrew Breitbart preached throughout his career of battling the mainstream media: Question the premise, whether it’s an assertion that you don’t care about the victims of Sandy Hook, or a faulty definition of Critical Race Theory, or that Barack Obama is a nice guy who only wants America to succeed. Ben destroyed the faulty premise of the gun control debate last night. And the debate is now changed.

Question the premise.  What a great idea.  I took that tack in an earlier post I did today challenging the phrase “gun control,” which presupposes that guns should be controlled, and leaves the scope of that control as the only question.  The correct premise after Sandy Hook is to examine what steps we can take to make our country safer — and the data shows that depriving law-abiding citizens of their constitutional access to arms not only doesn’t make our country safer, it makes it more dangerous.  If you operate from the correct premise, you are able to use the correct information, and reach an accurate conclusion.

Right now, the only problem is that the Left fully understands that Shapiro is a lethal weapon aimed at the heart of shoddy Leftist thinking.  They’ve responded in predictable fashion, by burying Shapiro’s appearance on Morgan’s show.  They might have celebrated Alex Jones (“Can you believe how unstable this gun advocate is?”), but Shapiro has achieved Voldemortian status, by becoming he who shall not be named.  As Rush Limbaugh said just today during the few minutes I was able to catch his show, the media’s overriding ethos is that it’s only news if it harms Republicans.  No other news is fit to print.

The fact that Shapiro is not only willing to take on a bully, but also perfectly equipped to do so means that, rather than merely looking forward to reading his book, I’m positively lusting after it (in a purely intellectual way, of course).  I suspect that, if it’s as easily accessible as Primetime Propaganda, I’ll be able to read it quickly and review it soon.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Shapiro was AWESOME! 
    He totally “Breitbarted” Morgan (a new term for the conservative warrior lexicon).
    Sadly, he will probably never get invited back on Liberal/Left Propaganda Media.

  • Zhombre

    I find it ironic that people in the movie & TV industry pride themselves on using the medium to advance their liberal social agenda and change opinions and attitudes (for example the spate of antiwar movies when Bush was POTUS, and the positive portrayals of gays esp, those in committed relationships), and can point to measurable success in that endeavor, I’m sure; but the flip side of the coin, the effects of violence in movies and video games on impressionable and often unstable youths, is categorically denied; and when confronted, like QT in a recent interview, these people get absolutely livid. 

  • Freddie Sykes

    Question their premise and make them define their vocabulary. Whoever gets to define the meaning of words, often wins. And finally, study fallacies: Morgan tried an Appeal to Authority. Shapiro answered “So?”

  • Oldflyer

    Agree wholeheartedly with the “question the premise” advice.  One of my peeves for some time is that Conservative spokes persons allow the other side to define the terms, and establish the premise of the discussion.
    Especially galling is the re-definition of terms to disguise the facts.  For me it started with the corruption of the word gay.  Why?  By what stretch of anyone’s imagination? 
    Lest I be written off as a homophobe, or in the corrupted vernacular of the day–anti-gay–there are many other examples of corrupted terms. An obvious one is “pro-choice”.  (The victim in an abortion event does not have a choice.)
    Well, enough of that.  Breitbart was on target.  Good for Shapiro, and I hope that others will follow his lead.

  • MorowbieJukes

    @Oldflyer – A deceased gay friend of mine told me on one occasion some years ago that he did not like the term ‘gay’.  He said he preferred the term “queer”.  He said that there was nothing gay about the lifestyle and that ‘queer’ was a term far more appropriate to the lifestyle. 

  • JohnC

    On the subject of the media defining the terms and establishing the premise of the discussion:

    I noticed something just yesterday. ‘The Newtown Shooting’, the ‘Newtown shooter’, ‘mass shootings’, etc… Always the word ‘shoot’ in every story about the murders. Why not ‘The Newtown Murders’? The ‘Newtown murderer’? ‘Mass murder’?

    No. We must always be reminded that the children weren’t just murdered, they were shot! The very name of the tragedy is meant to reinforce the idea that shooting equals dead children. Shooting is bad. Shooting is always bad. Can’t have shooting without guns. Therefore, guns are bad!

    “Words mean things.” The main stream media sets the narrative and drives it home.

  • Danny Lemieux

    More Orwellian language corruption in government and the media (but I repeat myself):
    Affordable Health Care Act
    American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
    Arbeit macht frei

  • phaedruscj

    Well put Ms Bookworm
    Mr Shapiro has not gone unoticed by other conservative sites.
    Unfortunately this makes Mr Shapiro a dangerous man for the left.
    Perhaps you should establish a pool for how long it will take the left to start their personal attacks on him through discovery of some terrible mistake made in his past life.

  • Mike

    Hi Book. It’s been awhile. Anyway this young man seems to be pretty smart although I can’t say I’ve been following to closely your site and other things for the last few months. Seems I have become hooked on G+ and also acquired a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 just before Christmas. I am getting your new emailings though and appreciate that as then I can take a leisurely peek at what’s happening.
    Anyway hope all is well out there in liberal land and you have a great year.
    “Semper Fi

  • BombthePeasants

    I’m going to buck the trend here, and say his effort was a bit lackluster, for this reason: He let Piers drag him down into the minutiae of the argument, such as stronger background checks, withholding rights for mentally ill and criminals, etc. I wish someone would strike at the heart of the liberal platform, and that’s the fallacy of “need”. Who in hell is anyone to say what it is that we need or don’t need? No one needs a motorcycle or a speedboat or lawn darts or a 4 gallon megaflush Atomic toilet, but who’s right is it to deny us these things based on “need”? The way I see it, this issue really goes down to Free Will. In their mind, the ordinary human being ultimately cannot control themselves, so it’s up to the enlightened few to dictate their “needs”. A man cannot control his sexual urges, so the women must dress in a full body scarf; sound familiar? I own several M1 Garands, which I don’t “NEED”, but I am a World War II buff, and I like the “PING” sound when the clip flies after the last round is fired. I am bitterly angry with people who would tell me that owning them should be against the law, after all I don’t “need” them. I am a Free Will being, a freeborn American male, and I resent any so-called “authority” dictating to me what I need or don’t need. Forgive me for the repetitiveness, it’s the visceral anger at tyranny that gets me riled up.

  • Ymarsakar

    Question and challenge the premise of the Left, which is that 1. they want to save the children (they really don’t, check out Chicago and New Orleans if you don’t believe me, both Democrat fiefdoms) and 2. they know what is best for the American people, and 3. they have the power and the right to do things to “fix” the issue.
    “There’s no conspiracy here.”
    Or rather, there is a conspiracy, but it’s something people refuse to accept, so they label it a fantasy, rather than take it seriously. Up until the tyranny boots them upside the head, that is. Then they take it seriously. The power of the Left knows no bounds and they operate not by the terrorist cellular principle but by the united common psychology of the mob and the death cult. That is to say, they do things as one single alliance and union, without necessarily organizing it within individual cells or across wide strategic groups.
    “Sadly, he will probably never get invited back on Liberal/Left Propaganda Media.”
    Which is always a credit to one’s moral and ethical virtues. The fact of the matter is, the Leftist alliance always knows who is evil and who is good. They deny the good, and accept the evil, that’s how you can tell. They are not the Left because I call them by their chosen name. They are the Left because they will kick your arse off if you aren’t evil like them or are a threat to said regime.