One month after the Sandy Hook shooting, Ben Shapiro undid the liberal anti-gun argument on live TV.
It was a time of mourning, but Democrats had made guns control the topic du jour. Liberal CNN host Piers Morgan was their hatchet man, and invited Shapiro on his show likely hoping to score an easy win for the anti-gun side.
Instead, Shapiro dismantled Morgan – and by extension, leftist anti-gun rhetoric – by being calm and cogent, and by using Morgan’s bias against him.
The video of the exchange has gained millions of views on YouTube, but the key scene comes right at the beginning, as Morgan tries to put Shapiro on the defensive – and fails.
“So why am I off the rails, Mr. Shapiro?” Morgan asks, flipping his head up condescendingly, referring to a column Shapiro had written.
“You’ve kind of been a bully on [guns],” Shapiro replies, calmly. “What you tend to do is you tend to demonize people who differ from you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook saying that they don’t seem to care enough about these dead kids.
“I think we can have a rational political conversation about balancing the risks and rewards of all these different [gun control] policies, but I don’t think what we need to do is demonize people on the other side as being unfeeling.”
His success in that Jan. 10, 2013 debate revealed the hollowness and political opportunism of anti-gun Democrats (and of Morgan) and lifted Shapiro’s profile.
“For a lot of folks, it was sort of a turning point, politically,” Shapiro recalled recently. “In the aftermath of the 2012 election, so many people were depressed and upset. Obama jumped on [Sandy Hook] and used it as an opportunity for political browbeating.”
Shapiro still receives positive emails and tweets about the exchange.
Now, Shapiro is bringing his unique rhetorical voice to Seattle. Today, his weekday afternoon show debuts on KTTH. Though only 29, Shapiro has been working in national conservative media since age 17, when he began writing a syndicated column. He has earned a reputation as a fair, intellectually curious social and fiscal conservative.
He’s looking forward to working in Seattle, especially, for its thoughtfulness.
“It’s a thinking market,” he says. “I like being in areas that tend to be more left leaning because I like the debate.”
Growing up conservative
In an ironic bit of foreshadowing, there is a video on YouTube of Shapiro in 1996 at age 12 playing violin at the Israeli Bonds Banquet. The man who introduces Shapiro is Larry King, whose show on CNN Piers Morgan took over in 2010.
Even at 12, Shapiro knew he was a conservative, and was interested in politics. As King announces in the video, Shapiro had aspirations to be the first Orthodox Jewish U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Shapiro grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home that was conservative on social issues, and on Israel. But his parents did not force him to think rightward. He made sure to study the views he held.
“I grew up doing my own research,” he said. “I always thought it was important to know the basis for my beliefs.”
Incredibly precocious, Shapiro entered UCLA at age 16, a decidedly liberal institution that challenged – or perhaps mocked – his conservative ideals. During one of his first classes, the professor showed an illustration of a fat man urinating on a crowd of poor people with the caption, “trickledown economics.”
Experiences like that inspired Shapiro’s first book, “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.” The book documents liberal bias at American universities. It was published in 2004 at the urging of David Limbaugh, Rush’s brother.
“Brainwashed” touched a nerve, selling well, and was perhaps the first book to document liberal bias at college since National Review founder William J. Buckley Jr.’s “God and Man at Yale” from 1951.
“It surprised me at the time for sure,” Shapiro said at the success of the book. “It wasn’t like we paid for heavy publicity.”
For his next work, Shapiro wrote “Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting Our Future,” a book dripping with outrage at an American generation addicted to sex and drugs and enabled by liberalism.
“Shapiro cleverly examines the not-so-subtle inundation of today’s youth with the mixed bag garbage that the mainstream media attempts to force feed it,” wrote one “Porn Generation” reviewer on Amazon.com.
A rightly friendship
At UCLA, Shapiro wrote for the UCLA Daily Bruin, and his work drew the attention of a then-lowly minion of Matt Drudge named Andrew Breitbart. The two young SoCal conservatives met, and struck up a friendship that would last 11 years, until Breitbart’s death in March 2012.
“We met at greasy taco joint in Westwood, he ate tacos, and I starved – because I keep kosher,” he remembered.
After UCLA, Shapiro continued his career in conservative media while furthering his education. He entered Harvard Law School in 2005, and simultaneously wrote two books, “Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House,” and “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.”
The publishing of “Primetime Propaganda” gelled with Shapiro’s appointment in 2011 as a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, founded in 1988 by Horowitz to “establish a conservative presence in Hollywood” and “[combat] the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values.”
Also during this time, Shapiro was appointed editor-at-large at Breitbart.com, a post he still holds today.
It was near the time of the now-famous Piers Morgan debate that Shapiro published his latest book, “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans.” The thesis of the book is that the main political and rhetorical tactic of the left is to make conservatives look evil, which is exactly what Morgan tried to do to Shapiro.
“Ben Shapiro shows once and for all that the left is the single greatest source of bullying in modern American life,” wrote Sean Hannity in a review of the book.
Drawn to Seattle
That debate with Piers Morgan sums up the essence of Shapiro’s media personality. He’s willing to engage, think, talk, and, if necessary, fight. He welcomes Seattle’s overt liberalism, and looks forward to the challenge of being a thinker in such a blue place.
If Charles Krauthammer is a thinker and Rush Limbaugh is a fighter, Ben Shapiro is their intellectual son.
“Seattle is known for having an intellectual bent, as a place where people consider their arguments and philosophies – I’m looking forward to moving into that area.
“I like being in areas that tend to be more left leaning because I like the debate.”
Refugees a threat to culture? The Dalai Lama thinks soAugust 17, 2016
Trump a 'no-show' on our showAugust 17, 2016
Ted Cruz compares Congress to 'The Godfather' moviesMay 2, 2016v
Trump's California campaign manager says nomination nearly clinchedApril 27, 2016The Republican presidential front-runner’s California campaign manager, Tim Clark, told “Armstrong and Getty” that the upcoming primary in Indiana might be the final tipping point, if it hasn’t already happened.
How much is GOP leadership willing to rewrite the rules to block Donald Trump?March 23, 2016The first rule of the Republican Convention is there are no rules. But Tim Carney, senior political columnist for the Washington Examiner, wonders how much Republican leadership is willing to bend this year in order to block Donald Trump from winning the nomination.
Are body cameras just be another way for the government to humiliate you?March 17, 2016There are plenty of potential benefits to officers wearing body cameras, but Jack Armstrong worries that it might just be another way for the government to humiliate you.
Todd Herman: My promises to the listeners of KTTHSeptember 1, 2015Might we start our relationship with some promises from me to you?
Ben Shapiro explains his departure from AM 770 KTTHAugust 20, 2015
Ben Shapiro announces he's leaving AM 770 KTTHAugust 19, 2015
Tim Eyman turns in signatures for most 'destructive initiative yet'July 10, 2015Tim Eyman's latest campaign could place legislators in a tough position if passed later this year.
Catastrophic climate change in Seattle?July 10, 2015Michael Medved asks does sunny summer weather mean catastrophic climate change?
The Constitution had nothing to do with itJuly 1, 2015The worst part of the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is the failure to connect this decision to the Constitution.
Honor heritage with the right flagJuly 10, 2015Michael Medved says why not honor the South by flying the flag under which Southerners fought heroically in all our wars
Good news: We'll all get to fire Donald TrumpJune 17, 2015Michael Medved says the bottom line is, do you really want this Donald Trump's finger on the nuclear trigger?
The key target of Hillary's campaign: White womenJune 14, 2015Clinton's campaign remains confident because of their candidate's strength among one crucial group in the electorate.
Media distortions fuel spike in murdersJune 11, 2015Medved says a focus on police shootings involving black males served to spread false idea cops are threat to black people.
Michael Medved announces he's cancer-freeJune 3, 2015Four months after announcing to his listeners he was battling stage three throat cancer, Michael Medved announced he's officially cancer-free.
Worries over government shutdown are sillyJune 9, 2015David Boze says get ready to be angry, specifically at the state Legislature
Blunting the Democrats' 'youth advantage'June 2, 2015The recent Democratic winning streak in presidential elections connects directly to the "youth advantage"
Freedom Series - The First 100 Days Michael Medved, Todd Herman, Chairman of the King County Republican Party Lori Sotelo, and Former State Representative, County Councilman, and GOP State Chairman Chris Vance debate President Trump's first 100 Days at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.
Fight for white house
Audio: The Fight For the White House Ben Shapiro, Michael Medved and David Boze analyze the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls, with an eye towards who can best take back the White House and defeat Hillary Clinton. Moderated by Jason Rantz.
KTTH gun rights debate
Video: Gun rights debate In KTTH’s third Freedom Series Debate, hosts Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved sat down with KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross and Ralph Fascitelli, President of Washington Ceasefire, to take on initiatives 594 and 591 and other gun rights issues.
KTTH religious freedom debate
Video: Religious freedom debate Watch the debate between Ben Shapiro, James Wellman, Valerie Tarico, Rev. Monica Corsaro, and Michael Medved.
KTTH Debate Video
Video: Minimum wage debate Watch the debate between host Ben Shapiro and Socialist Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.
Real Estate Corner
Robin's Real Estate Reality Talk We are in a very unique market. Right now our area is showing signs of recovery. We are moving in a positive direction and gaining equity though are ways off from where we were in 2006 and 2007.