On Friday night, Ben Shapiro gave a commanding performance, taking MSNBC's Malcom Nance to task during a debate on Real Time with Bill Maher. Social media erupted with support for Shapiro, but Nance couldn't take the loss, and blamed support for Shapiro on "bot tweets." During the debate, Shapiro had ample opportunity to point out the lack of facts in Nance's comments.
Nance spoke against the Capitol riot of January 6, saying "let's talk about bare facts. I mean you're talking about a guy, Donald Trump, who literally tried to suborn, y'know, who has probably suborned perjury, in order to overthrow a duly elected government. And managed to mobilize 40,000 people to lay siege to the Capitol, and there were over a thousand or more, entered the building, destroyed the building, fought, physically, law enforcement there in order to stop American democracy."
"That is authoritarianism," he said. "He can't say 'some guys are writing on Twitter and they made, y'know, Shaun King want to sell his house. That's... just gossip. Twitter will not kill you unless you use that social pressure to achieve an action on the street."
"A couple of quick things," Shapiro countered. "One, 40,000 did not actually assault the Capitol. That's factually inaccurate, there were maybe 1,000 people. That is not making light of the evil of those people who will end up rotting in prison, as they should."
"How many people came to that rally?" Nance asked.
"Were all of those people assaulting the Capitol?" Shapiro asked. "Is that your contention?"
"They all marched on the Capitol," Nance said.
"It's just inaccurate, Malcolm," Shapiro said. He took aim at Nance, saying that he has a "terrible habit of conflating people who do actual violent activity, with a broader rubric of everyone, for example, who voted for Trump, which was 75 million people. And that really is ugly. You've tweeted about me for example, that I'm such a racist I shouldn't be allowed in Washington, DC. That sounds rather authoritarian in attitude to me. I've never called for you to be kicked off of MSNBC, I've never called for anybody not to buy your book."
Shapiro was spoke about his book The Authoritarian Moment, which details the the extraordinary devolution of American liberalism into authoritarianism. Nance took aim at the title.
"It's a nice title for his book, and I think a lot of people who would assume that he's talking about real authoritarianism could be trapped into giving you $28.99," quipped Nance, making Shapiro's point plain.
Nance, a former officer in the US Navy and a contributing analyst on MSNBC, is a proponent of critical race theory, which Shapiro has roundly slammed. Nance had also made the news earlier this year as it was revealed that he had once injudiciously called for someone to "suicide-bomb" a Trump-owned property.
From almost the moment the show aired, debate ensued on social media over who had gotten the best of whom. But for Nance, support of Shapiro was entirely due to "bot tweets." This as many proclaimed Shapiro the decided winner of their confrontation.
Some went as far as to say that Maher should never have "given Shapiro a platform." Shapiro seems to have a big enough platform, in fact, by some metrics, he has a greater following on his own than Maher himself:
Shapiro spoke about the debate with Nance, saying "Tonight, Americans will see the reason the left plays semantic games when it comes to critical race theory: because when advocates for CRT are confronted with the overt racism of the program, they can't defend it."
"If we're going to talk about authoritarianism, we must look at who holds institutional power. The simple fact is that the left controls the commanding heights of our media, social media, corporate world, scientific institutions, and bureaucracy — as well as the House, Senate, and presidency, at least for now," Shapiro said.
"Americans can feel the danger of creeping authoritarianism each and every day, from evidence-free mask mandates to social media crackdowns on dissent to admittedly unconstitutional edicts from the White House.
"As I made clear tonight on Bill Maher's show, if the Democrats think their authoritarianism won't hurt them politically, they're going to be shocked by next year's midterm results."
Daily Wire CEO and co-founder Jeremy Boreing said "Ben dominated the debate because he argued with facts. Nance played semantic games and smeared half the country as racist. I guess that’s what pays the bills on the left."
"Good on Maher and HBO for hosting voices with whom they disagree," Boreing went on. "That takes guts in this climate."
In the episode, Shapiro also succinctly broke down a definition of just what critical race theory is, saying that it "essentially argues that racism is baked into all the systems in American society, and that any sort of neutral system is in fact a guise for racial power."