On the campus of Cal State LA on Tuesday, Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh offered the audience a chance to ask some questions after his speech on “the Left’s plan to redefine life marriage and gender.” Among those who lined up to talk with Walsh were some hecklers that are a part of an organized attempt led by an Alt-Right online personality to disrupt conservative events. The exchanges didn’t go well for the hecklers.
Walsh closed his speech by urging rational argumentation over being “intellectually lazy” and “hiding behind a fortress of ignorance while flinging labels at opponents.”
“Calling someone bigoted is not an argument,” he said. “Accusing them of homophobia or racism or sexism or transphobia, or any other -phobia or -ism you can think of, is not an argument — it is a tantrum. It is a way of shutting down debate, not engaging it. If someone has really put forth a bigoted argument, you should have no trouble disproving it. It should be very easy to do. If you can’t, then perhaps that means there’s more to that point of view than you think.”
The first person in line for the Q&A after Walsh’s speech was a formally dressed young man with a pre-written question focused on Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew.
“As a Christian, how do you get past working for someone who originally contributed to shaming the Covington Catholic kids by retweeting left-wing attacks and called Jesus a ‘Jewish rebel who tried to lead a revolt against Romans and got killed for his trouble’?” he asked.
“Wait, you’re telling me that my Jewish boss doesn’t believe that Jesus is the son of God?” Walsh responded in his trademark sarcasm. “My god, I’m scandalized by this! I had no idea.”
Walsh then helped the heckler out by phrasing his question more directly: “As a Christian, how do I justify working for someone who is not a Christian?” he said. “I find that to be a total non sequitur.”
“Who blasphemed Christ. That’s my main question,” the questioner interjected.
“Are you suggesting everyone who is not Christian is guilty of blasphemy?” Walsh asked.
“You are a Christian, and you are working for someone who blasphemed Christ, Jesus Christ,” the self-described Catholic questioner responded.
“Just to clarify, you’re not going to work for anyone who’s not Christian — that’s what you’re saying?” said Walsh.
When the questioner said “not if they publicly state” something blasphemous about Christ “to millions upon millions of people,” Walsh added sarcastically, “I promise, when I get back to the studio, I’m going to talk to Ben and tell him, ‘You must be a Christian right now,’ because that is unacceptable.”
“If you have worked for any non-Christian, then you have worked for people who feel exactly that same way about Jesus,” said Walsh. “Because there are 7 billion people on earth; 5 billion of them are not Christian.” Making employment decisions based on people’s lack of faith in Christ, said Walsh, is “totally absurd.”
The next questioner brought up the guy that is helping orchestrate the Alt-Right hecklers, who recently scoffed at estimates that some 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and who has been pounding his chest on his show about his followers crashing events, including a recent event featuring TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk.
“Recently you got into a little bit of a Twitter spat with [known Alt-Right leader],” said the second questioner. “You went on your show and called him a punk and said he became a neo-Nazi to get attention. You said if someone’s arguments are truly bigoted, they should be easy to disprove. So will you have a conversation with [the Alt-Right leader] and if not, isn’t that kind of the same thing you just said that we shouldn’t do, you know, labeling people to shut down conversations?”
Walsh responded by providing some context to his online dispute with the Alt-Righter.
“That little back and forth began because your buddy … went on his show, or whatever it is, having a tantrum — even though I hadn’t said anything to him,” Walsh explained. “I think what I had done is I had actually tweeted that the guy who killed a bunch of Mexicans was a racist piece of sh**. Which I stand by. For some reason, … that upset him. He didn’t like that — talk about blasphemy, I’d blasphemed a mass shooter. He went off on a rant, started calling me homophobic slurs, that I’m a race traitor because I work for Jews … ”
Walsh then addressed the questioner’s initial query: “Do I want to have a debate with him about whether I am those homophobic slurs or whether a race traitor working for Jews? No, I don’t think I need to debate with him — for the same reason I don’t need to debate a 6-year-old who’s crying because I took away the lollipop.”
WATCH (relevant section begins at around the 42:55-minute mark):
Shapiro and The Daily Wire have long been targets of the Alt-Right. A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that Shapiro was the number one target of the Alt-Right in 2016. The Daily Wire was one of the first outlets on the right to come out in unequivocal condemnation of the Alt-Right movement. As laid out in a piece by Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles in September 2016 (“An Actual Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right: 8 Things You Need To Know”), “racism is not a fringe element of the Alt-Right; it’s the movement’s central premise.” The movement focuses on “white identity” ideology, Knowles writes, and it’s leaders are “explicitly anti-Semitic,” as the leader of the heckler’s rhetoric demonstrates.
The Alt-Right, The Daily Wire has consistently maintained, “is not conservative; its leaders vociferously reject prominent conservative thinkers, ideas of human equality, core Judeo-Christian values, and the concept of America as a nation built on ideas, rather than racial or ethnic identity.”
The coordinated targeting of Walsh’s speech by Alt-Righters comes just days after the Boston Globe published a column smearing The Daily Wire as a “white supremacist-adjacent alt-right outpost.”
“Most recently we’ve seen Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stammering before a congressional committee as he tried to shove his proprietary cryptocurrency, Libra, into reality, but ended up hitting a wall as committee members grilled him over the company’s ‘say whatever’ to political advertising,” the article read. “In response, we saw him launch a repurposed ‘News’ section that sets up partnerships between the networks and a ‘wide range’ of publishers (including white supremacist-adjacent alt-right outposts like The Daily Wire — because … news?).”
Walsh was among those who publicly shamed the Boston Globe for printing the smear.
“Boston Globe calls the Daily Wire an ‘alt-right outpost.’ Meanwhile the alt-right despises everyone who works at the Daily Wire, has targeted all of us with harassment and hate mail, and is planning to sabotage our events. [Boston Globe] needs to delete this bullsh** and apologize,” wrote Walsh. “Before you call any of us alt-right, why don’t you idiots actually ask the alt-right if we’re on their team. They’ll tell you, emphatically, no.”
Before you call any of us alt-right, why don’t you idiots actually ask the alt-right if we’re on their team. They’ll tell you, emphatically, no.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 1, 2019
After backlash, the Boston Globe issued a correction. “Because of a reporting error, the @Large column in today’s Arts section, which is printed in advance, mischaracterizes the conservative media outlet The Daily Wire,” the correction reads. “Its founder, Ben Shapiro, has spoken out against the alt-right. The Globe regrets the error.”