Popular conservative news and commentary site the Daily Wire is celebrating their five year anniversary with the announcement of a new editor-in-chief, the company's co-CEO Jeremy Boreing told TheBlaze in a phone and email conversation Monday.
What are the details?
Ben Shapiro, the prominent conservative commentator and co-founder of the Daily Wire, will be stepping aside from his role as editor-in-chief and entering into a new role as editor emeritus.
Shapiro, who hosts the largest conservative podcast in the country, "The Ben Shapiro Show," will remain a part owner of the site as well as the site's featured talent, but will no longer drive its editorial direction.
Replacing Shapiro is John Bickley, who according to Boreing has been with the site since its launch as a writer and editor — and most recently as supervising editor — under the pseudonym, "James Barrett."
Boreing added that the move has been in the works for some time as Bickley has been performing the essential duties of the role for roughly the past two years. Now what has been the reality of day-to-day operations is being formalized in title.
Shapiro said in a statement: "John Bickley isn't just a tremendous editor and writer, he's a principled conservative and an honest human being. I can't think of anyone better to take over as EIC, and I look forward to seeing the new, exciting editorial direction of the site."
In an email, Bickley stated that he is committed to the Daily Wire's goal of becoming "the biggest alternative media company and counter-cultural outlet for news, opinion, and entertainment in the nation."
He added that he is motivated, like Shapiro, by a philosophy of "facts over feelings," and said, "that's never going to change."
Since its founding in 2015, the Daily Wire has become a go-to website for conservative news and commentary. In just five years, the site has amassed 3.85 billion page-views and 136,000 paid subscribers, Boreing told TheBlaze.
Much of the site's success is owed to a massive social media presence.
"Since inception, The Daily Wire has accumulated over 30 million followers, 3 billions video views, and 180 million hours of video watched across all our platforms," said the site's executive vice president, Jon Lewis, in a statement.
The success has caused some on the left to suspect foul play. Judd Legum, who now runs the political newsletter, Popular Information, has published a series of articles alleging the "dirty secret" to Daily Wire's success is a sprawling paid content sharing scheme on Facebook.
Legum, a one-time Hillary Clinton campaign staffer who formerly worked for the progressive news site ThinkProgress, alleges that the site's partnership with pages that "exploit racism, religious bigotry, and violence" is unfairly driving traffic to the site.
Boreing told TheBlaze that the site was unaware they were in violation, but after receiving notice from Facebook, they immediately cut ties with Mad World News and ended the referral program.
In a statement, Boreing said: "Referral traffic is certainly not one of the keys to our success, or whatever Legum is suggesting. Our relationship with Mad World is worth barely 1% of our traffic the last three months. Are we aggressive as a company? Yes. Does 1% make an impact? Of course. Does it equal 'the reason for the other 99% of our success?' Of course not. We try to play by the rules. When Facebook pointed out that this form of referral relationship violates their standards, we immediately stopped. I'm sure Legum will be happy to report on how we continue to succeed."
Boreing provided TheBlaze with screenshots of the Daily Wire's Google Analytics which did in fact show that referral traffic from Mad World only accounted for 1.01% of total traffic to the site.