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The Economist posts retraction after wrongly calling Ben Shapiro an 'alt-right sage'


Shapiro has been a vocal critic of the 'alt-right'

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Economist changed a headline, deleted a tweet, and posted a retraction after initially — and wrongly — referring to conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro as an "alt-right sage."

Shapiro has been staunchly critical of the "alt-right." The changes were made only after the publication was hit by widespread criticism for its mislabeling.

Wait, what happened?

The Economist published an interview with Shapiro on Thursday, in which they discussed his views on the importance of Western Civilization. Shapiro's latest book, "The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great" is currently the No. 1 New York Times best-seller in the non-fiction category.

This article's headline called Shapiro an "alt-right sage without the rage" and the text of the article referred to him as a "pop-idol of the alt-right." "Alt-right" is a term used to describe conspiracy theorists and racists who profess to be part of conservatism while holding beliefs ideologically opposed to conservatism itself. Members of this group are also often anti-Semitic.

Image source: Twitter screenshot

After facing intense backlash, the Economist changed its headline and deleted the tweet included in the screenshot above this text.

The article also now starts with a editor's note that reads:

This article has been changed. A previous version mistakenly described Mr Shapiro as an "alt-right sage" and "a pop idol of the alt right". In fact, he has been strongly critical of the alt-right movement. We apologise.

However, even with this editor's note, the article still says that Shapiro's outlet, the Daily Wire, caters "to hyperventilating conservatives."

Shapiro has responded

In a tweet, Shapiro commented on the headline change, saying that their new label of "radical conservative" for him was "defensible." He said that the outlet's accusations that he was "alt-right" were "disgusting" and "defamation." He noted that the very book he was interviewed about contains numerous criticisms of the "alt-right."

Shapiro also said that "alt-right" people were "so evil I literally hire security to walk me to shul on Shabbat," and that if anyone wanted to lump him in with them they could "go straight to hell."

The Daily Wire wrote in response that "[t]he very idea that Shapiro would be termed alt-right is preposterous."

Other conservatives also rushed to Shapiro's defense, including the National Review's David French, who called it a "vile smear" and pointed out that Shapiro had been threatened by members of the "alt-right."

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