BuzzFeed News was widely criticized on Sunday for publishing an article claiming conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro radicalized a white nationalist who ultimately pleaded guilty to defacing a synagogue with Nazi symbolism.
“Yes, if there’s one thing I’m known for — as one of the most prominent Orthodox Jews, targets of the alt-right, and critics of the alt-right in America — it’s directing Nazis to attack synagogues,” Shapiro responded to BuzzFeed News in a Twitter post.
Yes, if there’s one thing I’m known for — as one of the most prominent Orthodox Jews, targets of the alt-right, and critics of the alt-right in America — it’s directing Nazis to attack synagogues. What garbage. https://t.co/ckuIO5kEc0
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 26, 2019
Nolan Brewer, 21, was sentenced to three years in prison on May 22 for conspiring to violate the civil rights of a synagogue in Indiana, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Brewer and his 17-year-old wife spray painted Nazi flags and iron crosses on the property and a lit some ground on fire.
BuzzFeed News published an article days later in which Nolan’s defense attorneys, seeking a lighter sentence for their client, blamed his teenage wife for radicalizing her husband.
“According to Nolan, she began with rightwing yet mainstream views such as those presented on Fox News. She then moved on to writing by Ben Shapiro and articles on Breitbart News which bridged the gap to the notorious white supremacist and anti-Semititc [sic] propaganda site Stormfront,” Nolan’s defense stated.
The article received massive backlash for claiming Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew who routinely condemns the alt-right, inspired a member of the alt-right to attack Jews.
“F**k you, [BuzzFeed News]. Imagine, if you would, that we’re talking about a jihadi; they wouldn’t want to dig too deeply into his reading material, certainly,” tweeted David Reaboi, a national security and political warfare expert. “Of course it’s not about [Shapiro] — it’s about making even the most mainstream conservative voices akin to Nazism.”
Reeboi wasn’t alone.
Pathetic hit piece. Nazi inspired by an Orthodox Jew? This is why Buzzfeed is barely hanging on to relevance and a functioning business model. https://t.co/mkBmDDai2D
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) May 26, 2019
“Pathetic hit piece. Nazi inspired by an Orthodox Jew?” Seattle radio host Jason Rantz tweeted. “This is why Buzzfeed is barely hanging on to relevance and a functioning business model.”
The self-described “Imam of Peace,” Mohamad Tawhidi, also chimed in to mock BuzzFeed.
“Yes that sounds right, Jewish [Shapiro] influenced a random person to become a neo-Nazi and vandalize a Synagogue. We totally believe you. Totally,” the Iranian-born Tawhidi tweeted.
Tawhidi, born in Iran but now an Australian citizen, has been an outspoken opponent of the rising anti-Semitism in America, especially propagated by a handful of freshman Democrats in Congress.
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg also weighed in, using Twitter shorthand for “in my humble opinion.”
“Imho if reading [Shapiro] turns you into a Nazi, I think you’re reading Ben Shapiro wrong,” Goldberg wrote.
Even Jane Coaston of the liberal Vox nailed BuzzFeed’s story.
“A reminder that a white supremacist neo-Nazi trying to get a lesser sentence might lie about how he was radicalized, as white supremacist neo-Nazis are prone to do,” Coaston tweeted.
Coaston writes about the GOP, conservatism, the far-right and white nationalism.
BuzzFeed deleted the initial Twitter posting.
However, the left-wing transgender activist, Emily Gorcenski, who reportedly broke the original story, wasn’t backing down.
Nolan Brewer has been sentenced in an act of vandalism against a synagogue, but court documents are starting to reveal some incredible information.https://t.co/CbBhsz52y7
— Emily of the State (@EmilyGorcenski) May 25, 2019
“Facts don’t care about your feelings, Ben. It’s the perpetrators’ own words,” she wrote in a Twitter post.
Gorcenski later tweeted: “Ben’s mad, and on that note I go to sleep peacefully.”
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