MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance, who went toe-to-toe with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, suggested on Twitter that an army of “bots” were responsible for the effusive praise Shapiro received on social media.
Nance and Shapiro argued over which party better embraced “authoritarianism,” and Nance was set back on his heels briefly when Shapiro masterfully outlined Critical Race Theory in just over 60 seconds, ultimately using Nance’s own success as proof that “meritocracy” as a concept is not wholly without merit itself.
“You seem to be a pretty good beneficiary of the meritocracy because you have merit,” Shapiro noted. “If you’re going to criticize the meritocracy as an outgrowth of white supremacy, then you’re going to have to tear down the system … you’ve succeeded in.”
Shapiro’s performance was well-received, and near the end of Friday evening, the top several results on “Ben Shapiro,” the trending topic on Twitter, were positive.
The development led Nance to suggest on Twitter that Shapiro or his allies had deployed an army of “bots” to promote Shapiro’s performance as impressive and unifying.
“I’ve seen a hundred of these ‘I don’t like Shapiro but…’ bot tweets Tonight,” Nance wrote.
“I have ZERO fake accounts hating on me but then praising my ‘performance,’” he continued.
As Newsweek, which first spotted Nance’s explanation, noted, “Bot accounts are automated Twitter accounts that are not operated by real people and which have been deployed for political messaging purposes in the past.”
Newsweek then appeared to dismantle Nance’s theory: “However, the account Nance pointed to may not be a bot,” it noted, adding that “the account Nance referred to did not appear to engage in obviously automated activity.”
Shapiro’s performance seemed to receive largely universal praise from conservatives, who zeroed in on Shapiro’s CRT explanation as definitive. Shapiro also focused on the Critical Race Theory issue — as well as the authoritarian nature of the left — in his own statement, released after his appearance aired.
A statement from @BenShapiro following his commanding performance on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight:
The Left plays semantic games with critical race theory "because when advocated for CRT are confronted with the overt racism of the program, they can't defend it."
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) August 7, 2021
“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,” Shapiro said.
“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 continued.
“Americans 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,” Shapiro concluded. “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.”