The media keeps telling us they don’t take sides and yet staffers at publications from the Atlantic to the New York Times and now Politico keep erupting any time an actual conservative is allowed to speak. The latest instance happened today when Ben Shapiro was granted a guest slot writing Politico’s Playbook. That led to a big backlash not only from the usual suspects online but inside Politico itself. First, it’s important to note that Shapiro is one of a series of writers invited to appear the site. Some of the others have been decidedly on the left:

Over the past several weeks, Politico has filled the temporary editorial vacancy atop the Playbook by inviting high-profile political reporters and commentators to author the highly influential morning political newsletter and tip-sheet for Beltway insiders. The tipsheet in recent weeks has been authored by well-known TV hosts like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, as well as reporters like CBS’s Weijia Jiang, PBS’s White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, and the Washington Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson. NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd is also expected to guest-author the Playbook in coming weeks.

Chris Hayes was the guest editor yesterday and that apparently didn’t result in any consternation. Anyone who doesn’t know where Yamiche Alcindor is coming from hasn’t been paying attention. But Shapiro’s appearance today led to an eruption from angry staffers:

Internally at Politico, several staffers raised concerns about the decision to allow him to guest-write the key newsletter, even for a day. One staffer pointed out in a company-wide Slack channel that the right-wing pundit has a “long history of bigoted and incendiary commentary,” making it especially inappropriate to elevate him in the wake of last week’s violent attack on the Capitol by rioters who, critics say, have been radicalized for years by the fiery rhetoric of right-wing media stars like Shapiro.

“It has clearly generated a wave of negative attention, and I fear it’s already overshadowing a lot of great work being done by journalists across this newsroom,” the staffer added. The comment received several dozen upvotes from Politico colleagues.

I’m so tired of this progressive pretense in these situations. Is anyone fooled by this act? These staffers wouldn’t have welcomed Shapiro if he showed up on the slowest news day of the year with a mountain of donuts and coffee for everyone. They can pretend it’s just right now that’s the wrong time for him to be allowed to speak but I think we all know there is never a time they would want him to speak. Their objections aren’t situational they are categorical. Specifically, they are deeply and obviously partisan.

To their credit, some of the editors at Politico told the woke staffers to get over it.

But during an internal zoom call the staffers were still revolting (pun intended).

Not everyone joined the backlash, though Wemple notes the ones who didn’t were afraid to say so because the outrage from the lefties on staff was so heated.

We’ve seen all of this before of course. We saw it when a similar group of staffers at the NY Times became outraged after Sen. Tom Cotton was allowed to write a piece for the opinion section. That eventually led to apologies and the resignation of an editor. The paper had run pieces by Putin, Maduro and spokespeople for the Chinese Communist Party. All of that was fine but a conservative Senator crossed a line.

And we also saw the same sort of internal mob back in 2018 when Kevin Williamson was hired and then quickly fired by the Atlantic. In that case a tape of an internal conversation led by Jeffrey Goldberg and Ta-Nehisi Coates was leaked to another press outlet and published in its entirety. As I wrote at the time, what they had to say about Williamson and his views was pretty eye-opening. It was clear, at least to me, that no one in the room had any clear understanding of what most pro-life people believe.

So the backlash against Shapiro is nothing new. This is a well-established pattern at this point. People on the left can say whatever the hell they want and still be invited and welcomed almost anywhere. People on the right can be deplatformed over something they said or wrote many years ago without even asking them to clarify what they said. Here’s how Shapiro himself summed it up.

But as I said above, good for the editors who in this case didn’t succumb to the pressure. I’ll wrap this up with this comment which seems dead on target: