Politico canceled guest slot for Guy Benson and MK Ham after the newsroom blowup over Ben Shapiro

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the meltdown at Politico over Ben Shapiro being allowed to write for the magazine’s newsletter. Yesterday, Ed wrote a follow-up piece noting that more than 100 staffers at the site were still so angry weeks later that they had written a letter to publisher Robert Allbritton to express their displeasure.

It was ultimately too late for the staffers to cancel Ben Shapiro’s appearance, that already happened. But yesterday Shapiro pointed out on Twitter that in the wake of this blowup, Politico suddenly canceled plans to have Guy Benson and Mary Katherine Ham co-write the newsletter.

Yeah, they overbooked. Riiiiight. It’s obvious what happened here. Politico caved to pressure from the leftwing activists in their newsroom. As Shapiro pointed out, the heckler’s veto worked in this case.

Guy Benson discussed the situation during his show today. He pointed out that when the blowup over Shapiro’s appearance took place, he and MK Ham had already been asked to guest write for Politico and had accepted.

“We sent a text message…to this editor we were dealing with…and then we had radio silence for four or five days,” Benson said. A few days later the editor finally contacted MK Ham to explain they had “overbooked” and there were not enough slots left for them. But the editor added hopefully that maybe at some point in the future they could work together.

Benson explained that after discussing it, he and Ham decided to push back politely and ask if they could agree to a specific date for future collaboration. The response was silence: “We did not hear a peep back ever,” he said.

“My guess…is that they would have liked to work with us but they were having such trouble internally with their own team, their own journalists—ideologues—that Mary Katherine and I sort of became disposable or expendable,” Benson said. “Why poke the bear again with more conservatives when people are maybe just finally getting over the vapors of Ben Shapiro.”

The coda to this story happened today when Benson got a request from the Politico’s editor-in-chief Matt Kaminski to call him. “I would say to his credit he was apologetic, he was contrite; I think he was genuine,” Benson said. Kaminski maintained that the situation really was the result of overbooking and poor communication. “He assured me…that it was not about ideology…They were not trying to deplatform us at all,” Benson said.

That sounds like a stretch to me. It seems much more likely they were trying to placate the mob in their own newsroom. However, Kaminski did offer to have Benson and Ham write for Politico on an occasional basis in the future. So maybe he’s sincere. I guess we’ll have to wait and see a) if he follows through on the offer and b) how the staff responds when it happens.