One of the top conservative voices in the country is calling it quits.
News broke this week that Ben Shapiro is stepping away from his role as editor in chief of The Daily Wire, an online conservative news and commentary outlet that he founded in 2015, according to the Daily Caller.
Shapiro steps down
The news of Shapiro’s resignation was first revealed in a Monday report from TheBlaze.
According to the Daily Caller, TheBlaze reported that Shapiro will continue contributing to The Daily Wire and star in its featured content, but that its editorial direction will now be guided by John Bickley, a journalist who has reportedly served as a writer and editor for The Daily Wire since its inception five years ago.
Bickley had written under the pseudonym James Barrett, TheBlaze noted.
“John Bickley isn’t just a tremendous editor and writer, he’s a principled conservative and an honest human being,” Shapiro said of the new editor-in-chief in a statement to TheBlaze. “I can’t think of anyone better to take over as EIC, and I look forward to seeing the new, exciting editorial direction of the site.”
Why Shapiro is stepping down remains a bit of a mystery, but controversies surrounding the site — as well as rumors about Shapiro’s future — may offer some insight.
Shapiro has a respected voice in conservative circles, and there are regular calls for him to run for office. Taking a lesser role at The Daily Wire could be a sign that he, too, is now seriously looking to launch a national campaign.
If he is going to do that, it would make sense for Shapiro to distance himself from a website that is regularly targeted by leftists like Judd Legum, a former Hillary Clinton staffer who wrote a series of articles “exposing” how right-wing websites were attracting readers, as TheBlaze reported.
According to TheBlaze, The Daily Wire has since ceased such practices after being informed their advertising technique broke Facebook’s “Branded Content” rules, but the outlet remains popular; the ads only generated a small percentage of The Daily Wire’s traffic, the company co-CEO told TheBlaze.
“Referral traffic is certainly not one of the keys to our success, or whatever Legum is suggesting,” Jeremy Boreing said. “Does 1% make an impact? Of course. Does it equal ‘the reason for the other 99% of our success?’ Of course not.”
He went on: “We try to play by the rules. When Facebook pointed out that this form of referral relationship violates their standards, we immediately stopped. I’m sure Legum will be happy to report on how we continue to succeed.”