In a fallacy-filled YouTube video posted last week, intersectional feminist and transgender activist Riley J. Dennis gushes over Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and goes off on Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro for allegedly believing he’s “entitled” to a debate with the democratic socialist.
For those who aren’t up to speed, Shapiro, in response to Ocasio-Cortez saying Republicans are “scared” of her, offered $10,000 to the open socialist’s campaign or to charity if she were to discuss her views with him on his Sunday Special show, or debate the issues. Bizarrely, Ocasio-Cortez responded by accusing Shapiro — a nerdy (sorry, boss) Orthodox Jew who literally wrote the book condemning our oversexed culture — of “catcalling” her.
Again, she likened being asked to a discussion/debate over her views to sexist catcalling.
Riley’s reaction was somehow even more unhinged.
Echoing the same absurd talking points of the Left, Riley spewed lie after lie about Shapiro, whom he referred to as a “conservative a**hole,” before the heated shpiel turned into a rant about how he doesn’t like conservatives asking him to debate his beliefs.
“Today we’re talking about debates, and whether or not you have the right to other people’s time,” Riley starts the video. “The reason we’re talking about this is because recently some conservative a**hole on the Internet demanded that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez debate him,” he said.
Shapiro never “demanded” a debate, of course; he asked for a discussion or a debate and even offered to give $10,000 to her campaign or charity to do so.
After oozing with praise for the Left’s new it-girl, Riley applauds Ocasio-Cortez for slandering Shapiro as a sexist cat-caller, which he says was “honestly the perfect response.”
“He wasn’t even worth a real response. And in the time since then, he has proven her point by going off about how disrespected he’s been,” Riley continued, adding, “And the whole not-letting-it-go-and-just-getting-angrier thing is really kind of the cat-caller stuff that Ocasio-Cortez was talking about in the first place. He clearly feels entitled to her time and attention and she’s refusing to give it to him, which I think sets a great example.”
Of course, this is a lie. Shapiro merely called out Ocasio-Cortez for calling him sexist and claiming he had bad intensions without any evidence; he didn’t continuously harass her as Riley suggests. “Discussion and debate are not ‘bad intentions.’ Slandering someone as a sexist catcaller without reason or evidence does demonstrate cowardice and bad intent, however,” replied Shapiro, adding, “But sure, go with ‘the Orthodox Jew who has never catcalled a woman in his life is ACKSHUALLY a sexist catcaller for asking for a discussion or debate.’ I’m sure your media sycophants will eat it up.” [Narrator: They did.]
He also stated, “That’s her prerogative. She doesn’t have to respond.”
Riley goes on with the expletive-laced rant: “She’s a congressional candidate; she doesn’t have time to debate every conservative a**hole on the internet and she doesn’t need to. Her job isn’t to argue with trolls who almost definitely make bad-faith arguments … That conservative a**hole isn’t from her district and isn’t her opponent and she doesn’t owe him anything.”
This is faulty, too. Again, Shapiro never demanded anything of the candidate, but aside from that, he made this basic argument on a subsequent podcast. Shapiro noted just how damaging Ocasio-Cortez’s response was to her and offered advice for her campaign, suggesting next time she gets a debate offer she doesn’t want to accept, she should ignore it. He commented, “Not to advise her political team, but, there are a lot of things you could have done here. You could have just said, ‘Nah, not interested,’ or, ‘You know what, you’re not running for office; I’m not going to debate someone who’s not running for office.'”
Then the real reason for the rant came to light: Riley goes off about his personal refusal to debate and how annoyed he is that conservatives are constantly asking him to debate his ideology.
“It’s happened to be like a million times. People randomly tell me I have to debate them and it’s just like, ‘What planet are you living on?’ I’ve literally never done a public debate, what makes you think you’re so special that I’m going to care to debate you? You think just because you exist on the internet and disagree with me that I have to debate you?” he said, adding, “Nah, that’s not what I’m here for.”
Riley made the argument that public debates can be an unproductive forum for discussing ideas (which is a fair point and why Shapiro also offered a discussion forum), but then oddly suggested debates are only used as a tool for the political Right.
“[Debates] are about drumming-up media attention for these conservatives whose terrible ideas would otherwise wither away because nobody wants to f***ing hear about them,” he said.
For good measure, Riley ended the rant by suggesting Shapiro used bullying and harassment tactics in an attempt to get Ocasio-Cortez to debate him.
“You don’t owe anyone a debate,” he said, adding, “No matter how many times they tweet you, or write articles about you, or otherwise obsess over you and harass you, you don’t owe them s***. … If they’re going to such lengths to bully you into a debate, they’re probably going to be arguing in bad-faith, anyway.”
“Denounce their ideas and ignore them,” he offered.