At its core, the right-wing political-media industrial complex has often been a money pit, largely fueled by billionaire Koch-types, nonprofits, wealthy donors, vitamin supplements and pillow sales. Which is to say The Daily Wire, the right-wing media entity founded by Ben Shapiro and Jeremy Boreing in 2015, is that rare thing—an actual growth company that, unlike The Lincoln Project or Independent Journal Review or Breitbart, has the discipline to not light its success on fire.
Ever since its launch, The Daily Wire has sought to combine the culture war ethos of Fox News with the millennial sensibility of the online creator economy. Its content spans politics, sports, and culture, but at its core, it thrives on the notion that everyone else is promoting, secretly or openly, a woke liberal agenda—and that only they are the alternative. I first spoke to Boreing, a former Hollywood director, in 2018 for Vanity Fair, around the time that “The Ben Shapiro Show” became one of the most downloaded podcasts in the country. Back then, I was struck by how professionalized The Daily Wire was in comparison to its online competitors; crisp audio, high-end production design; a soundstage that looked more like a cable news set than a typical podcasting studio.