On this week’s edition of “Problematic Women,” Kelsey Bolar and Lyndsey Fifield discuss a Teen Vogue Snapchat post teaching minors how to get an abortion without their parents’ permission, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s divorce and what that says about millennials and marriage, and the release of the movie “Unplanned” on Amazon and DVD. We also interview Liz Wheeler, host of “Tipping Point” on One America News Network and author of the new book “Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left’s House of Cards.”
Listen in the podcast, or read our interview with Wheeler below. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Kelsey Bolar: Liz, thank you so much for joining “Problematic Women.” You certainly are a problematic woman, so we are very excited to have you join the show.
Liz Wheeler: Kelsey, thanks so much for being here. And that is the highest compliment that you could pay to me.
Bolar: So you’re out with this new book, “Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left’s House of Cards.” One of the things I’ve always admired about you is your ability to engage in really civilized but tough debate. Is this what your book gets into? And what are some pieces of advice you have for young conservatives who want to engage in the conversation in a tough but productive manner?
Wheeler: Yeah, definitely. I think, actually, you hit on something that I pride myself on, and I wish more people in politics on both sides of the aisle did, and that is, be really sharp and really fiery about your debate, but do not stoop to the personal level.
Do not stoop to the personal level, no matter how tempting, no matter how much of a softball an insult might be against your opponent. Keep it respectful, keep it civil and you can win a debate so much easier doing that.
That’s what I try to do on Twitter, on my show. I’m going to call you out if you’re lying, I’m going to debunk your deceitful narrative, but I’m not going to get into the personal ad hominem type of debating.
In my book, that’s exactly what I do: I give you 11 tactics for debating the left. None of which have to do with anything personal, but they’re just rhetorical tricks, the rhetorical skills that you can use to parry with the left, you can use to debunk the lies the left is constantly trying to peddle. And it really helps you turn the conversation around so that we can push conservative values and debunk socialism.
Bolar: How do you remain above the fray in that sense when you’re going up against … I’d say this [applies more] to the far left, which is making these debates personal.
Take the gun debate, for example, they’re implicating the president in this, they are smearing those who are against gun control … as people who want to excuse these types of mass tragedies. Can you give us an example of how you would go about doing that?
Wheeler: One of the things that I always do when I’m debating someone who is hurling terrible accusations at me is I remember that I always try to keep it at the forefront of my mind that the enemy here, or the opponent, is not the person, it’s the idea they’re espousing. That makes it so much easier not to hack them or insult them personally.
What I’m trying to destroy is their ideology, not them as an individual. And I think that’s something that’s lost in our political dialogue: We so often think of the enemy as the person we hate, the person versus hating the ideology, and that changes the tone of the debate.
I think that’s what I would tell people as they’re getting into a debate, is remember what your true opponent is. It’s the viewpoint that they’re espousing, not the person.
Every person, even if they’re espousing something that you and I, Kelsey, think is bad, even something that they think is evil, every person is still made in God’s image and we should defeat and destroy and debunk their ideology and not them as a person.
Bolar: Absolutely. And to me, this is more of a recent phenomenon, where we’re seeing the other side come into these debates assuming that we as conservatives or Trump supporters are engaging in a position of bad faith.
Again, taking the Second Amendment debate for example, it should be assumed that nobody wants these [mass tragedies] to happen. We’re all working toward the same goals—the difference is the policies that both sides think will lead us there. But it’s so frustrating when you have one side basically tuning you out because they’re assuming you’re coming from a position of bad faith.
Wheeler: That’s one of the strategies that I talk about in my book that the left engages in. They engage in what I call the binary choice tactic, where they want to place before you a choice where either you agree with their radical leftist ideology or your only alternative is that you are a bad person.
So they place this binary choice before us where we either agree with them or we’re an evil, racist bigot. And this is obviously a sociological fallacy, but they do this because we’ve gotten past the point of debating the merit of a particular policy.
The left is not interested anymore in sitting here and debating, “Well, when it comes to mass shootings, what policy actually is effective in reducing gun violence? Is it taking guns away from people? Or is it that we need more mental health screenings? Or is the best way to reduce mass shootings to legally arm people and encourage can-kill carry and abolish gun-free zones, and for law enforcement to actually enforce the laws on the books?”
They’re not interested in having that conversation so they give us this binary choice where we either agree with their gun control policy or we’re bad people.
I talk about this in my book because it’s very important to recognize the tactic being used by the left because once we recognize the tactic, we can better debunk, we can better defeat those tactics rhetorically.
In the following chapter, after I help identify what tactics the left uses, I show people what tactics, what counter-tactics we can use in order to basically then trip them up in their own rhetorical tricks.
Bolar: You’ve worked at One American News for sometime now.
Wheeler: Yep. Four years.
Bolar: Yeah, and One America News actually just got a shoutout from the president. Congratulations on that!
Bolar: How do you think these smaller conservative news outlets like One American News, and even like The Daily Signal, can help these conversations and debates?
Wheeler: Just by telling the truth, for one thing.
We know the mainstream media engages in deceitful rhetoric on a minute-by-minute basis, it’s not even a daily basis anymore. We know that they deliberately withhold information that’s critical to analyzing a story and drawing a conclusion about the politics behind the story. We know they insert their bias constantly.
So one of the things that I do on my show specifically is, we have a segment called “Underreported Story.” You’re familiar with this, I’m sure, because you’re frequently a guest on this segment, where … we report on stories the mainstream media and the left don’t want to talk about.
The reason the mainstream media and the left don’t want to talk about it is because these particular stories debunked their leftest narrative on some larger issue.
For example, this past week we talked at length about the ideology of the Dayton shooter. The ideology of the Dayton shooter being far leftist ideology: he was a fan of Elizabeth Warren; he routinely echoed Antifa Twitter accounts; he called the ICE bomber from last month, who tried to attack an ICE facility with rifles and a bomb, he called that person, that terrorist, a martyr.
His ideology was very clear and yet the left did not report on this at all, or if so, very briefly. They spent the bulk of their time talking about the El Paso shooter and his white supremacist ideology and their effort to conflate white supremacist ideology with President Trump’s ideology, which, as we know, is a complete lie.
What we do on our show is we report on stories the mainstreet media will not touch. And I think for One America News and for The Daily Signal, or any independent journalist, any up-and-coming news network or news outlet, giving the people what they are not given by other networks is key.
… Just in the scheme of supply and demand, there is a demand from the people for the truth, and if we give them the truth, then they are going to come to us.
Bolar: Absolutely. And it’s not every day that we see someone so young have their own TV show. I’m sure female listeners are curious to know what your advice would be for young women who want to enter a career in TV news.
Wheeler: The first piece of advice that I would give is read as many books as you possibly can. Read as often as you can. Read as large of a variety of topics as you can. Read conservative ideology. Read liberal ideology. Educate yourself. Because I always say, when you’re in a debate with a leftist, it’s not difficult to be the most educated person in that debate, as long as you have made an effort to read and educate yourself.
The left deals in shallow, surface-level talking points and deceitful rhetorical tactics. If we as conservatives educate ourselves on the issues, then we are going to know more than the left knows in that debate.
Once we know more, then the only thing we have to do is identify the tactics the left is using as we can engage in our counter-tactics. And if we have more facts than the left, that should be an easy thing to do.
So if you want to get into TV, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself, read as many books as you can. Start writing. Writing is a undervalued skill, or a skill that a lot of people don’t realize is very important in television, is writing your material, writing out your argument, writing your counterargument.
So read and write, and then start engaging in these debates. Start being part of the conversation, whether that means writing op-eds for conservative news outlets, whether that means starting your own podcast, whether that means engaging with thought leaders—on our side of the aisle, on the other side of the aisle, on Twitter—start taking part in this conversation, start being a thought leader yourself.
That’s really the best way to get into TV is to have an audience already, who listens to you, who follow you for advice. That will lead to television networks, or it can lead to television networks wanting to have you on because people will want to hear what you have to say.
Bolar: I love that your advice isn’t just to read everything going on in the news. It’s actually to read books because you’re absolutely right that the conversations are so surface-level, and with our phones at our disposal 24 hours a day, we’re a generation that’s so easily distracted but it is so important to take the time to really learn the policies behind these surface-level conversations that we see play out every day in the news. So, thank you for that.
Wheeler: What happens, too, is when you educate yourself on a deeper level, then every time there is a surface-level conversation on Twitter, or on the news, or on cable news, you already know the facts behind the topics. Because there’s basically a finite number of political arguments that are had in our political sphere these days. They’re just constantly recycled.
So if you’re educated on the issues, it’s just going to be the surface-level arguments that differ, the facts that are underlying the policy are going to remain the same.
Bolar: Right. And now everybody listening has the opportunity to read your new book, which is just so exciting. I really admire you for doing that.
Wheeler: Thank you.
Bolar: The last question we love ending with is asking all of our guests, do you identify as a feminist?
Wheeler: I do not. I do not identify as a feminist.
The original wave, first-wave feminist—this is such a wonky answer—but the first-wave feminist just did incredible, made incredible strides in women’s rights. They won us our right to vote, they won us cultural acceptance in the workplace, which you and I, Kelsey, take full advantage of. To those women I am forever indebted.
Those women, however, were also pro-life. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, these incredible first-wave feminists valued women’s capacity to have children and valued the dignity of all human life, including unborn life.
That is not the same with this modern wave of feminism. They no longer want women to have an equal playing field, or to enjoy their equal rights under the law. They want women to be put on this artificial pedestal where we’re held to different standards and allowed to different things than men. They demonize men, and they demonize unborn children. They fight for abortion without restriction.
I do not need that kind of artificial feminism to be successful in my career, and in my life. So, I do not identify as a feminist. I identify as a Christian, a daughter of the king, a wife, a friend, a professional, a television host, and an independent woman who does not need abortion on demand and man-hating to be successful in my career, in life.
So that’s my long answer. My short answer is no.
Bolar: Love it. So again, Liz Wheeler is the author of the brand new book “Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left’s House Of Cards.” You can buy it on Amazon, you can get the audiobook, it’s at Barnes & Noble—all your book stores.
Liz, are you doing a book tour where anyone listening might have the opportunity to meet you?
Wheeler: That’s to be determined. Right now, we’ve done online book signings so that people all over the nation, no matter where you are, can tune in and ask questions and get their signed copies of the book.
If you want a signed copy, too, … you can still get an autographed copy at premierecollectibles.com/liz. I’d be absolutely happy to sign your book for you.
With the show, the schedule of the tour is a little bit difficult to do, so we’ve done a lot of this stuff, connecting with people online. I’ve been so thrilled with how many people have supported this book, how many people have been interested in this book.
Late last week we were No. 3 on Amazon’s best-seller list in the political commentary category. We’ve been on the best-seller list at Barnes & Noble all during the first week of release.
The reviews and feedback that I’ve gotten from this book have been so encouraging. People have said exactly what I’ve hoped that they would say, that after reading this they feel empowered to take part in the debate themselves, to take part in this fight against the radical left’s ideology. And I could not ask for a higher compliment about the book.
Bolar: You deserve every word of that praise. We certainly appreciate you taking the time to write it. I can only imagine how difficult that was on top of all the work you do for your show, which again is on One America News at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Liz, thank you so much for joining.
Wheeler: Kelsey, thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure to be here.