Getting taken seriously

D.R. Tucker, at Washington Monthly listens to Rich Lowry so you don’t have to (emphasis mine):

So that oracle of obnoxiousness, National Review editor Rich Lowry, showed up on California NPR affiliate KCRW-FM last Friday to discuss the week’s events with “Left, Right and Center” host Matt Miller. When the discussion turned to the September 21 People’s Climate March and the subsequent UN Climate Summit, Lowry couldn’t resist getting his sleaze on.

Miller acknowledged that Lowry was “skeptical” of climate science, which raised the obvious question of why he was brought on to begin with. Miller, of course, failed to acknowledge that National Review is heavily dependent on advertising from the fossil-fuel industry, a fairly obvious reason why he’s so “skeptical” of the science. (Miller also failed to acknowledge the publication’s sordid attacks on climate scientist Michael Mann.)

Robert Scheer, the other guest on the program, correctly accused Miller of “indulging the irrational right.” Seriously, is it that hard to find a non-progressive who accepts mainstream science but who disagrees with the Obama administration’s policy proposals on climate, rather than a far-right freak like Lowry?

The question, and it’s not just applicable to NPR or Rich Lowry, is at what point can we stop taking people seriously? Rich Lowry has no expertise in climate science. He’s peddling pure nonsense in the form of total climate denialism, and he’s doing it because climate change doesn’t fit his worldview (well, that and the advertising thing, probably). This is not an interesting contribution to the debate. When Rich Lowry talks about climate science, he does so in order to deceive his audience in order to further his desired political aims. Obviously he’s well within his rights to do that, but NPR (substitute CNN, Meet the Press, etc.) has no obligation to have him on to push his agenda in lieu of someone who has an honest point to make, does it? How much better would our elite journalism be if it stopped paying heed to frauds?

Also, too, along those same lines:

Dr. Ben Carson, a popular Tea Party activist and Fox News contributor who says he will likely seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, said on Sunday that he is seriously concerned that there will not be 2016 elections in the United States because the country could be in anarchy by that point. His reasons: the growing national debt, ISIS, and the U.S. Senate’s refusal to consider legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Host Chris Wallace noted that in light of his potential presidential campaign, Carson’s previous comments were now under a greater spotlight. He noted Carson’s August comment that if the Republicans don’t win a majority in the Senate this year, the 2016 elections might not even be held and asked the retired neurosurgeon if he stood by it:

WALLACE: You said recently that there might not even be elections in 2016 because of widespread anarchy. Do you really believe that?

CARSON: I hope that that’s not going to be the case. But certainly there’s the potential because you have to recognize that we have a rapidly increasing national debt, a very unstable financial foundation, and you have all these things going on like the ISIS crisis that could very rapidly change things that are going on in our nation. And unless we begin to deal with these things in a comprehensive way and in a logical way there is no telling what could happen in just a couple of years.

I get that Ben Carson must be a wonderful pediatric neurosurgeon, and he’s to be commended for that, but there is literally no daylight between his political views and the opinions of any mentally ill person shouting conspiratorial gibberish on a big city street corner. Even for Fox News, there has to be some standard about who is and is not taken seriously and who should and shouldn’t be afforded a major media platform, doesn’t there? I’m not saying Ben Carson isn’t entitled to his opinions, or that he shouldn’t be allowed to share them. I’m just wondering why any major media outlet would want to carry them.


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