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The “Apolitical” Science Segments On Fox News Are All Too Political

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:41 EDT

Have you guys been following this little tiff between the editor of Scientific American and Fox News? Few stories really encapsulate the growing politicization of science and how the right is, as with racism and sexism, involved in a project of denying that they’re anti-science while also promoting an anti-science point of view. To summarize, the editor in question, named Michael Moyer, was asked to come on to Fox News to talk about the future of technology. Since so much of that future is going to be shaped, inevitably, by climate change, he wanted to talk about that. But they wouldn’t let him. Moyer said he’s not going to come onto Fox anymore, and that the whole experience made him uncomfortable.

Can’t blame him. Moyer is a science educator, and so of course his initial instinct when being asked to do media was to say yes. As it should be. I have no fault with him. He almost surely thought that while Fox is obviously a partisan network that frequently attacks scientific findings they don’t like for purely ideological reasons, it doesn’t mean every segment they do is about that. When they told him that he couldn’t mention climate change, he probably thought that it was mostly because it’s a politically touchy subject for them. Now he doesn’t want to go on anymore, because he rightfully is concerned about that this level of censorship is tantamount to dishonesty.

But the viciousness of the response from the Fox News team suggests that something more sinister is going on.

TPM has some choice quotes of the victim posturing and nastiness aimed at Moyer because he simply stated the obvious, which is that their policy—which they admit to having—of censoring mentions of climate change in these kinds of segments is anti-science.

“Clearly he has a problem with Fox,” Doocy said. “So why did he come on? Clearly, it was just to promote himself, and maybe his magazine as well. But, you know, hashtag classy. We put him on, we have a nice conversation and then he stabs us in the back.”

“The bone that he had to pick with Fox, he said, was that he wanted to come on here and talk all about climate change,” Kooiman added. “Well, our producers decide what we air.”

“We talk about climate change all the time,” Doocy interjected.

Yes, in politicized segments where you are promoting the myth that climate change is “controversial” or that there’s any real scientific debate about its reality. It’s clearly they censored him because this was supposed to be an “apolitical” segment. Again, they openly admit in this segment that they censored Moyer’s attempts to mention climate change in an apolitical ain’t-science-neat kind of segment. This is not in dispute.

All of which says to me their “apolitical” science segments are not apolitical at all. On the contrary. The segment was there to support their attacks on science elsewhere, by creating the false impression that they aren’t anti-science. “We can’t be anti-science,” the segment was saying. “See? We have scientists on to talk about science stuff. So our attacks on climate change can’t be about a refusal to accept science. It must be because we have Legitimate Questions and Real Doubts.” Moyer’s role was to shore up their credibility as not-anti-science, in the same way that they put female faces on the network to shore up their claim that they’re  not anti-woman. No wonder he felt icky. They were exploiting him.

Now that he’s come out in public to blow the whistle, they are freaking out on him. Their attempts to put forward the image of general pro-science (but with Questions about climate change!) have been undermined dramatically. The true face of Fox News, one that is intrinsically anti-science and only accepts science on ideological and not evidentiary grounds, has been revealed. No wonder they’re so mad.

None of which is to say that we should generally be suspicious of cable news shows doing non-political segments on things like “exciting new developments in technology” or whatnot. Most of those are exactly what they seem. But there’s almost always an ulterior motive going on at Fox News, even with the seemingly most innocuous and apolitical segments.

Sorry, Clippers, I Don’t Pity Donald Sterling’s Wife

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:45 EDT

While I’m definitely glad to see Donald Sterling pay for his viciously racist views, I have to agree with many commentators that it’s yet another example of the troubling trend of how what people say tends to get elevated over what they do when it comes to racist or sexist stuff. In Sterling’s case, that he’s a racist is no surprise, since he ruined a bunch of people’s actual lives with his racist housing discrimination…


“But Why Are Colleges Involved In Penalizing Sexual Assault” Answered By President’s Task Force

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:03 EDT

The White House rolled out their promised task force on sexual violence on campus late yesterday and, having read over the materials, I have to congratulate the administration on a job well done. The main portal for information is a website called Not Alone, and it has resources for everyone…


The Orange Couch Does Mad Men: S7E3, “Field Trip”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 28, 2014 13:52 EDT

New Orange Couch! Marc and I often cover multiple themes and ideas in an episode, but this episode so strongly focused on the theme of “mattering” that we did one of our “single theme” episodes. Nice to see the use of allusions creeping back onto the show. One of Mad…


Atheists, go hunting where the ducks are

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, April 25, 2014 8:18 EDT

Greta Christina has an interesting post addressing the concerns that organized atheism, by picking up social justice issues (instead of just “safe” public outreach like highway clean-up and blood drives) , would be courting controversy and alienating people when you want to attract people. She makes the entirely reasonable point…


Cliven Bundy reminds the conservative press the dangers of touting extremist cranks as national heroes

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, April 24, 2014 9:40 EDT

If you woke up this morning and cracked open your electronic version of your daily newspaper, I imagine you heard what I did: The whooshing sound of the anuses of the entire staff of Sean Hannity’s show puckering, simultaneously. Republican politicians began backtracking on their support of Nevada anti-government rancher…


Folks, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up To Be Mocked By Amy Schumer

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 14:16 EDT

Per the post below, I thought it would be useful to link this hilarious sketch from Inside Amy Schumer that shows what happens when you condition boys to believe it’s funny or cute to pester women into going on pity dates with you. It’ all starts with backslaps and attaboys…


A Barrage Of Bad Arguments In Defense of Teaching Boys To Sexually Harass

By Amanda Marcotte

The first rule of charm: Don’t pester clearly uninterested women. The wingnuts must be bored this week, because I am getting a shit ton of harassment on Twitter for this tweet: http://t.co/1YWyA0vZJR I really wish people would stop acting like it’s cute when teenage boys sexually harass older women. —…


Do You Have Student Loans? Banks May Exploit Your Parent’s Death To Push You Into Default.

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:14 EDT

The New York Times reports on a new study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that really drives home how sleazy the banking industry has gotten, and how much they’ve come to view customers are the enemy: The problem, described in a report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,…


The Orange Couch Does Mad Men: S7E2, “A Day’s Work”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 21, 2014 9:39 EDT

New Orange Couch! Last night’s episode was something of a house-keeping episode, but that doesn’t mean that they avoided touching on big themes and ideas. Our video focuses both on the limits of communication and the power of it. In a sense, this episode is one of those that feeds…