There is a cottage industry, scarcely larger than a hamlet, of conservative writers and self-declared ‘influencers,’ whose goal du jour is to take down astrophysicist and popular really really smart guy Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson, whose fan base is as wide and deep and as boundless as the universe, annoys and scares the bejeebers out of the 27 percent of America for who find the acceptance of anthropogenic climate change, to say nothing of science — which was once memorably described as “a bunch of a*sholes trying to prove sh*t” — to be as distasteful as military enlistment, exercise, and a proper diet.
I don’t count myself among deGrasse Tyson’s adherents, not because I don’t agree with him, but because I’m not a big science nerd. I find my interests lie in making up names for conservative children because I can be very helpful that way. See: America’s Worst Mother or, more recently the Duggar kids.
Until recently when I heard the name ‘deGrasse Tyson,’ I thought people were talking about that high school show my daughter used to watch back when Drake was still in a wheelchair. Behold the power of hip-hop to make a man walk again … along with rapping badly for white girls and hanging out with Johnny Manziel.
Praise. I guess.
But the regenerative power of hip-hop is neither here or there for the moment.
It is probably safe to say that there are more than a few industrialists out there ***coughkochbroscough*** who have said, “Bring me the head of Neil deGrasse Tyson and I will fund your cute little blog surreptitiously through one of my phoney-baloney grassroots fronts or bullshit think tanks or foundations.”
For the most part conservatives were fine with Tyson when he stuck to talking about space and black holes and other otherworldly stuff. But this past year he stuck his toe into the climate change non-debate and you would have thought he wanted to sex up a Duggar daughter, such was the umbrage.
And so it came to pass that Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist with Ben Domenech, came up with what he believes is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s gotcha moment.
Was it Tyson saying that the planets are made up of interlocking cosmic Legos which is why man has never set foot on them because … have you ever stepped on a Lego? It hurts like a son of a bitch.
Nope. It was a comment Tyson made in a free-wheeling speech where Tyson paraphrased a quote he believed former President George W. Bush made regarding a Bible passage about the stars following 9/11. If you are to believe Davis –which would be dumb — Tyson’s comment was actually worse than 9/11.
Why is this important? It’s really not.
The whole point is that Davis is trying to diminish and discredit Tyson, a popular scientist and public intellectual, before he starts to expand his influence and does damage to those who have a vested interest in dismissing climate science as so many scientists trying to line their pockets with sweet research dollars by publishing alarming peer-reviewed papers that might, some day, make America get off the f*cking couch and do something before it’s too late.
And where is the profit in that to those who generate their mega-bucks from despoiling the Earth?
What Davis is indulging in here is attempting to poison the Tyson well of knowledge in much the same way that Dan Rather was ruined by the Killian documents when he attempted to show that George W. Bush no-showed for his cushy National Guard gig his dad finagled for him in order to stay out of the Vietnam war. Within hours after presenting the documents on 60 Minutes, bloggers who had previously never shown a flair for typography suddenly were revealed to be kerning experts, and the pile-on began and nobody would come within a country mile of investigating Bush’s no-show. There are those who believe, as far as rat-fucking goes, the documents came from Karl Rove with visions of the Canuck letter dancing in his head.
By pulling the chair out from under Rather, Bush’s military service, or lack of it, was taken off the table.
Interestingly enough, CBS’s high ethics took a vacation when Lara Logan spent a year on a bullshit 60 Minutes Benghazi story that was debunked in slightly more than sixty minutes. Logan is still there, proving that, if Dan Rather had tits and a cute accent — Texas accent doesn’t count– he’d still be on 60 Minutes.
Well played, far reaching right wing conspiracy.
Davis is attempting the same trick with Tyson, hoping to paint him as a liar and therefore untrustworthy in all matters scientific.
If Tyson has a history of fabrications, how can he be trusted on anything? Game, set, LOL.
Which is ironic, of course since Davis’ partner at The Federalist is the aforementioned Ben Domenech; most famous for being fired by the Washington Post and disappeared by National Review Online for being a plagiarist. Scuffling around a bit after his firing , Ben sucked the wingnut welfare teat for a bit, appearing here and there until enough distance was put between himself and his cuttin’ and pastin’ past where he could found The Federalist with Davis and even be invited on the Chris Hayes show as someone whose opinion should be heard.
Of course, once a grifter, always a grfter and Domenech was recently found to be doing some pay for play, when he wrote in favor of the government of Malaysia after fellow RedState founder turned lobbyist Josh Trevino slipped him a $36,000 honorarium for his troubles.
That the attack by Davis came from the co-founder of a website with a history of ethical flexibility that would make a Romanian gymnast envious is probably no surprise. Also unsurprising is that such thin gruel was only sucked up by Sparklepants Rich Lowry at National Review and some yokel at National Reviews’ evil-er twin, Breitbart.com. What is surprising is that Lowry wants to weigh in on climate change again, since that has not worked out well for him in the past.
So there you have it.
Who are you gonna believe? The scientist guy, or the guy who partners with a scam artist?
See? Two can play that smear game…