‘I was checkmated’: Conservative columnist quits after being embarrassed by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Conservative radio host Neal Larson quit writing his column for an Idaho newspaper after he made news for being called out by Neil deGrasse Tyson over a major factual error, the Daily Kos reported.
“The instant it was picked up nationally, I was checkmated,” Larson wrote in his final column for the Twin Falls Times-News. “I had no recourse, no comparable media platform at my disposal. It was as terrible and as helpless as you can imagine. Even more disappointing, a few people that I honestly thought were friends, shared online my unfortunate story with glee.”
Larson ran afoul of the astrophysicist and Cosmos host last week when he accused deGrasse Tyson of insulting a 9-year-old girl on Twitter.
Unfortunately for Larson, his premise was based on a story in the satirical website Clickhole. Even worse, deGrasse Tyson commented on the article and thoroughly debunked his column.
“You abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours,” deGrasse Tyson wrote.
Larson acknowledged the error in his final op-ed, adding that he apologized to deGrasse Tyson for his mistake. But he also complained about the amount of attention his failed attack received.
“For those in the national spotlight, this is probably old hat, but I wasn’t equipped to handle the influx, logistically or emotionally,” Larson wrote. “If anyone had sent a kind word or more gentle and constructive criticism, I apologize because I probably missed it in the onslaught of hate.”
However, Larson will continue broadcasting his radio show. Daily Kos pointed out that he has used it to argue, among other things, that Donald Trump is suited for the presidency because of his “alpha-male” personality, and that the choice of mascot for Washington D.C.’s NFL team is better than “a screaming Black Lives Matter activist, or a finger-snapping drag queen.”