Tempest in a Tea Party: Fox News gets in a bunch about Climate and Race

August 30, 2011

Two things going on here.

1. The Right Wing is kind of sensitive about that racism thing.

2. The denialist media takes every opportunity to distort, obfuscate, completely miss, (or, in this case, all of the above) a point.

We got another reminder the other day after a short, off hand remark by Al Gore became the topic of spittle flecked outrage on Fox News and other alternative reality venues.  In discussing the current polarized atmosphere around the topic of climate change, Gore made the comparison to the way a younger generation in the 60s challenged the existing conventions of southern racism – and went on to urge people to challenge errors, lies  and manufactured misconceptions around climate.

The relevant clip above is only 3 minutes long, and it came towards the end of an hour long (very worthwhile) interview that can be seen in its entirety here. 

It’s hard to believe that your average Fox talking head would have the time or inclination to actually sit through something as wonky as that. But, somewhere in the bowels of Fox News, we’re told, there is a “brain room”, where, presumably, gray matter is kept under lock and key, and only accessible to those with the highest clearance. That must be the place where boring “ideas” and “facts” are scrutinized and, occasionally, doled out in tiny, carefully contextualized and scripted bits to the empty talking heads that populate the Fox’s intellectual wasteland.  Watch the manufactured outrage here.

One reason the min-tempest struck home is that I just saw “The Help” – a summer movie based on the bestselling novel (and produced by Participant, the same group that produced “An Inconvenient Truth”) – which convincingly re-creates the atmosphere of institutionalized segragation and unconscious racism in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi.

In the movie, the proper young women of Jackson’s upper crust casually reel off “facts” (“they carry different diseases, you know”)  that serve to rationalize the segregationist practices of the day.  All in all, highly recommended and rewarding, with some great performances, including a remarkable turns by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. (It’s hard to get me into something as character and story driven as this, my favorite movie of the summer was “Captain America”, but my lovely, cultured, and sensitive wife dragged me.)

The film illustrates that, slowly, we do make progress – but recent events remind us that climate denial and the anti-science movement, like racism, may be with us for a long time.

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9 Responses to “Tempest in a Tea Party: Fox News gets in a bunch about Climate and Race”


  1. On the Fox News clip….isn’t this just a bunch of grown men and women sitting around a table saying, “I know you are but what am I?”

    Or perhaps, “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Bounce off me, sticks to you!”

    You know those sandwich commercials, where the adults are trying to get the delicious sandwich from each other but the whole thing is voiced over with kids’ voices and using kids’ rhetoric? Somebody needs to overdub this clip with the same treatement.

    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

  2. bgood2creation Says:

    I heard a fact in that last bit of banter on the Fox clip: “You guys are nuts!”

  3. otter17 Says:

    How do they get “if you don’t agree with me on climate change, you are a racist” out of that? Analogy, folks.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the same deficiency that prevents people from getting the science also creates the confusion in regard to nuanced language.

      • otter17 Says:

        Yeah, maybe they hear what they want to hear.

        I have a rule now regarding Al Gore. Anything negative I hear about him I will assume is false until shown otherwise. Now, that isn’t to say I won’t look into it when time allows, but there are just too many crazy comments flying around about him.

        By the way, the full interview with Al was great. I used to think that maybe he wasn’t the best spokesperson for action on climate change due to how polarizing he was with the right, but now I think just about anybody, politically polarizing or not, would receive similar treatment. It seems like all the hatred towards him nowadays centers around climate change, not necessarily his political views.

        I think climate change action can win the conversation within the next several years. Heck, I’ve pretty well won the conversation with my father. Turns out he doesn’t want his scientific views opposed to those of the National Academy of Sciences, the Vatican, US Navy, Department of Energy, and IPCC. The allure of Fox News and Heritage.org still remains, but maybe he will avoid their climate reporting.


  4. Or could it simply be that an Inconvenient Truth really is both Inconvenient, and TRUE? Lay down a gauntlet like that (strong truth, well presented by a former VP) and it’s bound to ruffle feathers for a long time yet.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      The Goracle has been right about so many things, from the internet to Iraq, that he is a living, walking, repudiation of the very alternative reality that dittoheads and teabaggers so desperately want to be true.
      But unfortunately for them, facts are stubborn things. Saddam did not attack us, WMD’s did not exist, Obama was not born in Kenya, and climate change is real.

  5. kokuaguy Says:

    “Climate denial is, if nothing else, a sign of the dumbing down of
    conservatism in the United States. Just as climate change threatens the
    physical environment, so too does climate denial threaten the cognitive
    environment. After all, what happens when one’s intellectual shoreline
    has been eroded?” [greenman3610]


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