Climate Deniers Morph into Corona Deniers

March 20, 2020

I’m keeping a file of examples – climate denial and corona denial are basically coming from the same place. Let me know if you see anything along these lines.

Media Matters:

Some of right-wing media’s most prolific climate deniers are using the disastrous effects of the coronavirus to promote their anti-climate agenda across multiple platforms.

These figures have reframed their usual climate attacks around the pandemic. Some have compared the (alleged) outcomes of the Green New Deal to the (real) impacts of the coronavirus, while others have claimed that both the coronavirus and climate change are being used by leftists to push a radical agenda.

Green New Deal

Perhaps the most shameful connection made between coronavirus and the Green New Deal came from Daniel Turner, a fossil fuel industry shill whose recent career has been bankrolled by Koch Industries. Making his debut in The Federalist on March 13, with an article titled “How The Wuhan Virus Is Accomplishing The Green New Deal’s Goals,” Turner concluded that “coronavirus is a glimpse of the long-term pain a Green New Deal and environmental radicalism would inflict on America.”

Turner attempted to support this conclusion with false claims about the Green New Deal, claiming that, like the coronavirus, it would crush capitalism, put the “oil and gas industry into panic,” end travel, and control the population.

To add insult to blatant misinformation, he also stated that supporters of the Green New Deal should be “pleased” at what the coronavirus is accomplishing because “green activists don’t fret these casualties” and that “greens will rejoice” over the coronavirus’s disastrous effects.

Turner had previously pushed this narrative on March 11, again connecting the coronavirus and the Green New Deal to “more government control.”

Washington Post:

WELLSVILLE, Kan. — Here in northeast Kansas, in a small town set amid tidy farms and ranches, a Walmart worker named Brandon Crist was growing frustrated with the panic terrorizing the American public. He didn’t understand the need for lockdowns, closing schools, limiting public gatherings and shuttering bars and restaurants. Altering almost all facets of life.

As he often does, Crist found a meme online that amplified his feelings and posted it to his Facebook page.

“Does anyone know anyone who has the coronavirus? Not just heard about them but actually know them,” the meme said in bold white letters on a blue background. “Statistically none of us are sick . . . yet concerts are canceled, tournaments are canceled and entire school districts shut down. Out of total irrational fear. If you have not previously feared the power of the media you should be terrified of them now. They are exerting their power to shut down America.”

The post struck a chord with Crist’s friends here in Wellsville and beyond, many of whom are similarly frustrated with the pandemic-induced havoc in their daily lives. “Amen!” said one commenter. “I’m not changing anything I do. This is BS,” said another. A captain from a nearby fire department, Dustin Donovan, liked the message, then added a hoax meme of his own.

Even as President Trump has asked Americans to stay at home and has called on the nation to come together to fight the “invisible enemy” known as the illness covid-19, virus doubters like Donovan and Crist persist. They call reports of more than 200,000 sickened and 9,000 dead worldwide a sham. Republican legislators have continued to brag about their dinners out, some beaches remain packed with spring breakers and Hollywood starlet Vanessa Hudgens was forced to apologize for complaining on Instagram that “people are going to die, which is terrible, but like, inevitable?”

Virus deniers vow to continue on with their daily activities with little adjustment, convinced that the unprecedented reaction to the virus is nothing more than a plot by the media or liberals out to get Trump. The Pew Research Center released a poll Wednesday that found that 62 percent of adults say the media is exaggerating the risk of the virus.

Services went on as scheduled at Wellsville Baptist Church, though Pastor Bill Hendricks is trying to move the gatherings online. Hand sanitizer was placed on tables in the back, and residents jokingly tried to bump elbows rather than greet each other with hugs.

In his sermon, Hendricks said he had but one message for his flock this day — turn off the television.

“What’s being played over and over again,” he said, “is stoking fear.”

Some church members said their health is in God’s hands.

“We just need to trust the Lord to solve this,” said Ted Buckley, 73, a retired salesman. “I don’t know anybody personally with coronavirus. We shouldn’t be thrown into a state of panic because of what we hear, rather than what we see and witness.”

He was passing out little cards that read “C.O.V.I.D. 19” with the acronym “Christ over viruses & infectious diseases” and a comforting Bible verse.

Media Matters again:

Over the past year, Turner has made a habit of appearing in right-wing outlets to lie and fearmonger about the Green New Deal, and to promote climate denial in general. This is also not the first time he’s claimed that the Green New Deal is just a front for socialism. Since January 2019, he’s appeared on Fox News at least 12 times and on Fox Business at least 21 times, and written at least 40 op-eds for Fox News’ website.

The same day that Turner published his abhorrent piece in The Federalist, well-known climate denier Rush Limbaugh made a similar connection between the climate resolution and coronavirus on his radio show, stating that “If you want to know what the Green New Deal would look like, you’re starting to see it”:

Rush is no stranger to lying about the Green New Deal; in August, he said that “the premise behind it is bogus,” and also said that “there is no man-made climate change.” He’s been echoing the same sort of misinformation during the coronavirus outbreak, even claiming that it’s been “exaggerated and … lied about.”

Alex Epstein, author of the book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which argues that the “overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place,” picked up on the egregious connection between the Green New Deal and coronavirus in a March 16 tweet. He told his followers:

13 Responses to “Climate Deniers Morph into Corona Deniers”

  1. Richard Yates Says:

    There is an irony in the deniers’ linking the coronavirus pandemic with the Green New Deal, and it is that they are right (in a way).

    The extent of the global mobilization of resources and the altering of lifstyles that we see now really is akin to what is necessary regarding climate change. It is the longer time frame regarding the climate crisis that allows rationalizing inaction.

    “I might die next week” elicits action; “My grandchildren might die in 30 years” does not.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    One bizarre ray of hope: Tucker Carlson actually calling for the resignation of a Republican senator.

    On the other hand, he might just think Burr is RINO anyway.

    • jimbills Says:

      “On the other hand, he might just think Burr is RINO anyway.”

      For the past couple of years, Carlson has been positioning himself as a populist’s populist. He’ll break from the Republicans if he thinks they’re being too elitist – which clearly Burr was doing with essentially insider trading.

      This was an article about Carlson and his populism in early 2019:

      I really wonder if Steve Bannon and Carlson didn’t become buddies at some point. They only have praise for each other when they discuss each other, and their positions are remarkably similar. Bannon’s ideas was always that the key to permanent power was rightist politics mixed with a populist bent (always outwardly protect the ‘little guy’ while simultaneously protecting the status quo).

      It helps to sacrifice a Republican now and then to maintain the populist touch. He’ll then turn right around and protect Trump and his ridiculousness so that he can maintain his own position on Fox:

  3. jimbills Says:

    Richard Yates has said it, but denial in both case leads to deaths. It’s just that denial about the coronavirus will lead to deaths in the next few years, whereas denial about climate change will lead to deaths over many decades.

    Both require aggressive action – and denial is the enemy of action.

    Best article I saw on the virus today:

  4. doldrom Says:

    Actually, the only people I am running into (on a daily basis) saying that “your life is in God’s hand, nothing you can do about it” in connection with Covid-19 are Moslems.

    The extreme distrust of many people of any MSM narrative that doesn’t align with their daily life or critical of Trump is somewhat logical in view of how synchronized much of the MSM is, uncritical parroting of official points of view, and not seldom, incorrect. It’s hard to know whether to fault Joe Redneck or the distant heirs of the fourth estate.

  5. redskylite Says:

    denial, deflection, grossness. . . .

    Trump viciously attacks NBC News reporter in extended rant after being asked for message to Americans worried about coronavirus

  6. Phil Scadden Says:

    Tony Heller (aka Steve Goddard) has gone full tin hat.

  7. al mar Says:

    The worst part is the really hardcore FOX viewers and Trump supporters know these guys are liars & cheats. They just don’t care, just so long as they get to see the rest of us pull our hair out over the damage being done they’re happy to suffer the pain too.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Are you sure that the hard-core Trump cultists know that these guys are liars and cheats? True for a few, but IMO most of them are too dumb and suffering from too much cognitive dissonance to ascertain the truth.

      PS Halfway through A WARNING, the book by Anonymous (“A Senior Trump Administration Official”). Doesn’t tell us much that we haven’t heard before, but it’s well written and organized—pulls it all together nicely and tells it from the perspective of someone who lives the horror daily. Trump is hands-down the least fit person in the country to be president (except perhaps for some serial killers, rapists, and child molesters).

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