Ethics Dunce: Fox News

Fox News’ reaction to the segment above was to ban…The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles from future broadcasts. Not the fact-free, name calling climate change shill who called Knowles “skinny boy” and who took the ridiculous, but familiar, position that children who place themselves in the middle of serious policy controversies cannot be held to the same standards as any other advocate, and judged on the basis of their credibility and credentials. Knowles’ terms for Greta Thunberg may have been harsher than necessary, but they were nonetheless true and accurate. She is definitely being exploited. She is even less credible than a normal 16-year-old because of her multiple behavioral maladies. And she is Swedish.

Chris Hahn,  a Democratic Party activist whom Fox News uses as a contributor because he makes progressives look like thugs, was obnoxious, abrasive, insulting and factually wrong. It may not have been nice (or necessary) to refer to Greta Thunberg as “mentally ill,” and it’s certainly politically incorrect, but it is not horrific calumny as Hahn would have us think. The National Alliance on Mental Illness includes autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among its topics, which is prima facie evidence that “mentally ill” is not a false description of Thunberg’s state. It is described as “a developmental condition that affect a person’s ability to socialize and communicate with others. People with ASD can also present with restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. The term “spectrum” refers to the degree in which the symptoms, behaviors and severity vary within and between individuals. Some people are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled.”

“Illness” is not a unfair description of such a problem. Would Hahn have flipped out if Knwoles said, “mentally disabled”? Is there any doubt?

The site also covers obsessive compulsive disorder, which Thunberg also suffers from. The site says, “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions). Although people with OCD may know that their thoughts and behavior don’t make sense, they are often unable to stop them.”

If that doesn’t qualify as a mental illness, then the phrase is meaningless.

Nonetheless, a Fox News spokesperson provided the following statement to The Daily Beast : “The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful—we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”

Fox is shallow, cowardly, and supporting political correctness over informing the public. It owes Knowles an apology. The use of children as virtual human shields to make it difficult to call out incompetent and irresponsible policy arguments is a form of policy debate cheating, and will only end when critics refuse to allow it to succeed.

21 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Fox News

  1. The “Ring of Fire” podcast linked above certainly goes on to make Knowles’ point about exploitation and expose the left’s agenda of silencing any criticism of their climate change religion.

  2. MSM…magnified sensitivity media? Perhaps chicken shit is just as descriptive.

    If North Korea nuked Anchorage, would we be afraid to state mentally ill communist dictator Kim Jong Un was responsible in order to not offend the mentally ill?

  3. Based on her appearance in several still shots captured yesterday, I would never let her be near firearms. (I wish I knew how to paste a photo here – I’ll send the one with the crazed look to you Jack)

    Nonetheless, I will admit that in a reasonably fair world Fox behaved cowardly but we do not live in a reasonably fair world so I am willing to cut the only station offering any criticism of her speech some slack. However, I do think that the real ethics dunces are the ones exploiting the child herself on the issue of climate and exploiting the fact that she is a child so that no one is allowed to criticize her. Exploiting her mental illness because they themselves cannot stand up to criticism is the extraordinarily unethical making them ethics dunces in my book.

    The elevation of this child to unwarranted levels along with proclamations of her courage to speak out seems incongruous to the outrage targeting those who call her out. If she is so strong and courageous why does she need your defense Mr. Hahn? Is she truly courageous and strong, or are you injecting your patriarchal beliefs that women and girls need your rhetorical protections?

  4. This is another confirmation of the child shield. How dare you criticize these beautiful sweet innocent babes. But aren’t they so wise for their time, so precocious, so brilliant! Nobel peace prize! Another reason to dislike Fox. Also, I’d like to see Greta confront Xi Jinping, Putin, Modi, and other polluting developing states. I can imagine the smiles on Putin’s and Xi’s faces listening to her lecture.

  5. Jack, I agree, but Fox had to fire him. Unfortunately, in today’s climate if you say a child is something as blunt as “mentally ill,” especially one with a popular message, the lynch mob will be out on Twitter and Facebook with boycott demands in hand, and media outlets aplenty waiting to pounce on the story and give it as long as it takes to damage the unfortunate media property who stuck with that story.

    For Fox’s shareholders, it was the right decision, as they have a duty to their shareholders as well as to the public. I think you have to consider that, and I don’t see any evidence in your discussion that you did. Yes, it was cowardly and no doubt, the person who was fired deserved better, as he committed no sin other than speaking the name “Valdemort” aloud.

    Alas, this is a symptom of a broader and much more intractable problem than Fox being its cowardly self.

    • Mentally Ill is a slur now?

      I’m 34 and I feel like how I imagine an elderly family member must have felt a decade ago before she died; “Jeff,” She’d say, “We used to call them Negroes, and then it was “colored people” and then it was “Black” people, and then it was “African Canadians”. I don’t really care, I don’t want to offend people, but I just wish they’d pick one.” I suppose we were lucky she didn’t call people “Mongoloids”

      My point being that offensive terms change over time, and it’s not because our understanding grows, it’s because if you take away people’s slurs, they’ll find new ones, and those new words become the slurs, and the cycle continues. It’s folly to correct the language if you don’t correct the attitude, and it’s especially troublesome if the words that you’re writing off have other meanings. If “Mentally Ill” is the new “Retarded” then we need at least two new words to replace “mentally ill”: A new slur, and something to describe someone with a mental illness.

      Because we all know what Knowles meant, and if you’re going to get overly hung up on the semantics of slurs, then we need something else that accurately describes a teenage child messiah with ASD, OCD, and bad parents.

  6. FNC hasn’t been quite the same since the frat boys took over from the Old Man. As to GT, it’s hardly the first time Europeans have worshipped a delusional and militant little girl, or false prophets for that matter. Since we don’t use sacrificial pyres anymore (at least not literally), she will be moved to the margins, then into the Outer Darkness, once she is no longer cute, precocious or usrful. A few years years from now: “Greta who? Oh, her. Free into quite a nutcase, didn’t she?”

    • What is interesting — I assume you refer to Jeanne d’Arc principally — is the whole issue of ‘romanticism’. It has to be said, because it is true, that the hated German Nationalism rose out of the German romantic movement which was, in itself, a rebellion against certain features of the rational-enlightenment. The essence of the poems we love — Shakespeare at his most profound — deals in romantic and religious themes. Most all of art is romantic in this sense. Our human world is fueled by romantic notions and intuited ideas.

      CG Jung, Joseph Campbell and others, to illustrate romanticism, have reanimated it as people search for ‘personal myths to live by’. But the essence of it, the core of it, is deeply bound up in a romantic frame of mind. Which is less of the mind and more of the ‘soul’.

      The hysterical girl GT has her place, or should have her place, as the idealism that we encourage in our children has its place. You cannot have a child that does not show their ‘romantic soul’. But the issue with Greta is that 1) she shows a distorted version of it: like the display of a literally mentally troubled person. It gives pain to watch. It is not cathartic as it is supposed to be. It does not *inspire*, it frightens.

      But why is this? Why is this particular rehearsal on display? I think because she illustrates a general and developing sickness. I must admit that it is hard to *diagnose* this social hysteria though it is tempting to try.

      GT illustrates something for the Left-Progressives — they say as much of course — but it also illustrates something about them that they do not wish to face. How could they face ‘mental illness’ and obsession and a psychological-religious excess as being a motive for their activism? To the degree that they can’t see themselves is the degree that they are captured by ‘shadow-projections’. Everything they decry in the Dread Right they are manifesting.

      Therefore, it is interesting to examine what they do as a manifestation of s wide romanticism of a strange sort. More similar to the obsessive religiosity in a play like The Crucible. I don’t want to render a complex issue too simplistic but, for Heaven’s sake, social hysteria is certainly becoming visible … and is having effects.

      • I’d been trying to make sense of this fascination with Thunberg. It’s kind of like making one of those creepy twins from The Shining into a spokeswoman.

        Manifestation of a collective psychological event makes as much sense as anything can.

  7. Wow, this is really interesting and revealing. Putting it in order in my mind helps me to clarify something important about ‘the general climate’.

    In that video clip, Chris Hahn goes directly to the *kill* with a chemically pure emotionalism: the casting of the most profound moral shame available. It is the use of such a moral power that if you do not surrender before it, you choose, in their eyes, to reveal your demon-nature.

    I have begun to conclude, as I guess many have, that the Progressive-Left’s essential argument is of this sort. It is not really an argument or a position, though they have positions, but a moral-emotional Jiu Jitsu.

    As to saying, in not uncertain terms, that the girl is mentally ill, it is plainly true. And all over the world people have noticed the same thing, and talk about it.

    But this goes to the heart of the same matter: it appears that mentally ill perspectives are becoming common. And since many people are suffering from disorders and imbalances, many people feel sensitive about the issue.

    Thinking it over, Knowles would have been better advised to refer a little differently to her emotional problems, or to the Wiki page where her disorders are listed.

    Yet the essence of what he said, and the essence of the rationality of the counter-positions to those hysterical positions of the Progressive Left, is sound.

  8. One thing I noted about Greta Thunberg is that no one claims that she had even co-authored scientific papers.

    Contrast this with this 16-year-old Jewish girl from Long island, Natalie Hershlag, who co-authored a scientific paper on neurology in 1998.

    I wonder why these people could not trot out Hershlag instead?

  9. I’d like to comment that autism is properly a developmental disorder and isn’t really a mental illness and shouldn’t be thought of as one. Not to wax romantic but in some ways, it truly is its own way of being, often at odds with the dominant way of being and from this problems arise so very often. It isn’t “treated” (and I dare say this is not a fitting word to use in regards to it, which highlights the distinction) the same way as other conditions properly considered mental illnesses. The symptoms/diagnosis criteria are hard, if not impossible to separate from the person unlike other conditions where there is often a clearer distinction between condition and person. And there are no medications that can squash them like they can even those of schizophrenia )Now, autism is highly commordid with true mental illnesses, including OCD (which is in the separate category from autism of true mental illnesses and doesn’t in my opinion make for a happy comparison), such that an autistic person is often going to be mentally ill, but autism is itself not a mental illness and it is possible for an autistic person to be for all intents and purposes psychiatrically well. So it is important to not conflate things. And as always it is vital to not use these conditions (not saying that is necessarily happening here) to attack people without establishing the relevance of the conditions and without giving other considerations proper evaluation.

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