The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion ‘Fox & Friends’ is a planetary threat

A team of international scientists heads to Chile’s station Bernardo O’Higgins in Antarctica in 2015. (Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press)

As the world awaits some sort of announcement from President Trump regarding U.S. participation in the Paris climate accord, let’s gauge the sophistication of climate-change discussion on one of his favorite television shows.

“The planet will be fine. It will shrug off your SUV and your air conditioner without a thought, as it has for thousands of years,” said guest Mark Steyn, a conservative commentator.

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When a “Fox & Friends” co-host asked why climate change is “the religion of the left,” Steyn said, “I think precisely because it is so meaningless. Because if you say to them, ‘Let’s enforce the border.’ ‘Well, are you out of your mind? We can’t– that’s just a natural phenomenon. We can’t enforce the border. People are going to be coming in anyway.’ But if you say to them, ‘Well, we can control the very heavens.’ You know, ‘That we can do.’ And it’s actually literally insane. The less it has to do with your life, the more the left is invested in it.”

Steyn drew a contrast between the threat posed by climate change and other threats. “If you’re blown up at an Ariana Grande concert, the mayor of London and the prime minister of France say, ‘Get used to it. That’s just the way it is. We can’t do anything about it.’ But if you want to lower the thermostat of the planet by a third of a degree in the year 2100, that we can do,” said Steyn.

Such comments left open various gaps for rebuttal, including, for starters, the fact that air conditioning was invented in 1902, not thousands of years ago. Not to mention the false choice between addressing climate change and addressing terrorism. Perhaps the “Fox & Friends” crew hasn’t brushed up on the role of climate change in the rise of the Islamic State.

There were times when on-air stupidity of this sort was ignorable, back when presidents could identify propaganda. Based on the tweets of the current president — a documented fan of “Fox & Friends” — we know those times are finished. By an accident of fate, the president’s public-policy awareness draws to a considerable degree from the weakest link in U.S. media. And my, how weak it is.

(h/t Mediaite)