One normally associates late-night, expletive-laced segments focused on left-leaning politics with your John Olivers or Samantha Bees. Which is to say: Cable networks. On Monday night, however, people tuning in to ABC were treated to a small taste of what those bold enough to explore the double-digit realms of their cable boxes have long enjoyed.

Jimmy Kimmel's go-to persona is of a guy who's slightly surprised that the person he's talking to is so stupid, but who is doing a decent job of masking it. In this case, the stupid person was ostensibly Sarah Palin, though, really, it was any- and everyone who expresses skepticism at the human origins of global warming. Palin was isolated thanks to her active promotion of a movie called "Climate Hustle," which seeks to be for climate change deniers what "An Inconvenient Truth" was for climate change activists. (It has no critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but fans love it, which seems about right. Most of the reviews online are from conservative media sites, who are enthusiastic.)

The "hustle" in the title presumably refers to the long-standing suggestion from climate change deniers that the scientific consensus -- 97 percent of experts agree that humans are causing warmer temperatures -- is a function of some widespread conspiracy, centered, in some formulations, on the desire for more grant money. This is not generally considered a credible suggestion.

Kimmel starts with Palin, and then expands outward. Stick around for the end, in which various climate scientists appear to insist that their work is not simply a function of some grand plot to trick the United States into buying solar panels.

What Kimmel mostly objects to, you'll note, is the political split over climate change. The issue has become deeply polarized, with Democrats strongly advocating for action to address the problem and Republicans much more likely to oppose it.


We're not generally in the habit of detailed analysis of the political implications of late-night bit, since, generally, there is none. Kimmel's goal may theoretically have been to present a different facet of the issue to the casual observer. Or, more likely, it was to get a bunch of scientists to swear at Sarah Palin.

He is an entertainer, after all.