Arguing that Republicans don’t reflexively deny scientific facts, conservative MSNBC commentator S.E. Cupp repeated Climategate smears against climate science. Cupp was attacking the premise of author and Science Progress contributor Chris Mooney’s new book, The Republican Brain, which looks at how conservative propaganda and ideological tendencies have led to increasing distrust in science among the American right. Cupp bowled over host Alex Wagner, citing Rick Santorum as her authority that the fact of man-made climate change is “corrupted” by “phony studies”:
CUPP: Here’s what I find infuriating. We have a long and glorious tradition in this country of questioning science. We’ve been questioning science in fact for centuries, asking is science right on this? The idea that science is some unimpeachable institution that cannot be questioned flies in fact in the face of the bedrock of the scientific method, which is skepticism. Whether we are trying to disprove science as junk science or exposing certain science as immoral. I’m thinking of eugenics here, population control. The idea that when a Republican does it is somehow scary or backwards, is exactly why the public is skeptical of science as having been politicized because of suggestions like this that Republicans writ large are afraid of science.
WAGNER: I mean honestly. We have seen Newt Gingrich on the couch with Nancy Pelosi talking about climate change.
CUPP: There have been, to quote Rick Santorum, phony studies on climate change. East Anglia University I should mention!
WAGNER: And that study –
CUPP: Every time science has been corrupted by politics, everyone in the scientific community should be worried!
As Wagner was evidently trying to point out, the hacked emails from East Anglia University were shown by repeated independent investigation to show nothing other than private conversations among ethical scientists doing valid scientific work, despite a well-funded smear campaign to distort the contents of the emails.
“It’s good to be open-minded,” Mooney responded, “but at some point you have to respect the process and the scientific consensus that emerges. That’s what doesn’t happen from the right.”