The Right-Wing Media’s Discipline Machine
Ben Adler, at the Columbia Journalism Review
When Mitt Romney was asked at a New Hampshire town hall in June 2011 about climate change, he probably did not think he was taking a risk by admitting that it is happening. ‘I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer,’ said Romney. ‘Number two, I believe that humans contribute to that…. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change.’
The science on the subject is clear, and Romney had said the same in the 2008 without inviting a notable backlash. But this time was different. Rush Limbaugh, the godfather of modern conservative talk radio, reacted with horror. Romney had just demonstrated himself too credulous of science and Enlightenment reasoning to win the Republican nomination. ‘Bye-bye nomination,’ Limbaugh intoned. ‘Another one down. We’re in the midst here of discovering that this is all a hoax. The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, and we still have presidential candidates who want to buy into it!’
Limbaugh’s assertion that Romney could not win the Republican nomination was premature; Romney remains very much in contention. But right-wing voters have held Romney’s statement against him as they continue to search for a suitable alternative.
The brouhaha might seem strange to an outsider, since Romney did not actually propose to do anything about climate change. In his campaign book No Apologies, Romney dismissed cap and trade as ‘radical feel-good politics.’ But the conservative media no longer accept objective facts—the facts themselves must now fit the right-wing narrative.
More, at: cjr.org