The New York Times is stepping up its attack against the “right-wing media,” while ludicrously insisting that it itself is objective, which no one buys. After ostensible “news” coverage hailing 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, the editorial page devoted its entire space Friday to condemning media outlets who would question her heroism.
“Climate Kids and Right-Wing Media” was the sole editorial in Friday’s edition, an unusual signed editorial from Charlie Warzel, “Opinion writer at large.” Warzel loved Thunberg, but loved her apparent defeat of the “right-wing media” even more.
The kids aren’t just all right -- they’re scrambling the brains of their political enemies.
Last Friday, millions of people, many of them children and teenagers, took to the streets during the Global Climate Strike, a protest inspired by Fridays for Future, the international youth effort started by the 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The protesters’ call for broad action to combat global warming was powerful, as was the message sent by their numbers: Dynamic, frustrated young people are instilling in the climate movement a new urgency.
Online, the climate kids’ impact can be measured in a different way -- by how they’re short-circuiting the right-wing media ecosystem that’s partly responsible for the spread of climate skepticism. Since Friday’s strike, pro-Trump media and conservative cable news pundits have devoted significant resources to turning the children of the climate movement into Public Enemy No. 1.
Over the weekend, Alan Jones, an Australian broadcaster for Sky News, delivered a monologue calling the climate-striking youth “selfish, badly educated, virtue-signaling little turds.” Mr. Jones finished by reading a letter arguing that children concerned about climate change should “wake up, grow up and shut up until you’re sure of the facts before protesting.” The rant echoed other criticisms of the protest from the right. “I wish I could inject that letter into my veins,” a blogger for the conservative site RedState wrote.
Warzel listed verbal attacks on Thunberg from conservative figures Dinesh D’Souza, Michael Knowles, and Laura Ingraham.
Much like the Parkland students, who proved to be a formidable opposition to the pro-Trump media apparatus that accused them of being crisis actors, Ms. Thunberg and the climate kids seem immune to the usual tactics of right-wing media. As newcomers, they’re mostly impervious to the right’s tool of personal attacks....
Unmentioned is how mainstream outlets like the Times have provided invaluable assistance for both the Parkland students and Thunberg in spreading their respective anti-gun, anti-capitalist propaganda.
Simply put, they don’t seem to care what adults, skeptics, deniers and crusty politicians think of them. And they waste very little of their time, energy and focus work-shopping their message or bulletproofing it against criticism. They simply pay their enemies no attention. They’re participating in the culture wars while also managing to float above the fray.
Floating “above the fray” partly because the press fails to do its due diligence in challenging Thunberg’s out-there rants, or questioning the morality of environmental “scientists” and activists hiding behind a teen-ager.
The usual tactics of the right-wing media break down in the face of this type of resolve. While outrage campaigns intended to work the refs and appeal to fears of appearing partisan may work with lawmakers or companies in Silicon Valley, the youth climate movement appears wholly unmoved....
Warzel dismissed the conservative argument against treating Thunberg’s uninformed, anti-capitalist outbursts with kid gloves.
Faced with a political enemy that pays it no attention, the right is palpably frustrated. They argue that children have become, as a headline on an essay by Commentary’s Noah Rothman put it, “Child Soldiers in the Culture wars,” are insulated against criticism because of their age and innocence....
But as the past week shows, the right is perfectly willing to attack the children. Instead, the problem is that, as Mr. Carlson seems to realize, there’s just not a very resonant counter message for a youth movement to protect the planet.... And so it feels increasingly likely that, when it comes to climate, the right-wing media, which is skewed toward an aging Republican audience, may simply be obsolete.
Warzel also bashed conservatives by name in contemptuous fashion in August:
Today, five years later, the elements of Gamergate are frighteningly familiar: hundreds of thousands of hashtag-swarming tweets; armies of fake Twitter accounts; hoaxes and disinformation percolating in murky chat rooms and message boards before spreading to a confused mainstream media; advertiser boycotts; crowdfunding campaigns; racist, sexist and misogynist memes; YouTube shock jocks; D-list celebrities hand-wringing about political correctness on Twitter; Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon and Breitbart; Candace Owens.