I’m completely transfixed by this little mini-interview with Tucker Carlson, filmed on Tuesday. Carlson is a cable TV blowhard who I rarely get to experience. Here he is apparently with his guard relatively down, talking almost casually with Talking Points Memo’s David Kurtz, and oscillating wildly between the eminently reasonable and the absurd. He begins with (obligatory?) praise for new media, then launches into
It seems to me the essence of scientific inquiry is, bring it on. Test me. Ask an endless series of questions. Test every possible hypotheiss. I mean, that’s what science is, right? But in the name of it you have people say, the very fact that you would raise that question not only suggests but in fact proves that you are a moron, incapable of understanding the debate, or you’re evil, you’re being funded by some special interest that wants to pollute the earth. To impune the motives of people who ask questions in the name of science, that’s insane! In fact, it’s like a parody — it’s like a joke.
Without knowing the specific exchange Carlson is referring to here, it should go without saying that he’s sort of missed the point — that scientists entertain an “endless series of questions” from those who understand the issue under discussion. The continued insistence of a certain group of the right wing that global warming does not exist contradicts the 99% of the scientists who study the issue, and who are understandably irate at debating demagogues who obviously can not be persuaded.
But then comes really the meat — Carlson’s criticism of how the GOP convention is being handled, and on the choice of Sarah Palin as vice presidential candidate. His critique of the cancellation of convention events, and his critique, is great. Spot-on, I’d say, but also almost funny in his frankness and openness. “Go zanny!”