In the space of 24 hours, Greta Thunberg morphed
from a participant in the cause celebre of
climate change (or global warming, or global
cooling depending on who and what you’re
reading) to a cause celebre of her very own.
Following Thunberg’s intense speech at the
United Nations on Monday, the 16-year-old
got far more coverage than the climate change
she spent her time decrying.
Leftists lauded her passion and commitment
to the cause, never bothering to question
whether her emotional bombast was justified
by any objective science.
Conservatives, on the other hand, took two
approaches to addressing Thunberg’s speech
— one good and the other very, very bad.
The smart conservatives attacked Thunberg’s
language and runaway emotionalism. The other
conservatives foolishly attacked Thunberg
on a personal level.
What possessed Laura Ingraham to mention “Children
of the Corn” in reference to Thunberg, I’ll
never know. That might go down well with the
most intensely partisan followers of the climate
debate, but it doubtless settled the case
for many still trying to make up their minds,
and they decided in favor of the side that
didn’t compare a 16-year-old girl to horror
movie antagonists. In other words, Ingraham’s
comparison sounded uncomfortably close to
the establishment media’s characterization
of the Covington kids.
Smack in between the conservatives attacking
Thunberg’s language and ideas and the conservatives
attacking her on a personal level was Michael
Knowles of The Daily Wire.
Knowles, make no mistake, is a smart conservative.
He’s a lot smarter than I am, and in most
rooms he’s almost certainly the smartest
guy. Yet somehow Knowles has ended up being
booted from Fox News over a single comment
about Thunberg, according to The Washington
Guesting on Fox News’ “The Story” on
Monday night, Knowles said that “the climate
hysteria movement is not about science. If
it were about science, it would be led by
scientists rather than by politicians and
a mentally ill Swedish child who is being
exploited by her parents and by the international
It was the “mentally ill” part that the
media latched onto, and Fox News caved. The
network issued an apology, saying, “The
comment made by Michael Knowles, who was a
guest on ‘The Story’ tonight, was disgraceful.
We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our
Fox also said Knowles wouldn’t be back as
a guest, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Even if Knowles was wrong, since when is Fox
News a part of “cancel culture”?
But he wasn’t wrong. Thunberg has battled
mental illness, and if the world is going
to attack Knowles for pointing that out, then
the world also should attack The New York
Times for noting the exact same thing, only
in more detail.
In August, Somini Sengupta at The Times reported:
“As a child, doctors told [Thunberg] she
had Asperger’s syndrome. In early adolescence
she battled severe depression, so much so
that she stopped eating for a while and stopped
“Recovery came slowly, and only after finding
a sense of purpose. ‘I’ve had my fair
share of depressions, alienation, anxiety
and disorders,’ she wrote in a recent Facebook
So if what Knowles said on Fox News has some
basis in reality, why the massive reaction?
First, the left picked Thunberg because any
attack on what she said or how she said it
could very easily be recast as an attack on
Second, Knowles exposed this entire farce
by pointing out that Thunberg is a tool of
the left — a little girl transformed into
both a puppet to spout talking points and
a bear trap for anyone who dared disagree.
Going forward, conservatives need to take
a page from the rest of Knowles’ interview
(though, we should note, autism is not a mental
illness — it’s a developmental disorder).
His point was that the left is exploiting
a child who has suffered from mental illness,
and he’s 100 percent right. That’s exactly
Filling a child’s head with nonsense about
the end of the world due to cow flatulence
Doing the same to a child who has struggled
with anxiety and depression is evil.
After Knowles’ statement, fellow guest Christopher
Hahn repeatedly called him “despicable.”
Hahn was right that something despicable was
happening, but he was wrong to point the finger
at Knowles. He should have pointed the finger
at the U.N., climate alarmists, Democrats
and every other person (himself included)
exploiting that little girl to feather their
own political nests.
Filling a depression-and anxiety-prone girl
with visions of her world’s death is evil.
Calling out that evil, as Knowles did, is
good. And, as usual, the left is calling good
evil and evil good.