Accuracy in Media

Greta Thunberg can hector leaders at the United Nations for what she perceives as inactivity on her pet issue – climate change. But if adults take issue with her gloomy outlook for the future of the world, they are bullies who just can’t admit to her appeal, according to the mainstream media.

“’Bully commentary born of anger’: Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocks 16-year-old girl with autism,” read the headline on Matt Rozsa’s story on Salon. “Fox calls a commentator who bullied Greta Thunberg ‘disgraceful,’ but refuses to offer a comment about its big star,” read the subhead.

Thunberg laid into the assembly with a scolding, “How-dare-you”-laden speech in which she warned of “mass extinction,” attacked capitalism as “fairytales of eternal economic growth” and asserted the current generation is “failing us” by not embracing far-left environmental policy.

The mainstream media coverage was adoring. “Sometimes, a moment and a person align,” wrote the Associated Press.s “For 16-year-old Greta Thunberg – whether you admire her or dislike her, and there are plenty of passionate partisans in both camps – Monday was that time.”

Global warming is a “diffuse topic” – and since people are trained by TV watching to look for “powerful protagonists and antagonists, it can be difficult to focus on something so vast and all-encompassing. Thunberg is changing that, and Monday was the pinnacle of her efforts thus far. She navigated the United Nations like a diplomatic pro, her size and age the only indications that she hasn’t been around for years.”

Afterwards Ingraham, “for the second year in a row,” has “found herself embroiled in controversy after attacking a teenager on live TV – this time a 16-year-old climate activist with autism,” wrote Salon

Thunberg, speaking “on behalf of youth across the globe,” put “world leaders on notice Monday” with her remarks,” Salon wrote, after which “Ingraham asked her viewers a rhetorical question: ‘Anyone else find that chilling?’”

She then rolled tape of the 1984 horror movie “Children of the Corn,” in which a supernatural creature convinces the town’s children to murder the adults and join a cult.

“I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate,’” Ingraham then said.

This, declared Salon, amounted to “bully commentary.”

“And Ingraham was not the only commentator on Fox News to take aim at the Swedish activist on the autism spectrum,” Salon wrote, again attempting to erect a shield of youth and mental infirmity around Thunberg to protect her from criticism of her quite pointed views.

The other was Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire, who had said earlier in the day, “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 left. What you’re seeing here is a political movement and a religious movement. And it’s fulfilling religious and political goals of the left, but it isn’t doing very much for science.”

These remarks were met with a bizarre tough-guy act from Christopher Hahn, a Democrat activist who also was on the panel.

“How dare you?” Hahn shouted. “Yeah, I mean, you’re a grown man, and you’re attacking a child. Shame on you. She’s trying to do what she thinks is right …”

Knowles responded: “I’m not. I’m attacking the left for exploiting a mentally ill child.”

Hahn responded: “Relax, skinny boy. I got this. OK? You’re attacking a child. You’re a grown man. Have some couth.”

Later, Rozsa wrote: “As she has emerged as a prominent voice of climate change activism, Thunberg has been repeatedly attacked by members of the right for being on the autism spectrum.”

He did not produce a single example of anyone on the right attacking Thunberg for being on the autism spectrum. Instead, he quoted Thunberg tweeting that her Aspergers makes her “sometimes a bit different from the norm. And given the right circumstances, being different is a superpower.”

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Comments are turned off for this article.