How Media Polarization Warped the Climate Change Debate
Ding-ding! Here's round two of the viral Bill Nye vs. Tucker Carlson Fox News debate. The Science Guy replies, without interruptions, and makes Tucker Carlson an offer.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
Tucker Carlson: So much of this you don’t know. You pretend to know but you don’t know, and you bully people who ask you questions.
Bill Nye: I really have to disagree with you. I’ve spent a lot of time with this topic.
Tucker Carlson: I’m open minded. You are not.
Bill Nye: Mr. Carlson. What happened to you man? You used to be affable. You used to be friendly. You used to wear a nice tie. Now you wear one of those bibs and I don’t know. So I don’t know what happened to you man but I want you to consider that from a scientific perspective pick the number you like, 97 percent of the world’s scientists, very close to 100 percent of the world’s scientists are very concerned about climate change. And so why aren’t some people concerned about it?
When media outlets were allowed to be consolidated in the1980s. Then it developed these two factions like I don’t remember it having. And by that I think two factions are a normal course of events where you have males and females, you have boys and girls whether it’s fruit flies or dandelions or you and me. And in the World Cup soccer you end up with two teams. The World Series baseball you end up with two teams. It’s really hard to have three teams. And two political parties nominally. So somebody who understands this better than I do may observe that the media have divided into two camps. But from our point of view on the science and engineering side you’ve got to respect the facts at some level. You’ve got to respect what is scientifically provable. And then speaking of authorities and mistrust of authorities, the crowd at the inauguration. It was an objectively smaller crowd than the crowd the next day at the women’s march.
If someone asserts that the crowd is bigger when it was clearly smaller then everything else he or she says is subject to question. And this had led to a lot of trouble. So I think though that built into the U.S. government which includes the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is freedom of the press. Built in is change. So I’m very hopeful, I’m optimistic that things will change. That my understanding is subscriptions to so called mainstream media, Washington Post, New York Times and so on have gone up in response to this approach to objective truths. So that will probably be to the good. But how fast will it happen and what will go wrong in the meantime? These are big questions.
And then as far as my thing with Mr. Carlson, I don’t know. He used to not interview that way. He used to not just talk the whole time.
Tucker Carlson: At what point would it have changed? And I’m just saying you don’t actually know because it’s unknowable.
Bill Nye: This is how long it takes you to interrupt me, OK. It takes you quite a bit less than six seconds. I’d go back again in a second Mr. Carlson. If you had me on again I will come right back on. Bring it on man. And you know what else Mr. Carlson, I’ll bet you $10,000 that 2010-2020 will be the hottest decade on record. I offered a bet of $10,000 to Joe Bastardi who is a Fox news contributor and Marc Morano who I’m not sure is a contributor but used to appear on your station routinely, your network routinely. I bet them each $10,000 bucks 2010-2020 would be the hottest decade on record. I bet them each another $10,000 bucks on the decade, $10,000 bucks on the year 2016. 2016 would have been among the top ten hottest years on record. Wait, there’s more. 2016 was the hottest year on record. And your guys, the people that Fox News heretofore supports in this would not take either bet - $40,000. Wouldn’t take the bet. Could have been theirs. I’m good for it.
On February 27, Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson invited Bill Nye onto his show to talk about climate change, only to yell over him, belittle his qualifications, and bafflingly interrupt answers to demand answers. Here, Bill Nye addresses the heated exchange and how the polarization of the media has skewed the climate change "debate". He also wonders why climate deniers won’t put their money where their mouth is, because Nye is ready to make a wager, and has publicly been offering for years—with no takers. Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
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