Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney is a Prospect senior correspondent and, most recently, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatened Our Future (with Sheril Kirshenbaum).

Recent Articles

The Bush Detector:

During the past month of the presidential race, "objectivity" in the mainstream media has become virtually indistinguishable from lowering the bar for George W. Bush -- despite the governor's repeated howlers . When Al Gore boasts, the press reports it as more evidence of the "Gore the Exaggerator" story line. And the Bush campaign eggs it on, sending out regular e-mails entitled: "THE GORE DETECTOR, A Regular Report on Al Gore's Adventures with the Truth." But when Bush exaggerates? Yawns. That is, until now. One of the most nagging illusions about Bush's Texas record, promoted wholesale by the Bush team, has just been shattered. And the papers are reporting it. "Study Disputes Bush Claims On Texas Education Record," announced today's Washington Post . "Report questions Texas' progress in education," echoed USA Today . The New York Times reported: "Study Casts Doubt on Texas Test Scores, and Gives the Democrats Ammunition." The Los Angeles Times put the story on its front...

Conservatives v. Cheney

After prolonged coyness, George W. Bush has finally announced that he has tapped Richard B. Cheney, former George Bush defense secretary, to be on the Republican ticket. Bush had said he wanted a "forward-looking administration," but then picked one of Daddy's dinosaurs. Bush had once promised that his veep choice would be an "electrifying" one -- but the selection of Cheney seems more likely to cause a GOP power outage. Conservatives as well as liberals have been setting off Cheney-bombs. Perhaps after a few more editorial meetings, conservative opinators will rally around Bush Sr.'s trusty stalwart, the Texas oil baron from Wyoming. But so far, they seem crestfallen. Before Cheney's selection became official, many writers continued to fantasize in print that the Cheney leak was a bait and switch -- and that Bush had finally convinced Colin Powell to join the ticket. More prominently, though, Bush's second-guessers are busily worrying that Cheney's selection...

A Vast *!?@ Conspiracy

For chronic Clinton-haters, it was a glorious weekend. The object of their joy? A book by National Enquirer writer Jerry Oppenheimer , published by conservative sugar-daddy Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins press, containing allegations that 26 years ago Hillary Clinton called someone a "fucking Jew bastard" in a moment of anger. When you consider that the person allegedly slandered -- then-Bill Clinton campaign manager Paul Fray -- is actually a Baptist, the story starts to seem rather Area 51-ish. And that's before you read these lines from Fray's three year old apology letter to Hillary, released by her campaign: "At one point in my life, I would say things without thinking, without factual foundation, and without rhyme or remedy until it furthered my own agenda. I was wrong, and I have wronged you." As New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote of Hillary's alleged anti-Semitic remark, "There's no way to prove a negative. But if you buy this one,...

G.W.'s Litterbox Strategy

"George and Laura Bush also own two cats, Willie, who is coal black, and six-toed Ernie, an orange-and-white feline. Ernie is named for Ernest Hemingway, who also owned a six-toed cat." -- Austin American Statesman , September 2, 2000 E arlier this month, the Bush campaign revealed its latest slogan: "Real Plans for Real People." Some found the new theme puzzling, wondering, "What exactly is a real person?" Others pondered: "What would a fake person be like?" Though the new Bush slogan raises deep questions, Rightwatch believes it has uncovered the answers. They lie in the Bush family litterbox. One of the Bushes' cats, Ernie, is named after the famous American novelist, Ernest Hemingway. Could it be that Bush was also thinking of Hemingway's unique brand of terse, evocative literary realism when he came up with his strikingly plain new slogan, "Real Plans for Real People"? By "real people," could Bush have meant Hemingway'...

The Cajun Rage:

When Pat Brister, state chairwoman of the Louisiana Republican Party , wanted to do her part to seal the 2000 election for George W. Bush, she didn't need Tom DeLay to provide an e-ticket to Florida. Instead, she just strolled out into her political backyard. Last month, Brister assembled a mid-sized Republican mob outside the Baton Rouge office of Louisiana's senior senator, Democrat John Breaux , and hand-delivered a letter urging Breaux to "call for Vice President Gore to accept the certification of the Florida Secretary of State" ensuring that Bush had won the election. Covering the media stunt, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported that Brister was unable to actually get to Breaux, and had to hand the letter over to an intern. But Louisiana Republicans had made their point. In a state George W. Bush carried handily, John Breaux was beholden to them at least as much as to the national Democratic Party. So far, Breaux hasn't called for Gore to concede...

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