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 O'Reilly Actor:

Bill O'Reilly, the loud and combative anchor of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor , refers to himself as "a forlorn and misunderstood journalist." Not that you'd know it from his book sales: The print The O'Reilly Factor spent ten weeks as the nation's number one bestseller. You also wouldn't know it from O'Reilly's ratings. With 1.5 million viewers per night, his show regularly surpasses CNN 's Larry King Live . O'Reilly is the new king of talk -- or perhaps, the king of shout. And yet portraying himself as embattled is crucial to O'Reilly's carefully cultivated persona. O'Reilly claims to fight for the average American, whose struggles he intimately comprehends. He's been there; he grew up in a poor Irish-Catholic family in Levittown. The only problem is, a December Washington Post profile debunked O'Reilly's claims to a hardscrabble upbringing, noting that his father's $35,000 salary translates today into something closer to $92,000 -- more than enough to send O'Reilly to a private...

Heaving Anchors:

The piling on has begun. Last week Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz broke a front page story about CBS anchor Dan Rather's speech at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in Texas. Considering that Rather is, as Kurtz puts it, "the longest-serving and most outspoken of the major network news anchors," this has, of course, thrown the right into a tizzy about liberal media bias. It certainly doesn't hurt that those who have long claimed Rather transparently favors Democrats now get to skywrite " I told you so ." This is not a particularly good time to defend Dan Rather. But it is a time to have some perspective. Besides the lame antics of those who have been shielding Rather, the latest scandal has brought about two seriously misguided reactions. The first is the predictable one: Conservative media critics like the Media Research Center head Brent Bozell have been teeing off on Rather, despite the fact that their cherished network, Fox News , is far more thoroughly biased than...

Losers:

As the chattering begins over George W. Bush's upcoming judicial appointments, much attention has been devoted to the so-called Federalist Society , the rightist legal organization that has been recommending candidates. Launched two decades ago by a clutch of conservative law students -- including current Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham -- the Society has since colonized Washington power circles as well as numerous federal benches nationwide. Under Bush, this trend will likely accelerate. For example, The New York Times recently reported that President Bush is likely to name the Federalist Society's Peter D. Keisler to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit . Another feather in the Federalist Society's cap is the appointment of longtime member Theodore B. Olson to serve as U.S. solicitor general. Olson, of course, was the Bush team's lawyer in last December's case-of-the century Bush v. Gore . Federalist Society types repeatedly excoriate liberal "...

Pressing the Advantage

The media bashing is starting to get unnerving. Apparently it's not just conservative mudslingers like Michelle Malkin : Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that though the public antagonism hasn't yet attained Vietnam-era levels, "'treasonous' and 'traitor' are words aimed at the news media with increasing frequency these days." Each time newspaper correspondents file I-was-there pieces from the ground in Afghanistan, it seems, they get angry letters threatening that they're putting U.S. troops at risk. Much of this full-court-press against the press is political in nature -- yet another crusade against the "liberal media." It has been stoked by conservative commentators and outlets like Brent Bozell's Media Research Center , which recently accused ABC of paying too much attention to supposed pictures of civilian carnage caused by U.S. bombing. How fitting, then, that conservatives are now coming to the rescue with an idea for bringing about a détente between the media and the...

The Other Coulter

Post September 11 flying-off-the-handle has already derailed the career of one previously unaccountable female GOP pundit -- Ann Coulter. In an apparent fit of rage, Coulter infamously wrote of those celebrating the World Trade Center attacks abroad: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." The comment eventually resulted in her column being dropped by the mainstream conservative clearinghouse National Review Online -- proof to many that she had finally gone too far. (Though if you consider Coulter's career in all its fullness, the crusader remark actually doesn't seem so entirely unprecedented.) But there is another Coulteresque pundit also in desperate need of accountability, to say nothing of restraint: Michelle Malkin . Malkin's syndicated column appears regularly in such newspapers as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , The Miami Herald, The Washington Times, The Houston Chronicle and The New York Post. She also shows up as a...

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