Sunday, May 26, 2024

Dan Rather’s Take on Jon Stewart’s COVID Rant: “The idea that science is the biggest threat to the planet is terribly irresponsible”


Dan Rather is unhappy with Jon Stewart. The famed journalistand former CBS News anchor is taking issue with Stewart’s rant on Colbert regarding the Wuhan virus starting in a laboratory versus somehow emanating from bats. Stewart, surprising Colbert on live TV, turned into a right wing curmudgeon and blamed the sceintists in the Wuhan lab for creating the virus.

Colbert was appalled. So is Rather. He says so on his Substack newsletter.

Stewart said on the show: “I honestly mean this: I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science,” Stewart said. “Science has in many ways helped ease the suffering of this pandemic ― which was more than likely caused by science.” He added, “Oh my God, there’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.”

“Can I say this about scientists?” he continued. “I love them and they do such good work but they are going to kill us all.” Let that sink in. Scientists are going to “kill us all?” Rather notes on his blog today that Stewart finished up by predicting how the world would end. “The last words man utters are somewhere in a lab a guy goes, ‘Huhuh! It worked.”

Rather is incensed. He writes: They idea that scientists have done some bad things in the name of research — such as the Tuskegee experiments. Scientists have been wrong. Science and technology have been tools that supported colonialism and oppression. Science does not release us from our moral responsibilities. All of this is the case because science is a human endeavor and scientists are human, subject to the same frailties and base instincts as any member of our species. But science is also a way of thinking, where we challenge our own dogmas and beliefs, where we change our minds and approach when the data show we were wrong.

“Stewart is playing into the trope of the mad scientist at a time when we need science more than ever to solve our more pressing problems — most notably climate change. The idea that science is the biggest threat to the planet is terribly irresponsible. It gives free license to all those who say, forget what we have learned, forget knowledge, forget seeing reality. And I fear this reasoning – or should I say “unreasoning” — has not only consumed the modern Republican party but is in danger of consuming an even broader swath of the American and global public.”

Here was Stewart’s rant:

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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