Has Fox News Cut Ties With Michael Knowles After ‘Mentally Ill’ Comment About Greta Thunberg?
By any measure, Michael Knowles was a rising name in the conservative media world. The Daily Wire contributor — and host of some podcast or another — has been a frequent television guest, offering the sort of hyperbolic defense of the Trump administration and predictable attacks on the left that is the foundation of Fox News opinion programming.
But after he called Swedish teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg a “mentally ill child” during a live appearance on Monday night’s 7 p.m. program The Story with Martha MacCallum, it seems that Knowles appearances on Fox News have ended.
In a fiery discussion led by guest host Harris Faulkner, Knowles brought up a study on the impact of meatless diets, saying, “They increase emissions, the increased energy use, water use, but none of that matters because the climate hysteria movement is not about science.” He then took a remarkably personal turn in criticizing Thunberg, adding “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 her parents and by the international left.”
Fellow guest and Democrat Chris Hahn audibly remarked “how dare you” as Knowles continued and said this is a “political movement and a religious movement” on the left, to which Hahn responded, “You’re a grown man and you’re attacking a child. Shame on you.”
“I’m not, I’m attacking the left for exploiting a mentally ill child,” Knowles said.
“Relax, skinny boy!” Hahn shot back. “I got this, okay? You’re attacking a child, you’re a grown man. Have some couth.”
Thunberg and her family have long been open about her Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a “developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.”
At issue is Knowles calling a highly functioning Thunberg in a more derisive manner of saying she is “mentally ill” which is misinformed hyperbole for a syndrome many functioning individuals have. Thunberg has called the condition a “gift” and credited it with sparking her activism. She wrote on Facebook in February:
Predictably, Knowles has been defiant under criticism (because of course he is), doubling down on Twitter:
Her mother wrote a book about her mental issues. There is nothing shameful about living with mental disorders.
What is shameful is exploiting a child—particularly a child with mental disorders—to advance your political agenda. https://t.co/oNR6iw7mRF
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2019
A Fox News spokesperson scolded Knowles in a statement to Mediaite: “The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful – we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter, Fox News added it has “no plans” to book Knowles as a guest moving forward. THR presents the story with the headline “Fox News Won’t Book Guest Again After ‘Disgraceful’ Comment About Greta Thunberg,” but saying there are “no plans” to book a guest is not the same thing as “won’t book guest again.”
Mediaite reached out to Fox News for clarification on the questionable headline and only learned confirmation that they have no plans to book him. “No plans to book” is materially different than “won’t book again” as The Hollywood Reporter claimed.
It seems unlikely that Fox News, or any outlet really, would ever officially announce an official ban of a non-paid guest from the entirety of their network. Who knows what may change in the future? And Fox News deserves credit for swift condemnation of Knowles’ comment and a thoughtful apology to Ms. Thunberg so quickly.
What seems far more likely scenario is that he will never appear on a show from their news side, but if he’s ever to show up on Fox news again is his possible appearance on top-rated opinion program like Laura Ingraham’s show, where professional controversialists like Dinesh D’Souza and Candace Owens are invited on time and time again. Even then, I wouldn’t count on it.
In the meantime, watch the clip above via Fox News above.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.