On the downward slide into national irrelevancy, Sarah Palin has just about used up what little political capital she has left. Endorsing Donald Trump will do that to a person. But the once-governor of Alaska—who still possesses an endearing kind of boondock charm—is still somewhat useful, insofar as she is excellent at mocking the Left in a way that tends to drive the Left nuts.
Case in point: her recent declaration that former television star Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is, in fact, “not a scientist.”
In a very real and important sense, this is true. But before we get to that, it’s worth reflecting on the fairly absurd reaction this has generated throughout a wide swath of the media. CNN, CBS, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Yahoo, the New York Daily News, Us Weekly—each of these outlets reported on Palin’s remarks as if it were actual news instead of just a throwaway line from a fading political star. The debacle was trending on social media, and many people rushed to poor Nye’s aid. Mic provided the answer to the burning question on everybody’s lips: Is Bill Nye a real scientist? “He is,” says Mic.
Our media cannot reliably and competently investigate the wholesale butchery and auctioning of unborn human beings or the criminal activity of one of the Democratic candidates for president, but they can sure jump on top of Sarah Palin’s remarks about a washed-up 1990s Saturday morning TV star.
Palin Recognizes TV Personalities When She Sees Them
That being said, Palin’s remarks were, by any reasonable standard, accurate: Nye is not in fact a “real scientist,” insofar as he doesn’t really do things that real scientists are supposed to do. He is instead a kind of grotesque caricature of what a scientist should be: he’s a professional lab-coat wearer, a fellow who is more interested in talking about science instead of actually doing it.
It does not appear that Nye has published a single paper in a peer-reviewed journal of any kind; his chief scientific exploits of the past 20 years or so appear to be tinkering with sundials and making public speaking appearances to talk about how great science is. His most recent high-profile contribution to “science” was to publicly debate a creationist over whether the Earth is 6,000 years old—a functionally useless endeavor, though I’m sure it made for a great Twitter hashtag.
Jonas Salk was a scientist, and he cured polio. Nye is a “scientist” and he can’t even get his ham-fisted pro-abortion advocacy right on the first take.