Menu

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

A Few Good Conservatives

Over the pre-Thanksgiving weekend, as their alma maters clashed waspily in the Harvard-Yale game (Yale won) and as the candidates themselves went for highly publicized jogs (Governor Bush is faster), Al Gore and George W. Bush spinners continued their grating arguments for and against manual ballot recounts in Florida. In this battle of repetitiousness, conducted in any media forum available and with virtually interchangeable spokespersons -- bench Jim Baker for Marc Racicot; tag in David Boies when Warren Christopher starts falling asleep -- it's not particularly easy to warm up to either side. Indeed, in this respect, the post-campaign is very much like the campaign itself. But there's an important difference, too. Whereas the election turned on whose plans were best for the country (a matter of interpretation), the Florida recount is about who actually won the most votes (a matter of fact, though difficult to ascertain). And perhaps that's why intellectually...

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'...

Pages