Michael Knowles, the Daily Wire contributor whose blank book Reasons to Vote for Democrats became an Amazon bestseller two years ago, will no longer be a guest on Fox News after calling Greta Thunberg a “mentally ill child” during an appearance on The Story with Martha MacCallum Monday evening.
Knowles had been discussing the absurdity of “meatless” diets and environmentalism. “The climate hysteria movement is not about science,” Knowles said. “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 by her parents and by the international left.” This didn’t go over well with the show’s liberal guest.
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.”
Hahn refused to let Knowles’ comments go and demanded he apologize for calling Thunburg “mentally ill.”
“She is mentally ill,” Knowles responded. “She has autism, she has obsessive-compulsive disorder, she has selective mutism, she had depression…”
Hahn didn’t seem to care and called Knowles despicable. Knowles then noted that Thunberg’s mother wrote about all this in a book. Guest host Harris Faulkner quickly changed gears and moved on to another topic.
Knowles defended his comments later 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
— Iowa Caucus Winner Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2019
A spokesman for Fox News blasted 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.” Fox News also told The Hollywood Reporter that the network has “no plans” to book Knowles in the future. This is not an official ban, however, but still pretty gutless.
One thing is certain: Everything Knowles said was correct and easily verifiable. Thunberg has Asperger syndrome, selective mutism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suffered from depression. In 2018, she described her own illnesses in a TEDx Talk, where she explained that she fell into a depression and became ill when she was eleven years old. “I stopped talking. I stopped eating. In two months, I lost about ten kilos of weight. Later on I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism—that basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary.”
Any single one of these would be described as a mental illness. Calling them such is not attacking a child, but acknowledging the fact that this girl is being thrust into the spotlight despite her numerous problems. While may on the left cheer this, because Thunberg is the latest human shield they’ve found to champion their causes, many on the right see it for what it is: child exploitation and abuse. That Fox News was so quick to cut ties with Knowles for acknowledging this fact is just bizarre. Seemingly healthy adults often have trouble dealing with fame, and Thunberg is likely to experience emotional side effects to her notoriety. According to a 2014 article from Everyday Health, it is not certain whether fame causes mood disorders, or amplifies existing ones. Either way, it’s reasonable to believe that Thunberg is not properly equipped to handle her newfound fame. Her personal and mental health is likely to suffer as a result of this exploitation, and, I suspect, it will be worse once she’s outgrown her usefulness to the cause.