This morning there was a Media Matters fueled hullabaloo about commentary made by Daily Wire host Michael Knowles of Fox’s The Story regarding teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. I went out and looked at the clip and was not shocked by anything he said. She indeed suffers from multiple mental illnesses as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders. She is also Swedish and a child.
All of the information about Greta’s mental health diagnoses has been in the public realm for some time. I was actually more by Chris Hahn’s denial of this fact. Knowles’ criticism was not of Greta. It was of the adults in her life and the movement that is propping her up. I have had similar criticisms since I became aware of Greta earlier this year. Yet Knowles has reportedly lost his spot on Fox. For simply stating the truth.
I first became aware of Greta when I was researching the climate movement following the protest by children in Senator Feinstein’s office. As a pretty clear picture emerged that a children’s global climate strike was planned for March 15, 2019, I started to write about it. The movement couldn’t make Fetch happen in March, so we saw this protest last Friday instead.
In February, I questioned the adults in Greta’s life thrusting her into the public eye based on the information I found at the time. She was interviewed at a climate conference in Poland with her father by Democracy Now. In that interview, they discussed her Asperger’s and outline some pretty severe symptoms of depression due to her obsession with climate change.
What shocked me more about my findings at the time, was the coordinated push to put Greta in the spotlight. This was all done by adults with questionable personal motives. This included the release of a book written by her mother scheduled to launch shortly after Greta’s initial publicity tour. And the CEO of a for-profit Swedish company related to climate change.
Having watched Greta speak at that time and observed the children in Senator Feinstein’s office, I have a few observations. Greta has a flat affect that is typical in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is not being rude. From her comments, it seems she has a problem typical of her diagnosis. She lacks Theory of Mind. This is the ability to accurately discern what others are thinking and why many people on the spectrum never develop the ability to lie effectively. She also has deeply held irrational fears related to climate change.
And she is not alone. Many people called the children in the Senator’s office rude. Watched through a different lens, they were distraught. This is supported by the emergence of eco-anxiety in children. The apocalyptic narrative of the far Left is damaging our children.
Yet pointing that fact out, as Michael Knowles was doing about Greta in particular, will get you banned. Would Media Matters have been any less upset if he had referred to her as a disabled Swedish child? What descriptor would have been politically correct enough to describe her as a child who suffers from multiple mental health diagnoses?
The answer is none. Clearly, it is a fact that can not be mentioned. Except by her mother in the book she wrote. And her father during an interview. And whoever runs her Twitter account. This information can only be used to shield her from criticism or increase the idolization of her. The visceral offense also helped relieve Chris Hahn from having to answer the actual argument Knowles was making. From commentary on her mother’s book Scenes from the Heart:
Greta is eleven years old and has gone two months without eating. Her heart rate and blood pressure show clear signs of starvation. She has stopped speaking to anyone but her parents and younger sister, Beata.
After years of depression, eating disorders, and anxiety attacks, she finally receives a medical diagnosis: Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, and OCD. She also suffers from selective mutism—which explains why she sometimes can’t speak to anyone outside her closest family. When she wants to tell a climate researcher that she plans a school strike on behalf of the environment, she speaks through her father.
According to her speech, this child wants you to feel the panic she feels. The fear she feels every day. Unfortunately, that is not likely for much of the population. She nearly starved herself to death because of her fear. When her mother’s book published last year, even now she only allows herself certain foods:
In Scenes from the Heart, when Greta eventually starts eating again, she only allows herself certain foods. Her mother has to prepare the same food every day for Greta to bring to school and keep in the school refrigerator: pancakes filled with rice. Greta will eat them only if there is no sticker with her name on the container: stickers, paper and newspapers trigger Greta’s OCD against eating
Yet a Michael Knowles loses a platform for questioning whether the adults in this situation should be propping up a child with significant symptoms of the mental illnesses she suffers from. I am disappointed in the response from Fox. Media Matters has been targeting the staff at the Daily Wire for weeks. They let the mob win.