Conservative radio host Neal Larson quit writing his column for an Idaho newspaper after he made national news for being called out by Neil deGrasse Tyson over a major factual error.
Larson accused the astrophysicist and host of the Cosmos series of insulting a 9-year-old girl on Twitter.
Larson’s entire argument, however, was built on a story he read on the satirical website Clickhole.
Tyson commented on the article, thoroughly debunked his column.
“You abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours,” Tyson wrote.The comment seemingly turned Larson’s life upside down.
“For those in the national spotlight, this is probably old hat, but I wasn’t equipped to handle the influx, logistically or emotionally,” Larson wrote. “If anyone had sent a kind word or more gentle and constructive criticism, I apologize because I probably missed it in the onslaught of hate.”
The story went national, and Larson decided to quit his job.
“The instant it was picked up nationally, I was checkmated,” Larson wrote in his final column for the Twin Falls Times-News. “I had no recourse, no comparable media platform at my disposal. It was as terrible and as helpless as you can imagine. Even more disappointing, a few people that I honestly thought were friends, shared online my unfortunate story with glee.”
Larson is still hosting his conservative talk show, but perhaps he learned a quick lesson in fact checking.