Words & Deeds

Idaho newspaper columnist quits after Neil deGrasse Tyson beatdown

Claiming that he was “schooled” and “checkmated,” Idaho Falls conservative talk-show host Neal Larson has jumped ship as a columnist for the Times-News in Twin Falls.

It’s a pathetic ending to an embarrassing sob story.

Last week, I almost felt sorry for Larson. He ripped celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in a bad column. Tyson responded. Everyone laughed.

This week, I definitely do feel sorry for Larson. But not because he got curb stomped by the internet.

I feel sorry for him because the man just doesn’t get it.

Larson’s goodbye essay this week in the Times-News is frustratingly self-centered. Rather than apologizing and leaving it at that, he also basically whines woe is me and I quit.

Larson is not a victim here. If you’re going to dish it out, you have to be able to take it.

In the original diatribe, Larson called Tyson a “jackass.” He cited a fake news story as fact. Tyson then methodically refuted Larson’s writing point by point, politely yet lethally, in the comment section.

Media picked up the story. Soon, Larson found himself on the receiving end of brutal comments, emails, social media.

In this week’s bon-voyage column, Larson sobs that “it was a nightmare receiving scores of tweets ... I wasn’t equipped to handle the influx, logistically or emotionally ... For now, farewell.”

Undoubtedly, the past several days have been a rough patch. The internet is vicious. A spark can turn into a hateful nuclear warhead overnight. You never get used to mean comments. Believe me, I know.

But Larson seems to be accustomed to blasting other people without repercussions. He thought he could go after Tyson in a small-town newspaper, and nobody outside Idaho would notice, right? Oops.

“For now, farewell”? For now, indeed. Larson is just waiting for the storm of humiliation to blow over. Meanwhile, he can keep doling out his sensitive political viewpoints at his day job on KID Newsradio.

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