Screenshot: CNN

Today on CNN Rick Santorum said that climate change scientists are “driven by money,” and complimented the Trump administration for managing to bury a non-partisan, government-funded report on climate change on Black Friday. Santorum is paid by the network to say things like this and will continue to be paid to say things like this but holy shit, it is so fucking frustrating.

Here’s the clip.

Look at his fucking grin. That is the grin of a man who is making a lot of money to exploit a broken system of cable news shit-eating. This is not a new problem, either. Splinter’s Dave Uberti summed it up perfectly in March:

This is CNN’s model: It hires people like Santorum to be—as network boss Jeff Zucker once put it—“characters in a drama.” Their provocations set off internal content feedback loops that can be milked for days, with the news organization’s anchors nobly crusading on the right side of history. And at the end of it all, everyone collects their checks.

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The headline on this blog could apply to every Rick Santorum appearance on CNN, of course, but it seems particularly despicable that they’re trotting him out and giving him the first word on a segment that discusses something that will irrevocably change all of our lives. As Symone Sanders puts it later in the segment: “California was literally burning last week, this is not normal.” Santorum just grins. Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and every other host that gives Santorum airtime on their show should be utterly ashamed of themselves.