Sean Davis’s inquiry into the accuracy of some of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s recent claims should be a classic case of journalism doing its job on behalf of the public. After all, the usual suspects are all here: A well-respected public figure (Tyson) making assertions of questionable truthfulness; said assertions are widely accepted without question, until a blogger uncovers serious discrepancies that make it almost certain that the assertions are partially or wholly false. This is quite a familiar narrative to anyone who reads news involving politics or religion.
Neither is it surprising that Tyson doubled down in his response to The Federalist’s charges. In his Facebook post of the email exchange, Tyson twice deflects questions about sources by saying his purpose is not to “indict” one particular person or article, “but to cite a broader issue that affects all of American society.” At the very least, this is a poorly framed response, implying that Tyson’s truthfulness should take a backseat to his altruistic intentions. No one could fault Tyson for a genuinely foggy memory.