Ramaswamy has been no stranger to Fox: Since January 2022, he has appeared in Fox News weekday programming roughly 77 times. It’s not a stretch to say that his presidential run has been at least partially manufactured by Fox News.
One of the reasons for his popularity on Fox is his constant drumbeat against climate policies. In addition to railing against corporations promoting environmental, social, and governance principles (ESG) and stating that climate change has nothing to do with the climate and is just a front in order to “punish people & exercise power,” Ramaswamy has made it a point to mention “climate religion” in his Fox appearances.
These comments fit perfectly into Fox’s long-running campaign of amplifying climate misinformation and delaying climate action.
Ramaswamy's “climate religion” comments are a staple of his Fox interviews
In Ramaswamy’s aforementioned Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance, he said “climate religion … is completely shackling the American economy” and called it a “sacred cow” that we need to “take to the slaughterhouse.” And in recent interviews, he made sure to get this point across to the Fox audience.
On the March 1 edition of Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria, he said “ending climate religion” is one of his campaign planks, while on the February 26 edition of Fox News’ The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, he stated that “climatism” is a form of “scientism rather than science. That is a religion.” And on the February 23 edition of Hannity, he noted that he is “dismantling this climate religion. We have been addicted to a climate religion that shackles the United States while leaving China untouched.”
On the February 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, he stated that he wants to focus on problems like “the rise of secular religions like wokeness and climatism.” On this same day, he also referenced dismantling “climate religion” on Fox Business’ Varney and Co. A clip of this was played later that day on Fox Business’ The Big Money Show.
He also compared climate change to a religion during a February 10 Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance. He referred to the “environmental and ESG movement and related climate religion” as just a “Trojan horse for global equity.”
Fox has long sown the seeds of Ramaswamy’s “climate religion” comments
Ramaswamy could have easily just copied and pasted his “climate religion” comments from other Fox segments. Fox has long belittled those concerned about climate change by painting them as part of a radical extremist movement, one that is detached from reality and one that has lost traditional values like faith and morality. Even recently, Fox’s most-watched shows have been hammering this point.
Look no further than the February 28 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight. Tucker Carlson lamented the decline of traditional organized religion in America, noting that we need to accept the “fact that we are not God.” He then stated that “ignoring that fact leads to insanity. Or in the case of modern America, it leads to the trans agenda and climate theology.”
Before interviewing Ramaswamy on February 10, Carlson went on a rant about how climate change is like a religion, insinuating that those who care about climate change are “referring back to the primitive religions that dominated this Earth until pretty recently.” And on the February 9 edition, Carlson played a clip of an interview where former Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder stated, “We're facing a group think on the left that’s really metastasized almost into a religion. And they use things like climate change.”
On December 12, Carlson offered a climate denial-filled opening monologue that included mocking Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for saying that Christians should care about climate issues and be good stewards of the Earth. He described his comments like so: “Climate, declared Father Buttigieg, is a moral issue — not a meteorological matter, not even a policy topic. It’s a moral issue. Climate is a question that bears directly on the fate of your mortal soul. When you mistreat the climate, you risk damnation. … OK, Rev. Pete.” On October 27, he hosted Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to claim that “the climate agenda is a religion to them.”
On October 17, Laura Ingraham hosted contrarian grifter Michael Shellenberger to discuss how, as Ingraham put it, “apocalyptic greens are in the grips of a bad religion.” On September 28, Sean Hannity hosted Mike Huckabee to claim that “for the people on the far left, this whole idea of the climate and climate change, it's not a political issue. This is their religion.” The September 14 edition of Special Report aired a clip of Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) saying that “the religion today of the Democrat Party is a religion of climate. They worship the sun god, the wind god, and the god of wishful thinking.”
Even several years ago, Fox employees and guests were complaining that people were too alarmist about climate change. One of the network’s employees, Pete Hegseth, consistently makes it a point to mock climate action and link it to religion. They’ve also colorfully discussed how climate action can be compared to ancient human sacrifices.
Fox now has a Republican presidential candidate who makes decrying “climate religion” a central plank of his campaign
People have every right to be concerned about climate change — the crisis is worsening in front of our eyes and world leaders are doing very little to solve it. By disparaging climate activists and policies as alarmist or part of a religious cult, Fox is creating an alternate reality for their viewers, one where climate change is not a serious problem and the real problem is actually the people calling for action.
This is exactly the point of the network’s promotion of Ramaswamy. Fox and Ramaswamy want to protect the status quo, and this includes boosting the wealthy fossil fuel companies whose products are imperiling the planet. By consistently painting climate activists as cultists and nut jobs who want to destroy the traditional ways of American life, they can whip their viewers into a frenzy and get them to ignore how the climate crisis is a real and serious threat to their lives.
Fox has spent years either dismissing the seriousness of climate change or outright denying it. It’s because of this disinformation campaign that climate change is a divisive political issue among the U.S. public. Even the smallest things now, like an option in Xbox controllers that makes them more carbon friendly, are enough to spur a Fox freakout, because the network knows it will galvanize viewers into continuing to treat climate change as a divisive issue.
Thus, Vivek Ramaswamy’s invocations of the problem of “climate religion” are a perfect gift to Fox. They give the network more ammunition to treat climate change as part of the broader culture war and help Fox shape its platform for the Republican presidential candidates in 2024.
Expect to see Ramaswamy on the network a lot more in the coming weeks and months.