Chris Mooney (journalist)

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Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney Jan 2010.jpg
Born (1977-09-20) September 20, 1977 (age 36)
Mesa, Arizona, U.S.
Nationality United States
Occupation Journalist, Author

Christopher Cole "Chris" Mooney (born September 20, 1977) is an American journalist, author and academic who focuses on science in politics.


Mooney was born in Mesa, Arizona, and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B.A. in English from Yale University in 1999, and has been a member of the board of the American Geophysical Union since November 2010.[1]


Mooney has been described as, "one of the few journalists in the country who specialize in the now dangerous intersection of science and politics."[2] He is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a contributing editor for Science Progress.[3][4] He maintains a blog, The Intersection, with Sheril Kirshenbaum. Originally hosted by Discover magazine, the blog moved to Science Progress in 2011.[5] Mooney also maintained a blog Doubt and About for the magazine Skeptical Inquirer, last contributing in 2006.[6]

Mooney has written or coauthored four books which have received significant attention. The Republican War on Science received mixed to positive reviews.[2][7][8] A review in Scientific American described it as well-researched and closely argued.[2] It was praised by Stuart Derbyshire who noted it's explanation of Republican manipulation and twisting of science to suppress scientific opinions that might damage President Bush's policies. Derbyshire agreed with Mooney that this "violates the integrity of science."[9]

Storm World was written after Mooney witnessed the devastation of his mother's house in Hurricane Katrina.[10] Thomas Hayden wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Mooney deftly handled the complexity of the questions surrounding global warming and its effect on hurricanes while weaving an intriguing and important story.[11] A review in The New York Times Book Review called it "a well-researched, nuanced book" but criticized it's organization and lack of "pizazz".[12]

Writing about The Republican Brain in The New York Times Paul Krugman stated that Mooney makes a good point: the personality traits associated with modern conservatism, particularly a lack of openness, make the modern Republican Party hostile to the idea of objective inquiry.[13]

Unscientific America cowritten with Sheril Kirshenbaum addressed scientific illiteracy in America. It was a New York Times best seller and received substantial critical attention.[4] A favorable review in Science Communication anticipated controversy.[14] Less favorable reviews in the BMJ and the New Scientist supported the authors' analysis of the problem but were critical of the solutions proposed.[15][16] American Scientist and Science published negative reviews.[17][18]

Mooney has written about issues in communicating science to the public in the The Washington Post.[19][20] He is the author of a report which reviews an ongoing exploration of the subject by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences titled, "Do Scientists Understand the Public?"[20]

He has contributed to a variety of publications, including Slate,, Mother Jones, Legal Affairs, Reason, The American Scholar, The Washington Monthly, the Utne Reader, Columbia Journalism Review, the Washington City Paper and The Boston Globe.[21][22]

Recurring topics in Mooney's writing include global warming, the creation–evolution controversy, bioethics, alternative medicine, pollution, separation of church and state, and the government funding of education, research, and environmental protection.

Chris Mooney participating in "Science and Public Policy" panel at CSICON 2011 in New Orleans


Books authored or coauthored[edit]

Articles and reports[edit]


In 2009, he joined the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University for the Spring semester as a visiting associate.[21][23]

From 2009 to 2010, Mooney was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[24] Only 10 to 12 journalists from the U.S. and around the world are accepted for such a fellowship per year.[25]

In February 2010, Mooney was named a Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow at the Templeton Foundation.[26][27]

From 2010 to 2013, Mooney served as one of the hosts of the Center for Inquiry podcast Point of Inquiry. Mooney, co-host Indre Viskontas, and producer Adam Isaak, announced their resignation in June, 2013.[28] The first episode of the new podcast, Inquiring Minds, was released in September 2013.[29]


  1. ^ American Geophysical Union (AGU) (15 November 2010). "AGU Board adds new members with expertise in science policy and communication" (Press release). Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Rensenberger, Boyce (24 September 2005). "Science abuse". Scientific American (book review). Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  3. ^ Mooney, Chris; Kirshenbaum, Sheril (4 October 2008). This is Your Brain on Politics (biographical note). Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark. The Science Network. 
  4. ^ a b State University of New York at Purchase (7 January 2011). "Speakers for Science in Modern World lecture series announced". US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Retrieved 2014-04-24 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Mooney, Chris. "The Intersection Has Officially Moved to Science Progress". The Intersection (blog). Discover. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  6. ^ "Special Articles — Doubt and About". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  7. ^ Davidson, Keay (18 September 2005). "Research and the right". The Washington Post (book review). Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  8. ^ Horgan, John (18 December 2005). "Political Science". The New York Times (book review). Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  9. ^ Derbyshire, Stuart (28 November 2005). "Bush isn't the only one who's anti-science". Spiked (book review). Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. 
  10. ^ "Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming". Publishers Weekly. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  11. ^ Hayden, Thomas (15 July 2007). "Category 5; Storm World Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming Chris Mooney Harcourt: 392 pp., $26". Los Angeles Times (home ed.). p. R8. 
  12. ^ Margonelli, Lisa (1 July 2007). "Wild is the wind". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  13. ^ Krugman, Paul (19 November 2012). "Views differ on age of planet". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  14. ^ Tenenbaum, D. J. (2010). "Book Review: Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum. New York: Basic Books, 2009. 209 pp". Science Communication 32: 132. doi:10.1177/1075547009359802. Closed access
  15. ^ Colquhoun, D. (2009). "Trust me, I'm a scientist". BMJ 339: b3658. doi:10.1136/bmj.b3658. Closed access
  16. ^ Giles, Jim (8 August 2009). "Review: Unscientific America by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum". New Scientist (2720). (subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ Miller, Jon D. (November–December 2009). "A thin broth". American Scientist (book review) 97 (6). p. 509. doi:10.1511/2009.81.509. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  18. ^ Coyne, Jerry (2009). "Selling Science". Books et al. Science 325 (5941): 678. doi:10.1126/science.1179131. Closed access
  19. ^ Johnson, Kate (1 June 2010). "Exploring diversity and common ground in medical communication: From bench to bedside to breakfast news-eliminating roadblocks on the continuum of medical communication". American Medical Writers Association Journal – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  20. ^ a b Revkin, Andrew C. (29 June 2010). "Scientists from Mars face public from Venus". Dot Earth. The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  21. ^ a b "Past Visitors — The Center for Collaborative History: Chris Mooney, Spring 2009". The Center for Collaborative History: The Department of History: Princeton University. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  22. ^ "The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney: About the Author". Basic Books. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  23. ^ "Author Bios: Chris Mooney", The Nation
  24. ^ 2009–10 Knight Fellows
  25. ^ Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT
  26. ^ Chris C. Mooney. "The Rumors of My Fellowship Have Been Greatly Accurate". 
  27. ^ "Chris Mooney-Accommodationism and the Psychology of Belief". Point of Inquiry. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  28. ^ "Point of Inquiry Team Resigns, Launches New Show with Mother Jones". Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  29. ^ Inquiring Minds on Facebook. "Inquiring Minds Podcast". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

External links[edit]