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Snopes Changed Fact-Check After Pressure from Biden Administration: Emails

The fact-checking website Snopes changed one of its ratings after pressure from President Joe Biden’s administration, newly disclosed emails show.

Snopes on Jan. 10, 2023, said that there was some truth to a claim that President Biden’s administration was planning to ban gas stoves.

Under a heading of “what’s true,” Snopes said that “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal agency, is currently considering a ban on gas stoves if they can’t be made safer, due to concerns over harmful indoor pollutants that cause health and respiratory problems.”

Under another heading, it said that the ban has not been put in place.

The article quoted Richard Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner, as saying that “any option is on the table” when dealing with gas stoves. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Mr. Trumka told Bloomberg a few days prior.

Pamela Rucker Springs, a spokeswoman for the CPSC, hours after the rating was published contacted Snopes writer Nur Ibrahim, the newly disclosed emails show. She said she it was “not accurate to say that CPSC is ‘considering a ban on gas stoves’ and that Mr. Trumka’s views ”do not represent official statements on behalf of the commission.”

“We would appreciate a correction to this story,” Ms. Springs said.

Mr. Ibrahim responded the following day saying Snopes would “correct the article.”

Snopes then changed the fact-check rating from “mixture” to “false.”

The CPSC “is not currently considering a ban on gas stoves, though a commissioner said ‘anything is on the table’ if they can’t be made safer,” the updated article states.

Ms. Springs sent a link to the updated page to White House official Michael Kikukawa, the newly disclosed documents show. “Sent over tough letter to this writer yesterday when the initial claim was rated as ’mixed,’” she wrote.

“Nice!! So helpful going forward,” Mr. Kikukawa responded.

Mr. Kikuwaka told Ms. Springs in another email that the White House would be circulating a statement “making clear POTUS does not support banning gas stoves” and sharing social media posts from the commission and Mr. Trumka. “Will also be pushing people your way,” he wrote.

The emails were obtained by the Functional Government Initiative nonprofit through the Freedom of Information Act.

“A commissioner appointed by President Biden wanted to ban gas stoves, and he got caught, provoking a public outcry. So, the CPSC staff leaned on Snopes, seeking to counter the narrative by splitting hairs about commission processes. And the White House finds this ‘helpful.’ Helpful with what?“ Pete McGinnis, spokesman for the nonprofit, said in a statement. ”This goes beyond dysfunction—the government using sympathetic media to censor inconvenient news. The American people deserve both to keep their gas stoves and to know the truth about what regulations government officials are considering.”

Closer to Ban

The CPSC framed the possibility of banning stoves as solely on Mr. Trumka, issuing a statement from Alexander Hoehn-Saric. The chairman of the commission said, “I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

At the same time, CPSC officials acknowledged that they were investigating emissions from gas stoves and were “exploring new ways to address any health risks.”

Mr. Trumka said in an internal memorandum reviewed by The Epoch Times that there was “sufficient information” for the commission to issue a notice of a proposed rule “proposing to ban gas stoves in homes.” He told Peter Feldman, another commissioner, that “emerging evidence” showed that “gas stoves in homes emit toxic gases that cause illnesses and that lower-cost, safer alternatives are available.” The Committee to Unleash Prosperity, which obtained the memo, said that it proved the administration ”intended to ban gas stoves.”

The CPSC later approved a final notice of rulemaking offered by Mr. Trumka asking for “proposed solutions” to “hazards” from gas stoves. That notice has not appeared to have resulted in a new rule as of yet.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a proposed rule that would ban about half of the gas stoves on the market. When the final rule was released in January, though, it had been watered down and only affected about three percent of gas stoves.

READ 11 COMMENTS
  • Cws Fan says:

    Snopes has sacrificed its credibility .

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