Explanation: Bias and Misrepresentation

Silencing Science Tracker

Explanation: Bias and Misrepresentation

2018-12-10 Availability of Scientific Data on Waterways Misrepresented by EPA Official EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

The Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water erroneously claimed that no data was available showing the number of streams that would be excluded from the new definition of “waters of the United States” proposed by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Internal EPA documents show that agency staff had conducted a detailed analysis and determined that at least 18% of streams and 51% of wetlands nationwide would be excluded from the new definition.

2018-11-23 Accuracy of National Climate Assessment Questioned by Trump Administration Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

A White House spokesperson questioned the accuracy of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, claiming that it overstates the risks associated with climate change because it was “based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends.” That claim was disputed by climate scientists, including one of the Assessment’s authors, who noted that it “considers ALL scenarios.”

2018-11-21 Existence of Climate Change Questioned by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

President Trump posted a tweet suggesting that recent cold weather in the U.S. disproves the existence of climate change. The President’s tweet was widely criticized by climate scientists, who argued that it confused short-term weather trends with longer-term changes in climate.

2018-11-04 Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Questioned by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a televised interview, President Trump questioned the scientific consensus on climate change, suggesting that scientists disagree on its causes. He also asserted that some scientists have overstated the role human activities play in climate change, saying “[w]e do have an impact but I don’t believe the impact is nearly what some scientists say.”

2018-10-26 Climate Science Misrepresented by Alaska Congressman Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a televised debate, Representative Don Young asserted, contrary to decades of scientific research, that climate change is not caused by human activities. Rep. Young also accused scientists of overstating the risks posed by climate change, saying “[i]t’s being used as an instrument to frighten people.”

2018-10-16 Climate Science Misrepresented by Vice President Pence Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Vice President Mike Pence questioned scientific research showing that climate change is primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions, telling reporters that its causes “are yet to be seen.”

2018-10-14 Climate Science Misrepresented by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In a televised interview, President Trump questioned scientific research showing that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the primary driver of climate change, saying we “don’t know” what would have happened “with or without man.”

2018-09-04 Climate Science Misrepresented by Oregon State Senator OR, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In an email newsletter sent by the Oregon legislature, State Senator Alan Olsen erroneously claimed that climate change is caused solely by natural forces, and not by human activities. Senator Olsen also erroneously asserted that temperatures have not increased in recent years and falsely accused scientists of overstating the risks of climate change.

2018-08-07 Climate Change Described as “Hoax” by Louisiana Attorney-General LA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a speech at the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry referenced the “climate change hoax,” and expressed concern that people believe it.

2018-07-17 Impacts of Climate Change Downplayed by FEMA DHS, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Government Censorship Climate

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not discuss climate change in its After Action Report on the 2017 hurricane season. Speaking about the report, FEMA’s Deputy Administrator for Resilience appeared to suggest that climate change is a natural phenomenon, stating “the climate shifts, it changes over time.”

2018-07-06 Climate Science Misrepresented by Texas State Senator State, TX Bias and Misrepresentation, Interference with Education Climate

Texas State Senator Jason Isaac asserted, contrary to decades of scientific research, that the burning of fossil fuels does not contribute to climate change. He worked with the Texas Natural Gas Foundation to develop new science education guidelines to “get the bias” against fossil fuels out of schools.

2018-07 Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Questioned by Wyoming State Representative State, WY Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Wyoming State Representative Scott Clem asserted, on his website, that “man-made climate change is not settled science” and continues to be “hotly disputed.”

2018-05-16 Climate Science Misrepresented by House Science Committee Members Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a hearing on May 16, 2018, several members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology misrepresented climate science. Among other things, they incorrectly suggested that human activities are not the primary driver of climate change, and that climate change is not causing sea level rise.

2018-05-11 Scientific Findings of Environment Agency Questioned by Ohio Governor OH, State Bias and Misrepresentation Other

Ohio Governor John Kasich questioned scientific data showing poor water quality in Lake Erie. Based on the data, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the lake’s waters are impaired, but the Governor disputed that finding.

2018-05 Science of Evolution Questioned by Arizona State Official AZ, State Bias and Misrepresentation Other

In a television interview, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas suggested that science only “back[s] up part of” the theory of evolution, and “not all of it.” Superintendent Douglas has previously advocated for Florida schools to teach the unproven theory of “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution.

2018-04-24 Climate Science Misrepresented by Texas Railroad Commissioner State, TX Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian published an op-ed arguing that “the science of climate change is far from settled” and that “we don’t know whether man-made greenhouse gases are impacting our climate in a harmful way.”

2018-04-18 Climate Science Misrepresented by Colorado State Senator CO, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Colorado State Senator Vicki Marble questioned scientific research indicating that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change. Senator Marble argued that climate change is more likely caused by solar flares. She also suggested that cats cause more health problems than greenhouse gas emissions.

2018-04-12 Use of Science in EPA Air Pollution Programs Restricted EPA, Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Other

President Trump signed a memorandum directing the EPA Administrator to make changes to certain air pollution programs. The changes have implications for the use of science in developing and implementing air pollution protections.

2018-04-06 Research Findings Questioned by New Hampshire Cities Local Govt., NH, State Bias and Misrepresentation Other

The cities of Dover, Portsmouth, and Rochester in New Hampshire questioned the accuracy of scientific research finding that municipal wastewater is contributing to high nitrogen levels in the Great Bay estuary.

2018-03-28 EPA Talking Points Misrepresent Climate Science EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Government Censorship Climate

EPA’s Office of Public Affairs issued a set of approved talking points on climate change. The talking points appear to be intended to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, with one stating “[w]hile there has been extensive research . . . clear gaps remain,” including in “our understanding of the role of human activity” in contributing to climate change.

2018-03-28 Scientific Research on Cancer Risk Misrepresented CA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Other

Retailers in California were required to include a cancer warning on coffee, despite scientific evidence showing that it does not pose a cancer risk.

2018-03-23 Charters of BLM Advisory Councils Revised DOI, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

DOI revised the charters of twenty-one resource advisory councils responsible for advising the Bureau of Land Management. Under the revised charters, councils are required to “provide recommendations for implementation” of various executive orders and secretarial orders, leading to concerns that they will be put “in a position of implementing an agenda rather than providing solid advice.”

2018-03-19 EPA’s Use of Scientific Studies Restricted EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a so-called “science transparency policy” that would prevent studies based on non-public scientific data being used in agency rulemakings.

2018-03 Faulty Science Used to Justify Mississippi Abortion Bill MS, State Bias and Misrepresentation Other

Mississippi State Senator Joey Filingane argued that technological advances justify the adoption of stricter limits on abortion. In support this argument, the Senator referenced technology that he admitted does not yet exist, but argued that it may be developed in the next two to three years, before any litigation concerning the new abortion limits concludes.

2018-02-27 NOAA Scientists Attacked By Louisiana Attorney General LA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted a link to a Breitbart article accusing NOAA scientists of lying about the extent of declines in Arctic sea ice cover. The article erroneously claims that Arctic sea ice cover is increasing and that temperatures in the region are no higher than previous levels.

2018-02-09 Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Rejected by Louisiana Attorney General LA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a press conference, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry described climate change as a “hoax,” and denied that it is causing sea level rise. Later on the same day, the Attorney General published a pair of tweets, asserting that human activities do not cause climate change and that sea levels are not rising.

2018-02-07 Science on Vaccine Safety Misrepresented by Milwaukee Health Department Official Local Govt., State, WI Bias and Misrepresentation Other

During a radio interview, the newly appointed head of Milwaukee’s Health Department, Patricia McManus, stated that “the science is still out” on whether vaccines cause autism. Any link between vaccines and autism has, however, been disproved in numerous scientific studies.

2018-02 Climate Science Misrepresented by EPA Administrator EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In an interview on a Nevada television station, EPA Administrator misrepresented climate research indicating that rising temperatures will have widespread negative impacts, suggesting that they could actually be positive.

2018-01-28 Climate Science Misrepresented by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During an international television appearance, aired on ITV, President Trump misrepresented scientific data regarding climate change. The President made several incorrect statements, including suggesting that global temperatures are not increasing, and sea ice cover is not declining.

2018-01-09 Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Rejected by Kentucky Governor KY, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During an interview on Cincinnati radio, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin accepted that the climate “has been changing,” but suggested this is a natural phenomenon. Governor Bevin described scientific research showing that human activities contribute to climate change as “ludicrous” and “absolutely preposterous.”

2018-01-05 Climate Science Misrepresented by Kentucky Governor KY, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin posted a tweet suggesting that the cold weather experienced in the U.S. in winter 2017/18 disproves the existence of climate change. The tweet included a weather map showing frigid temperatures in the U.S. and said: “Trump has been in office 1 year and has already fixed global warming.”

2017-12-18 Climate Change Dropped from National Security Strategy Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

President Trump unveiled a new National Security Strategy, which omitted “climate change” from a list of global threats.

2017-12-18 Findings of EPA Advisory Committee Misrepresented EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

In a letter to Senator Tom Udall, EPA misrepresented the findings of the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, in relation to the need to delay certain provisions of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard.

2017-12-07 Climate Science Misrepresented by Vermont Governor State, VT Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Vermont Governor Phil Scott misrepresented research indicating that climate change will have widespread negative impacts and suggested it could actually be “beneficial to Vermont.”

2017-11 EPA Giving Preference to Industry-Backed Science EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

EPA proposed to repeal emissions standards for freight trucks based on research funded by the biggest truck manufacturer challenging the standards.

2017-10-25 Humans’ Role in Climate Change Questioned by Virginia Mayor Local Govt., State, VA Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

The Mayor of Tangier Island in Virginia, James Eskridge, told reporters that he does not believe human activities are the main cause of climate change.

2017-10 Chemical Rules Adopted by EPA Against Scientific Advice EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA rewrote certain chemical rules against the advice of agency scientists who warned that the changes may result in an “underestimation of the [chemicals’] potential risks to human health and the environment”

2017-09 Data Omitted from Crime Report DOJ, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

The FBI’s 2016 Crime in the United States report contained almost 70% fewer data tables than the 2015 report.

2017-09 Climate Science Misrepresented by Florida Governor FL, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a press conference following Hurricane Irma, Florida Governor Rick Scott suggested that climate change may be caused by natural cycles, and not anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

2017-09 Humans’ Role in Climate Change Questioned by Kentucky Governor KY, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In a speech at the annual meeting of the Southern States Energy Board, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin suggested that climate change is not caused by human activities. The Governor described studies linking human activities to climate change as “nonsense.”

2017-08-14 Climate Science Misrepresented by Maine Governor ME, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a speech to the Waterville Rotary Club, Maine Governor Paul LePage erroneously stated that the Earth is cooling. He also claimed that, while the Earth may have experienced warming in the past, it was not due to human activities.

2017-08-01 Climate Science Misrepresented by Virginia Mayor Local Govt., State, VA Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In a televised Town Hall, the Mayor of Tangier Island in Virginia questioned whether sea level rise is actually occurring, stating: “I’m a keen observer . . . why am I not seeing sings of it?”

2017-08 EPA Staff Forced to Prioritize Industry “Wish List” EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA staff have been directed to prioritize industry requests for changes to environmental regulations. Many of the requested changes are contrary to agency scientific research.

2017-07-07 Climate Science Misrepresented by New Hampshire Governor NH, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During an interview on public radio, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu questioned the scientific consensus on climate change, suggesting that scientists disagree on its causes, and that further research is needed to determine the role played by greenhouse gas emissions.

2017-07 Human Role in Climate Change Downplayed by NOAA DOC, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a news release publicizing the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index. The release noted that the index has increased 40% since 1990 but, unlike previous releases, failed to attribute this increase to human activity.

2017-06 Climate Science Misrepresented by North Dakota Mayor Local Govt., ND, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a radio interview, Howard Klug, the Mayor of Williston, North Dakota, questioned whether climate change is real. Mayor Klug then asserted that human activities, including the development and use of fossil fuels, have little impact on the climate. He argued that there is no need to restrict fossil fuel development as the “world . . . can heal itself.”

2017-06 Discredited Scientific Study Cited by Tennessee State Representative State, TN Bias and Misrepresentation Climate, Other

Tennessee State Representative Diane Black relied on a discredited scientific study, which was funded by industry and did not comply with established research protocols, to push for the weakening of regulations controlling emissions from glider trucks.

2017-05-11 Age of Earth Misrepresented by Wisconsin State Representative State, WI Bias and Misrepresentation Other

During a hearing of the Wisconsin legislature, state Representative Jesse Kremer stated that it is “fact” that the earth is only 6,000 years old, contradicting decades of scientific research showing that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

2017-05 Scientific Advice on Chemical Disregarded by EPA EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA denied a petition to ban Chlorpyrifos, a chemical widely used as a pesticide, against the advice of top agency scientists who had warned that exposure exceeds safe levels in many areas.

2017-04-27 Climate Science Questioned by West Virginia Official State, WV Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

At a public meeting, the Secretary of West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, Austin Caperton, said he “doesn’t trust” the science establishing that human activities are the primary cause of climate change.

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Alabama Attorney General AL, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Arkansas Attorney General AK, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Arizona Attorney General AZ, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Louisiana Attorney General LA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Michigan Attorney General MI, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Oklahoma Attorney General OK, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by South Carolina Attorney General SC, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Texas Attorney General State, TX Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Utah Attorney General State, UT Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Wisconsin Attorney General State, WI Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the conclusion that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-04-19 Climate Science Misrepresented by Nebraska Attorney General NE, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed an amicus brief in Exxon Mobil v. Schneiderman. The brief questions the scientific consensus on climate change and the assumption that it will be “sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.”

2017-03-29 Climate Science Criticized in Congressional Hearing Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate

At a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith criticized climatologists, asserting that they often “operate outside the principles of the scientific method.” Rep. Smith also questioned the accuracy of climate projections, saying that constitute “[a]larmist predictions [that] amount to nothing more than wild guesses.”

2017-03-28 Climate Science Misrepresented by Pennsylvania State Senator PA, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a speech at a natural gas conference, Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner erroneously asserted that climate change is not caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but rather the earth moving closer to the sun, or perhaps the “heat coming off” human bodies.

2017-03-09 Climate Science Misrepresented by EPA Administrator EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt misrepresented climate science, suggesting that scientists have not established that greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change.

2017-03-08 Climate Science Misrepresented by New Mexico Energy Secretary NM, State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During his confirmation hearing, the Secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department suggested that climate change is a natural phenomenon, which “has been with us since the beginning of time.” The Secretary downplayed humans’ role in climate change and suggested, contrary to numerous scientific studies, that natural gas extraction has not contributed to a “methane hotspot” over New Mexico.

2017-02 Climate Science Misrepresented by Kentucky Mayor KY, Local Govt., State Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Todd Pollock, the mayor of Bedford in Kentucky, told reporters that the science of climate change is not “settled” and that its causes have yet to be determined.

2017 EPA Staffers Frozen Out of Decision-Making EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

EPA staffers are being frozen out of decision-making in their areas of expertise, with political appointees making decisions instead.

2016-12 Discredited Scientific Claims Promoted by Texas Health Department State, TX Bias and Misrepresentation Other

The Texas Department of State Health Services published a booklet for women considering abortion. The booklet includes several disproven scientific claims, including suggesting that abortions cause breast cancer, which the American Cancer Society has forcefully rejected.