Snopes Changed Fact-Check After Pressure From Biden Administration: Emails – Zachary Stieber 4/13/24


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….

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