Washington, DC – In a televised tirade against environmental regulation, conservative commentator John Stossel repeated misinformation about government lynx researchers that has been repeatedly debunked by government, media and professional society investigations, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
“Stossel is not one to let facts get in the way of his pet peeves,” noted PEER National Field Director Eric Wingerter who noted that the ABC pundit has been forced to apologize before for spreading falsehoods about organic food. “Stossel criticizes ‘media hype’ but then turns around and peddles outrageous misstatements.”
Stossel’s piece (“Missing Lynx: Are Animal More Important Than People?”) aired on Friday’s edition of the ABC newsmagazine 20/20. In the piece, Stossel claims –
· Government plans to close lands were foiled by the discovery that an agency “biologist faked the tests.” (Fact: The controversy had nothing to do with land use decisions.)
· “Lots of people in southern Washington are scared of the government’s environmental police.” (Fact: The only people Stossel cites are a “land rights activist” and his wife. Washington State has no environmental police force.)
· Government agencies are filled with “environmental radical activists” and the heads of these agencies are “extremists.” (Fact: The “extremist” who left the federal scientists in their jobs is Bush’s Interior Secretary, Gale Norton).
Stossel also neglects to mention that, apart from government investigations, lynx scientists have also been vindicated by The Wildlife Society (TWS), an international association for wildlife professionals. At the same time, the media coverage of the controversy has been clawed to pieces in a new report from a national media watchdog organization, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. In addition, Stossel mischaracterizes National Research Council findings in the recent Klamath irrigation controversy.
PEER has demanded a retraction from ABC and asks that, in light of past discrepancies, the network fact check future Stossel segments.