A Fox News anchor corrected a graphic and accompanying script the network aired last week which summed up the thrust of the disinformation the network and other right-wing media has been peddling for days: the false assertion that President Joe Biden’s climate plan will force a ban on red meat consumption.
The network seems to have picked up a highly speculative story from the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, that conflated a University of Michigan study from 2020 with Biden’s plan, which is yet to be released in full.
The researchers of the study ran different scenarios to test how dietary changes would affect greenhouse gas emissions. In one of them, they found that dropping beef consumption by 90 percent along with dropping consumption of other animal-based foods by 50 percent would halve emissions.
The Daily Mail ran with the 90 percent figure, speculating that Biden’s yet-to-be-released climate change proposal could mean draconian beef limitations for Americans, to the tune of cutting back to one hamburger a month.
Various shows on Fox News covered the story, producing a graphic that then was frequently shared on social media.
On Monday, a Fox News host corrected one of those segments that had aired back on Friday.
“The data was accurate but a graphic and a script incorrectly implied that it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change,” anchor John Roberts said Monday afternoon of the study. “That is not the case.”
“The data was accurate but a graphic and a script incorrectly implied that it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change,” anchor John Roberts said Monday afternoon of the show’s coverage of the fake Biden meat ban. “That is not the case.” pic.twitter.com/vCUgW2Obbx
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 26, 2021
The researchers behind the study sent TPM a statement Monday, seeking to correct the rampant misinformation.
“To our knowledge, there is no connection between our study and Joe Biden’s Climate plan,” Gregory Keoleian, director at the University’s Center for Sustainable Systems, and Martin Heller, the Center’s research specialist, wrote. “This appears to be an association made erroneously by the Daily Mail that has been picked up widely.”
“Our study merely identifies opportunities for emissions reductions that are possible from changes in our diet,” they added. “By no means does it suggest that these changes in diet would be required to meet climate goals.”
They also wrote that the study, the results of which they published a year and a half ago, was not intended to be a specific policy recommendation. Biden’s climate fact sheet, they noted, does not include a diet shift, making the linkage to their study “baseless.”