EXCLUSIVE: Biden administration officials successfully pressured fact-checking website Snopes to alter its rating on a fact check it conducted regarding a potential federal ban on gas stoves, according to internal communications.

In early January 2023, Snopes issued a “mixture” rating on the claim that the Biden administration was considering a ban on gas-powered stovetops, citing comments made by a senior official overseeing product regulations. Shortly before the fact check, Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said such a ban was “on the table.”

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka told Bloomberg at the time. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

A month earlier, Trumka said regulating gas stoves needs to be a priority “whether it’s drastically reducing emissions or banning gas stoves entirely” because of their climate and health impacts, CBS News reported.

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But Snopes, which originally gave its “mixture” rating as a result of Trumka’s statements, changed the rating to “false,” stating the CPSC is “not currently considering a ban on gas stoves.” Snopes’ updated article included additional comments from the CPSC and downplayed Trumka’s earlier statement.

However, Snopes only altered its article after pressure from the CPSC to do so, according to emails exchanged between CPSC and White House communications officials and obtained by watchdog group Functional Government Initiative (FGI) through an information request.

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“Sent over tough letter to this writer yesterday when the initial claim was rated as ‘mixed,'” CPSC communications director Pamela Rucker Springs wrote in an email to White House assistant press secretary Michael Kikukawa Jan. 11, 2023, linking to the updated Snopes fact check.

Kikukawa responded enthusiastically, saying the alteration would be “so helpful going forward.”

Gas stove

“As a routine matter, whenever CPSC identifies factually inaccurate coverage in any media outlet, we contact the outlet to request a correction. That’s what occurred in this circumstance,” Springs told Fox News Digital when asked about the Snopes fact check alteration.

“We were glad to see accurate reports that the administration is not trying to ban gas stoves – and never has,” Kikukawa added.

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Trumka’s comments, meanwhile, sparked widespread outrage among consumer advocates, Republicans and some Democrats. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., even introduced the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, which would bar federal dollars from going toward regulatory efforts to ban gas stoves. 

Amid the outrage, Trumka walked back his comments about opening the door to a ban, saying in a social media post that “CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves.” 

Joe Biden

In addition, CPSC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric issued a statement clarifying that he was not “looking to” ban gas stoves, and the White House said President Biden would not support a gas stove ban. In March 2023, the CPSC did issue a request for public information about the health impacts of gas stoves, which ultimately resulted in no regulatory action.

“A commissioner appointed by President Biden wanted to ban gas stoves, and he got caught, provoking a public outcry,” said FGI researcher and spokesperson Peter McGinnis. “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? This goes beyond dysfunction — the government using sympathetic media to censor inconvenient news,” McGinnis said. “The American people deserve both to keep their gas stoves and to know the truth about what regulations government officials are considering.”

Snopes did not respond to requests for comment.

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