It was once safe to assume that official government entities would not tweet articles from white supremacist websites, but Trump’s election is proof that even the most stupid things imaginable are possible. On Thursday, The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Twitter account tweeted out an article from Breitbart — yes, the right-wing trash news website whose own chairman (Trump’s chief adviser, Steve Bannon) describes it as a hub for the “alt-right” (think white supremacists in suits) — that pushed easily-debunked claims that climate change is bullsh*t.
— Sci,Space,&Tech Cmte (@HouseScience) December 1, 2016
No, you don’t need your eyes checked. The article, “Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists,” was written by someone who is not a scientist and does not possess a degree in the field, James Delingpole. Nevertheless, he feels qualified to issue the following claim:
Thanks [sic] what’s now recognized as an unusually strong El Nino, global temperatures were driven to sufficiently high levels to revive the alarmist narrative – after an unhelpful pause period of nearly 20 years – that the world had got hotter than ever before.”
Obviously, this was written by someone who did very well in his third-grade science class, but actual scientist swarmed to condemn the tweet:
— Karen James (@kejames) December 1, 2016
.@HouseScience Pro Tip: The U.S. Government shouldn't be getting its science from Breitbart.
— Emily Calandrelli (@TheSpaceGal) December 1, 2016
That the committee tweeted this was so embarrassing that one of its own members even spoke out:
False news & false facts put us all in danger… https://t.co/8hy6haEPaL
— US Rep E.B.Johnson (@RepEBJ) December 1, 2016
NBC notes that Delingpole and Breitbart aren’t exactly the best sources for news, white nationalists or not:
Delingpole did not produce any original reporting, but rather merged opinion with a Daily Mail article he read. He also cited a science editor of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, one of the U.K.’s most high-profile climate-change denying organizations that the Guardian reported has clear links to the coal industry.
Breitbart has produced misinformation in the past and played host to many controversial headlines, such as: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”; “The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ is Simple: Women Should Log Off”; “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”; “Hoist it High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage” among many others.
The predominantly Republican science committee needs to begin taking the field — and climate change — seriously, but we can probably just expect more of this now that Trump was elected. Stupidity is fashionable now.
Featured image via screengrab/Getty Images (Tasos Katopodis