FactCheck.org Ridiculed for Claiming Sanders Use of 'Existential' Misleading Because Climate Crisis May Not 'Obliterate All People From the Planet'
A fact-checking website came under fire from journalists and progressives on Wednesday when it claimed Sen. Bernie Sanders misrepresented the dangers posed by the climate crisis and the for-profit health insurance industry at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate.
FactCheck.org, which is run by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, claimed Sanders inaccurately described the climate crisis as an “existential threat.”
“Scientists agree climate change does pose a threat to humans and ecosystems, but they do not envision that climate change will obliterate all people from the planet,” wrote the think tank’s fact checkers.
Sanders’s description of the crisis—which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says policymakers have less than 12 years to drastically mitigate to avoid its worst effects—”could use some clarification,” continued the article, titled “Factchecking the October Debate.”
“If taken literally to mean the end of humanity, the descriptor is incorrect,” the authors wrote, before admitting:
The so-called “correction” was denounced by a number of critics on social media.
Sanders’s urgent message about the climate—echoing the repeated messages of the world’s top scientists over the past several decades about the continued burning of fossil fuels—should not be placed in the same category as inaccurate claims and lies put forward by climate change deniers, suggested Economist editor Gady Epstein.
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