Regular readers of the denier roundup know this already, but former journalist John Stossels is now a leading disinformation producer, regularly featuring fake experts who just-so-happen to be, like Stossel, all Koch'd up.
But today's COP, Look, Listen provides some new information on Stossel's conflicts of interest and his latest high-traction disinformation video, which "racked up 803k views / 60k likes on YouTube, 674k views / 23k interactions on FB, and 909k view / 21k like on Twitter, where it was also the second most-shared post in the ‘anti-green tech’ narrative. In addition, it is being circulated as text via the Koch-funded disinfo media system, with Reason, the Daily Caller and the Daily Signal all publishing the piece as op-eds."
The video was "the first in a series" attacking Electric Vehicles, and "features Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute, who Stossel fails to disclose has received over $1.3 million from Koch foundations since 2014 - see tax filings of Charles Koch Foundation and Charles Koch Institute for further detail. John Stossel’s brother Thomas is also a former senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute."
Unsurprisingly, "the 5-minute segment is rife with already-debunked disinformation. Mills claims that it takes mining '500,000 pounds' of minerals to produce an EV battery, a point that has been comprehensively fact-checked by AFP and USA Today. He also alleges that the adoption of 500 million EVs would only 'reduce world oil consumption by about 10%.' The roughly 16 million EVs on the road already have reduced oil demand by 3.5% in total, so 500 million would certainly lower emissions by more than an additional 6.5%."
Stossel and Mills want viewers to think EVs are no cleaner than fossil fueled cars, but "Argonne National Laboratory produced a model and have a whole page set up to do exactly this calculation. They found that EVs generally emit far less carbon over a 12-year lifespan.'"
What's more, "even in a coal-only grid, EVs come out better for the environment than diesel or petrol alternatives. In addition, a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that over their lifetime, EVs produce 50 percent less Greenhouse Gasses than gas or diesel cars. No matter where in the US, an average EV is cleaner than an average gas car, and for 90% of Americans the average EV is better than even the most efficient gas alternative."
Surely Stossel's failure to do any sort of journalistic fact-checking of his guest was just an innocent mistake, right?
Perhaps! Maybe Stossel deserves the benefit of the doubt, those of you more kind and forgiving than us may suggest. But consider Stossel's history, and see if you're still feeling generous:
Failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest is the norm for Stossel’s content and guests. In 2017, when his company JFS Productions was revealed as a top contractor of the Charles Koch Institute, a syndicated op-ed defended the Koch family from public criticism. In 2022, a two-part video series from Stosel featured Johan Norberg (senior fellow at the Cato Institute) and Texas Tech University professor Ben Powell, who is among those involved in a controversial department that has received over $6.5 million from the Charles Koch Foundation. Powell is also an officer of the Koch-funded Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE).
In 2019, a Stossel video was critically fact checked, prompting him to unsuccessfully sue Facebook for defamation. The video featured a panel consisting entirely of professional climate disinformers affiliated with the Cato Institute, the CO2 Coalition, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute and the Manhattan Institute.
Stossle's "Center for Independent Thought" is also totally dependent on the same funders of the groups whose representatives he promotes as "other recent donors to Stossel’s Center for Independent Thought include," Cato and CEI funding Claws Foundation, Cato, CEI and Heartland funding JP Humphreys Foundation, Cato and Manhattan funding Jewish Communal Fund, Cato, CO2 Coalition, CEI, Heartland and Manhattan Institute funding DonorsTrust, and Cat, CO2 Coalition and Manhattan Institute funding Thomas W. Smith Foundation.
Those funders, according to the bulletin, "plus the Charles Koch Foundation, gave a combined total of $1,494,688 to Stossel’s Center from 2019-2020, worth 40% of its $3,783,057 revenue in that two-year period."
So while "Stossel tries to maintain his image as a reporter, and judging by his large audience across platforms is largely succeeding in that goal. The content itself, however, is far from adhering to journalistic standards from both a factual, ethical and financial standpoint, and should be exposed at every possible opportunity."
Normally "exposing yourself" is considered a bad thing, but in this context, it's about the most ethical thing Stossel could do, and the only way to regain any sense of credibility if he actually wanted to be a journalist again.