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WaPo’s confusing coverage of gas stoves uproar goes from regulators ‘considering a ban’ to GOP ‘culture wars’

The Washington Post’s coverage of the fiery debate over gas stoves has ranged from reporting that government regulators are “considering a ban” over their toxicity to accusing Republicans of fueling “culture wars.”

The controversy began Monday when US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. suggested a ban on gas stoves is possible, saying “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Following swift backlash, particularly from the right, both Trumka and the CPSC assured the public a gas stove ban would not be implemented. The White House also distanced itself from Trumka’s comment.

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The Post began its coverage on Tuesday aggregating analysis from Bloomberg with the headline “Why US Regulators Are Considering a Ban on Gas Stoves.”

“Gas burning stoves are getting a second look not just from groups concerned about their contribution to global warming but from US regulators, who are raising concerns about health hazards as well,” Bloomberg correspondent Ari Natter began his piece shared by the Post. “Now the possibility of a nationwide ban on gas stoves has been broached by a commissioner for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

The Post then shared another version of the Bloomberg article with the headline reading, “Why US Regulators Are Scrutinizing Gas Stoves.”

Shannon Osaka, the Post’s climate zeitgeist reporter, referred to gas stoves as the “secret source of air pollution sitting in 40 million homes,” reporting that “Some cities — including Los Angeles, Seattle and New York — have already moved to ban gas stoves in certain new homes and apartments. Kathy Hochul (D), the governor of New York, has also proposed banning gas hookups, including for gas stoves, in new buildings in the entire state.” 

However, Washington Post columnist Philip Bump attempted to downplay Trumka’s comment on Wednesday, assuring readers “Biden administration wasn’t recommending anything related to gas stoves” while mocking the response from Republicans, calling it “the rise and fall of the gas-stove rebellion.” 

The Post ran an aggregated fact-check from the Associated Press, declaring the Biden administration “isn’t banning gas stoves,” blaming “overcooked fears.”

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Post climate change reporter Maxine Joselow took a similar stance, telling readers “Regulators have no plans to ban gas stoves, but Republicans are slamming the Consumer Product Safety Commission for announcing it will examine the health impacts of the appliances.”

“Republicans and allies of fossil fuels are rallying behind the humble gas stove, a staple in millions of U.S. kitchens that has emerged as a flash point in the nation’s ongoing culture wars and a source of conservative resistance to President Biden’s environmental agenda,” Joselow wrote Wednesday though later conceded “The move by the CPSC marks the first time that the federal government has signaled it may crack down on pollution from gas stoves.”

Joselow then headlined the paper’s “Climate 202” newsletter with “GOP thrusts gas stoves, Biden’s green agenda into the culture wars.”

“Republican lawmakers are claiming that the Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to take away people’s gas stoves, in what they say is the latest example of the Biden administration’s regulatory overreach,” Joselow wrote Thursday. “In reality, the commission is not going to snatch anyone’s stove. It is merely considering regulations that would seek to curb pollution from new gas stoves on the market, rather than existing appliances inside people’s homes.”

But as the Post attempted to lower the temperature, the paper raised it with another Bloomberg aggregate headlining “Biden Isn’t Coming for Your Gas Stove. States Are,” insisting states are what the “gas industry needs to worry about.”

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Critics knocked The Washington Post’s scattered coverage of the gas stove debacle.

“You want to know why so many Americans absolutely loathe the media? Let’s start with the nonstop gaslighting – here they’re even gaslighting about gaslighting,” RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway reacted.

“The confusion is part of how they manipulate the masses. It keeps the [non-playable character] heads loading instead of thinking…” Dave Rubin of “The Rubin Report” tweeted.

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