Halt Alt. Facts
"It is not political to defend the integrity of facts"
Child’s Play: Team Trump Rewrites a Department of Energy Website for Kids
Effort meant to inform younger generations about energy and the environment sees sentences reworked and pie charts eliminated.
by Patrick G. Lee
Propublica, Feb. 17, 2017, 8 a.m.
On a page dedicated to coal, the following sentences [and charts] were deleted: “In the United States, most of the coal consumed is used as a fuel to generate electricity. Burning coal produces emissions that adversely affect the environment and human health.” The two pie charts that were axed showed that although coal generated only 42 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2014, it created 76 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions linked to electricity generation.
“Underground mines have less of an impact on the environment compared to surface mines” became “Underground mines generally have a lesser effect on the landscape compared to surface mines.”
On a separate kids’ page for greenhouse gases, a paragraph detailing the U.S. share of global carbon dioxide emissions was also deleted:
“The United States, with 4 percent of the world’s population, produced about 17 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2011, the most recent year for which global data are available. The United States has the world’s largest economy and meets 83 percent of its energy needs by burning fossil fuels.”
"Alternative facts" is a term coined by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017. Even though "alternative facts" is an existing legal term, it is not a synonym for "lie." According to Merriam-Webster a lie is:
a : an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker or writer to be untrue with intent to deceive
b : an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker or writer.
What Sean Spicer presented as facts during the press conference and was later defended by Ms. Conway as "alternative facts" are lies according to the above definition, i.e. an untrue statement that may or may not be believed true by Mr. Spicer and Ms. Conway.
Every administration provides untrue or inaccurate statements at some point. Usually, lies are made up to cover undergoing negotiations and secret information or to hide the mistakes of the administration. "Team Trump" lies are of a different nature. Indeed, the "Team" deliberately and regularly deliver false statements and untrue facts (crowd size at inauguration, electoral frauds, historical win at the electoral college, calling substantiated information "fake news"...). Through "alternative facts," the conscious and unconscious goal of the administration is to alter, discredit, minimize, or ignore:
1. scientific evidence,
2. the judicial system,
3. substantiated news, and
This apolitical blog is my modest contribution to record the "alternative facts" presented by "Team Trump." I, as most academics, want the White House to stop the fight against facts, quality journalism, and science. My wish is that the blog becomes obsolete as soon as possible.
Note.: This blog is unrelated to SUNY Purchase and my work at SUNY Purchase.
About the Blog
From Scientific American
The Delusion of Alternative Facts
How science can guide the search for "actual" truth in our post-truth era