Steven Milloy



Steven J. Milloy is the "Junk Science" commentator for FoxNews.com and runs the website Junkscience.com, which is dedicated to debunking what he alleges to be false claims regarding global warming, DDT, breast implants, passive smoking, ozone depletion, and mad cow disease, among other topics. Milloy also runs CSRWatch.com, which is focused on attacking the corporate social responsibility movement. He is the author of the book "Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams." From the 1990s until the end of 2005, he was an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, which hosted the Junk Science website. He is currently an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Milloy is also head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund he runs with former tobacco executive Tom Borelli. Milloy operates the Advancement of Sound Science Center, a non-profit organization which is critical of environmental science, from his home in Potomac, Maryland.

Milloy has been criticized for making misleading and false claims, for a variety of unethical actions and statements, and for presenting himself as an impartial journalist on health and environmental matters while accepting funding and editorial input from tobacco and oil companies.

According to the junkscience.com website, Milloy holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Health Sciences in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore, and a Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Milloy defines junk science as "...faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas." Critics claim that, in practice, Milloy regularly criticises research suggesting that corporate activities harm the environment or public health as "junk science", while praising scientific analysis that supports his preferred positions.

In 1993, Milloy dismissed an Environmental Protection Agency report linking secondhand tobacco smoke to cancer as "a joke". When the British Medical Journal published a similar study in 1997, Milloy said, "it remains a joke today." When another researcher published a study linking secondhand smoke to cancer, Milloy wrote that she, "…must have pictures of journal editors in compromising positions with farm animals. How else can you explain her studies seeing the light of day?" While at FoxNews.com, Milloy continued to attack research on the harms of secondhand smoke.

During the time that Milloy was attacking the credibility of secondhand-smoke research, his junkscience.com website was receiving editorial oversight and content directly from the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Milloy's supposedly independent organization TASSC was funded and coordinated by Philip Morris with the goal of "utilizing TASSC as a tool in targeted legislative battles." A confidential 1994 Philip Morris memo listed Milloy's organization under "PM Tools to Affect Legislative Decisions". Milloy himself was listed on Philip Morris' payroll, being budgeted over $180,000 in payments in the years 2000 and 2001.

On June 27, 2006, summarizing over 10 years of scientific research, the United States Surgeon General issued a comprehensive scientific report concluding that secondhand smoke is a carcinogen with no risk-free level of exposure, refuting Milloy's claims. The Surgeon General's report also stated that secondhand smoke exposure is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children.

On September 14, 2001, Milloy claimed that the World Trade Center towers could still be standing, or at least would have stood longer, had asbestos lagging not been removed in the years prior to 2001 due to health concerns. The asbestos removal was not mentioned in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's report on the Towers' collapse, which noted that the planes' impact dislodged any fireproofing that might have prevented the collapse.

Milloy has been critical of what he views as "radical environmentalists". He has been outspoken about the "banning" of DDT, the use of which he claims could save millions of lives a year in fighting malaria in Third World nations.

Milloy has been critical of the Clean Air Act of 1970, acknowledging that it has improved air quality but arguing that it has forced Americans to "surrender many freedoms". Milloy argued that "air pollution in the U.S. was more of an aesthetic than a public health problem [in 1970]. That is even more the case today."

Steven Milloy has consistently argued from the position of a global warming skeptic that human activity has little impact on climate change and that regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions are unwarranted and harmful to business interests. He has criticised the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment as "debunking itself."

Much of his work has been funded by oil and gas interests. Milloy himself was registered as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute (API), the trade association for the U.S. oil and gas industries, for the years 1998-2000.

In April 1998 Milloy was part of the "Global Climate Science Team", which was convened by the API to work out a strategy to influence the media so that it would "understand (recognize) uncertainties in climate science".

Responding to criticism of the safety of the food product Quorn by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Milloy accused CSPI of having an undisclosed relationship with Quorn's main competitor, Gardenburger. Writing for FoxNews.com, Milloy said that "CSPI appears to have an unsavory relationship with Quorn competitor, Gardenburger" and called the CSPI's complaints "unscrupulous shrieking". Gardenburger rejected Milloy's claim, arguing that Milloy's allegation of an "unsavory relationship" was "untrue and groundless".

Milloy has been reluctant to criticise creationism. In response to a question:

What's the real deal on evolution?... My Christian friends tell me it's a theory shot full of errors. And my scientist friends tell me it's provable in the everyday world.

Milloy answered:

“ Explanations of human evolution are not likely to move beyond the stage of hypothesis or conjecture. There is no scientific way - i.e., no experiment or other means of reliable study - for explaining how humans developed. Without a valid scientific method for proving a hypothesis, no indisputable explanation can exist.

The process of evolution can be scientifically demonstrated in some lower life forms, but this is a far cry from explaining how humans developed.
That said, some sort of evolutionary process seems most likely in my opinion. But there will probably always be enough uncertainty in any explanation of human evolution to give critics plenty of room for doubt.”

The guidebook Washington Representatives described Milloy as a registered lobbyist employed by the EOP Group in 1996. Milloy is also listed as a lobbyist in the federal United States Senate Lobby Filing Disclosure Program. The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics also lists Milloy as a registered lobbyist from 1998 through 2000, with clients including the American Petroleum Institute, Dow Chemical, the International Food Additives Council, and FMC Corporation.

Milloy has denied ever working as a lobbyist, writing in an email in 1998:

I do not lobby for ANYONE. Before I became executive director of TASSC, I did some technical consulting for a D.C. firm which had the policy of registering all its employees and consultants as lobbyists (whether or not they lobbied) pursuant to a new law passed in 1995. I am aware of the listing and have asked it to be corrected since I no longer work for that firm.

However, as of October 2006, Milloy remains listed as a registered lobbyist in the above federal and non-governmental databases.

Through the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund run by Milloy and former tobacco executive Tom Borelli, Milloy has criticised companies that voluntarily adopt high environmental standards. A statement issued by the Fund on November 30, 2005 began:

Action Fund Management LLC (AFM), investment adviser to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, requested that Goldman Sachs’ (NYSE: GS) Audit and Corporate Governance Committees review the firm’s recently announced Environmental Policy. “We are concerned that CEO Henry Paulson may have had a material conflict of interest and management may have breached its fiduciary duty to shareholders by adopting the policy,” said AFM’s Steve Milloy.

Through the platform of the FEAF, Milloy has criticized a number of other corporations for adopting environmental initiatives:

* The FEAF criticized Microsoft for abandoning the use of PVC in its packing materials.[23]
* Milloy accused the Business Roundtable, a pro-business organization of CEO's, of being "silent about current threats to business", adding, "Last September, we warned 18 member company CEOs participating in the BRT’s 'sustainable growth' initiative to stop wasting corporate resources."
* Milloy and Borelli argued that General Electric is harming its shareholders by launching a program to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. They also accused G.E. of ignoring the input of global warming skeptic groups such as the Cato Institute and the oil-industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute in forming their environmental policy.

Milloy has been criticized both for making misleading and false claims, and for presenting himself as an impartial journalist on health and environmental matters while accepting funding and editorial input from tobacco and oil companies.

Milloy's biography on his junkscience.com website claims that he was a member of the judging panel for the 2004 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Journalism Awards. However, the AAAS website does not list him among the 2004 judges. Journalist Paul D. Thacker reported that the AAAS initially invited Milloy as a judge at random, as he is listed in a media directory of journalists as a "science editor". However, Milloy was disqualified as an AAAS judge after the conflict of interest inherent in his position with the partisan Cato Institute was revealed.

Milloy is a paid advocate for Phillip Morris and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The content of junkscience.com, which is represented as independent, has been reviewed, revised, and edited by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

In January 2006, Paul D. Thacker reported in The New Republic that Milloy, who is presented by Fox News as an independent journalist, was under contract to Philip Morris through the end of 2005. Philip Morris documents showed that Milloy was budgeted hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments while writing for FoxNews.com. In the May/June 2005 issue of Mother Jones, Chris Mooney reported that non-profit organizations operated out of Milloy's home have also received large payments from ExxonMobil during his tenure with Fox News.

A spokesperson for Fox News stated, "Fox News was unaware of Milloy's connection with Philip Morris. Any affiliation he had should have been disclosed." Regarding ties to ExxonMobil, a Fox News spokesperson stated that Milloy is "...affiliated with several not-for-profit groups that possibly may receive funding from Exxon, but he certainly does not receive funding directly from Exxon."

Journalists who take money to write pieces favorable to corporate interests are widely considered to be breaching journalistic ethics. Milloy's association with the Cato Institute has since ended; however, as of October 2006, he continues to write for FoxNews.com, where he is described as a "junk science expert."

In 1999, David Platt Rall, a prominent environmental scientist, died in a car accident. Milloy celebrated Rall's death on junkscience.com as the "Obituary of the Day," writing: "Scratch one junk scientist who promoted the bankrupt idea that poisoning rats with a chemical predicts cancer in humans exposed to much lower levels of the chemical — a notion that, at the very least, has wasted billions and billions of public and private dollars." Cato Institute President Edward Crane called Milloy's attack an "inexcusable lapse in judgement and civility", but Milloy continued his attack on Rall, writing: "As far as David Rall is concerned, he was a bad guy when he was alive — shamelessly promoting the bankrupt notion that human cancer risk can be predicted by poisoning rats with chemicals. …Death did not improve his track record — no matter how many letters the Environmental Working Group sends to the Cato Institute." Since that time, Milloy has removed the attacks from his website, although he has not apologized.

Following the death of Senator John Chafee (R-R.I.) in 1999, Milloy highlighted Chafee's death as the "Obituary of the Day", writing: "Unfortunately, Sen. Chafee too often acted like a Democrat on environmental and regulatory reform issues. The good news is his replacement as Committee chairman will be Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) who has shown courage in opposing the Kyoto protocol and the EPA air quality proposals."

Milloy drew criticism for claiming that if asbestos, instead of a substitute, was used as insulation for all floors of the World Trade Center buildings (asbestos was used as insulation in both buildings up to mid-level floors) it could have saved lives. Laurie Kazan-Allen of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat wrote:

It takes a certain kind of person to capitalize on a human catastrophe such as the attacks on the World Trade Centre. While the rest of us remained desperate for news, some were plotting how these events could be used to maximum advantage. ... The fact that Milloy chose to make this and other such statements as ground zero was still smouldering shows an insensitivity that is hard to fathom. What decent human being could do anything during those early days but watch and wait as the emergency services worked 24/7 to locate survivors?

Milloy's mutual fund, the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF), has been criticised by investment analyst Chuck Jaffe as being "an advocacy group in search of assets." Jaffe concludes "Strip away the rhetoric, and you’re getting a very expensive, underperforming index fund, while Milloy and his partner Thomas Borelli get a platform for raising their pet issues."

Similarly, Daniel Gross, in a Slate magazine article, wrote that FEAF "seems to be a lobbying enterprise masquerading as a mutual fund." Gross noted that Milloy and Tom Borelli, the former head of corporate scientific affairs for Philip Morris, lack any money management experience; he also noted that FEAF had badly underperformed the S&P 500 during its first 10 months of existence. Gross concluded that "...in the short term, it looks like Borelli and Milloy are essentially paying the fund for the privilege of using it as a platform to broadcast their views on corporate governance, global warming, and a host of other issues."

Milloy and Borelli have defended Exxon against criticism for funding global warming sceptics and others, though without declaring their own financial interest. In September 2006, Milloy's Junkscience.com site reproduced the following excerpt of a piece by Borelli published in Townhall.com, criticising the British Royal Society:

Battle for the boardroom - After over 200 years of independence, the British are still trying to direct U.S. public policy. The Royal Society – the British equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences – recently admonished Exxon Mobil for supporting organizations that question the link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Notwithstanding the offensive nature of a prestigious organization attempting to silence scientific debate, the Royal Society’s letter sheds light on the larger effort employed by agents of the Left to shut-down corporate support for pro-growth political organizations, politicians and policies. By cutting-off the financial supply lines for free-market thought and policies, these agents – labor unions, NGOs, the media – hope to dominate public debate and control public opinion. As these tactics continue to meet with success, liberal policies and politicians will gain a huge strategic advantage.

For those of us interested in promoting pro-growth ideas, loss of corporate support represents a huge threat to sound public policy. There is too much money, power and influence wielded by companies and free-market advocates can’t afford to give up that high ground to the Left.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home