By Monday, numerous media outlets had debunked the viral false claim that President Joe Biden has proposed to restrict how much red meat Americans are allowed to eat. Even a Fox News anchor admitted on air on Monday afternoon that the claim was inaccurate.
Yet two days later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went on Fox News and repeated the nonsense.
Responding to Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday night, the California Republican said, “He wants control of your life. He’s gonna control how much meat you can eat. Can you imagine that?”
McCarthy’s interviewer, Fox host Sean Hannity, did not correct him.
McCarthy’s comments show, yet again, that a false claim that has been introduced into the conservative media ecosystem can be hard to eradicate even after it has been proven incorrect. And it is especially difficult to get people to stop believing a falsehood when powerful politicians, such as the top Republican in the House of Representatives, keep repeating it.
Before the Monday debunkings, the claim that Biden has proposed a meat restriction was aired repeatedly on Fox and was amplified on Twitter by multiple Republican lawmakers.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday morning.
The false claim originated with an article in The Daily Mail, a British tabloid. The article baselessly linked Biden’s climate plans to an academic study that was published before his presidency and that said nothing about his preferred policies.
The study, by scholars at the University of Michigan and Tulane University, found that there would be a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions if Americans hypothetically chose to reduce their consumption of most animal-based foods by 50% and beef by 90%, going down to four pounds of beef per person per year. But the study said nothing about Biden and said nothing about a government-mandated limit on meat consumption.
You can read a full fact check here.