The New York Times was forced to issue a correction on Wednesday after a much-hyped report on the Trump administration supposedly attempting to hide a climate change report didn’t live up to the expectations they claimed.
The Times' report made its front page on Tuesday because it alleged President Donald Trump’s White House was delaying the release of a climate change report that said U.S. activities have contributed to climate change. The report was based on the conclusions of scientists from 13 government agencies.
The Times quoted unnamed scientists who told them they were afraid Trump would suppress the report, which "directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet,” the Times reported.
"An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report,” the Times wrote in a correction at the bottom of its story. “While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times."
The Times originally claimed they had “exclusively obtained” the report — presumably through a government leaker — and were the first to report on it. However, that’s not exactly true.
In fact, the report had never been held in an unreleased status by the government and has been publicly available since last December.
Scientists who worked on the report were quick to point that out — and one even took a veiled swipe at the Times:
Important to point out that this report was already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review… https://t.co/OdCgw3agNM— Prof. Katharine Hayhoe (@Prof. Katharine Hayhoe) 1502161743.0
It's not clear what the news is in this story; posted draft is public review draft from Dec, and WH review hasn't y… https://t.co/scNbfwcIW2— Bob Kopp (@Bob Kopp) 1502162491.0
In addition, The Associated Press reports that four of the climate report’s co-authors told them that they "have not heard of or witnessed any attempt by the White House to suppress or censor the scientific document."
"It was under the radar and we were fine about that,” one of the authors told the AP.
The climate change report was submitted to the government as part of the upcoming National Climate Assessment. The assessment is released every four years.