MSNBC Repeats Dubious Stat About Straws | NTK Network MSNBC Repeats Dubious Stat About Straws

MSNBC Repeats Dubious Stat About Straws

Media outlets throughout the country have repeatedly cited a dubious statistic, claiming that Americans use 500 million straws per day.

By NTK Staff | 06.05.2018 @1:06pm

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi, on their self-titled show on Tuesday, repeated an oft-cited statistic that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day.

To mark World Environment Day, the show displayed a list of supposedly egregious instances of environmental abuse. One of the four items on the list claimed, “500 million straws used per day in U.S.”

Ruhle even told her co-host that her family has sworn off straws in the past year, due to the statistic.

But a report from Reason discovered the statistic may not be what it seems. Reason’s Christian Britschgi found that the statistic traces back to a school project by a 9-year-old, who based his estimation on phone surveys of straw manufacturers:

Eco-Cycle is unable to provide any data to back up this number, telling Reason that it was relying on the research of one Milo Cress. Cress—whose Be Straw Free Campaign is hosted on Eco-Cycle’s website—tells Reason that he arrived at the 500 million straws a day figure from phone surveys he conducted of straw manufacturers in 2011, when he was just 9 years old.

Cress, who is now 16, says that the National Restaurant Association has endorsed his estimates in private correspondence. This may well be true, but the only references to the 500 million figure on the association’s website again points back to the work done by Cress.

Perhaps the network should double-check their facts before broadcasting them.

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