Steven J. Milloy is a lawyer, whose close financial and organizational ties to tobacco and oil companies have been the subject of criticism from a number of sources, as Milloy has consistently criticized the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks and human activity to global warming. He was a commentator for Fox News and ran the Web site junkscience.com, which is dedicated to "debunking" what Milloy labels "faulty scientific data and analysis." On Fox News Channel he was billed as a "Junk Science commentator." He describes himself as a libertarian.
Among the topics Milloy has addressed are what he believes to be false claims regarding DDT, global warming, Alar, breast implants, secondhand smoke, ozone depletion, and mad cow disease. Milloy also runs CSRWatch.com, which monitors and criticizes the corporate social responsibility movement. From the 1990s until the end of 2005, he was an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, which hosted the JunkScience.com site. He is currently an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Milloy is head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund he runs with former tobacco executive Tom Borelli. He also 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 authored four books.
- 1 Educational background
- 2 Career
- 3 Junk science
- 4 Registration as a lobbyist
- 5 Corporate activism
- 6 Books
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
Milloy claims to hold 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.
According to his website, in 1994, Milloy was project leader of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Project, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy. The Cato Institute, where he was listed as an adjunct scholar, published his work from 1995 to 2005. Milloy began his criticism of "Junk science" as president of the Environmental Policy Analysis Network in 1996. In March 1997, Milloy became president of the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), which later became the Advancement of Sound Science Center. He was a correspondent for Fox News between 2002 and 2009.
Milloy has popularized the use of the term "junk science" in public debate, which he defines as "faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas." According to Milloy, "the junk science 'mob' includes: The MEDIA, [who] may use junk science for sensational headlines and programming…PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, [who] may use junk science to bamboozle juries into awarding huge verdicts," and others. Milloy frequently applies the term to climate change science and certain health controversies.
Scientists and science writers have argued the term is used, by Milloy and others, almost exclusively to "denigrate scientists and studies whose findings do not serve the corporate cause," in the words of David Michaels. In an editorial in Chemical & Engineering News, Editor-in-Chief Rudy Baum called Milloy's junkscience.com website "the best known" example of "a right wing effort in the U.S. to discredit widely accepted science, technology and medical information." He went on to label Milloy "a tireless antiscience polemicist" who applies the term "junk science" to "anything that doesn't match his right-wing concept of reality." Along similar lines, an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health noted that "... attacking the science underlying difficult public policy decisions with the label of 'junk' has become a common ploy for those opposed to regulation ... One need only peruse JunkScience.com to get a sense of the long list of public health issues for which research has been so labeled."
Milloy has criticized research linking secondhand tobacco smoke to cancer, claiming that "the vast majority of studies reported no statistical association." In 1993, Milloy dismissed an Environmental Protection Agency report linking secondhand tobacco smoke to cancer as "a joke." Five years later Milloy claimed vindication after a federal court criticized the EPA's conclusions. However, the court's finding against the EPA was overturned on appeal. When the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis confirming a link in 1997, Milloy wrote, "Of the 37 studies, only 7—less than 19 percent—reported statistically significant increases in lung cancer incidence... Meta-analysis of the secondhand smoke studies was a joke when EPA did it in 1993. And 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?"
Links to tobacco industry
While at FoxNews.com, Milloy has continued to criticize claims that secondhand tobacco smoke causes cancer. However, with the release of confidential tobacco industry documents as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, the objectivity of Milloy's stance on secondhand smoke has been questioned. Based on this documentation, journalists Paul D. Thacker and George Monbiot, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists and others, have contended that Milloy is a paid advocate for the tobacco industry.
Milloy's junkscience.com website was reviewed and revised by a public relations firm hired by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Milloy also worked as executive director of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), which was established in 1993 by Philip Morris and its public relations firm "to expand and assist Philip Morris in its efforts with issues in targeted states." A 1994 Philip Morris memo listed TASSC among its "Tools to Affect Legislative Decisions". According to its 1997 annual report, TASSC "sponsored" junkscience.com.
The New Republic reported that Milloy, who is presented by Fox News as an independent journalist, was under contract to provide consulting services to Philip Morris through the end of 2005. In 2000 and 2001, for example, Milloy received a total of $180,000 in payments from Philip Morris for consulting services. 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." Milloy's association with the Cato Institute ended shortly afterwards; however, as of March 2008[update], he continues to write for FoxNews.com, where he is described as a "junk science expert." Monbiot wrote: "Even after Fox News was told about the money [Milloy] had been receiving from Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing its readers about his interests." Thacker wrote:
Objective viewers long ago realized that Fox News has a political agenda. But, when a pundit promotes this agenda while on the take from corporations that benefit from it, then Fox News has gone one disturbing step further.
Milloy argues 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 recently offered a prize of $500,000 to anyone who can "prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming," stating that "JunkScience.com, in its sole discretion, will determine the winner, if any."
In 2004, when the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment was released by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, Milloy wrote that the report "pretty much debunks itself." Milloy based his assertions that the variation was natural on his interpretation of just one graph from the overview of the large study. One of the lead authors of the study, oceanographer James J. McCarthy, commented that those taking Milloy's position would "have to refute what are hundreds of scientific papers that reconstruct various pieces of this climate puzzle." Milloy's assertion was repeated by lobbyists including the Competitive Enterprise Institute
In 2005, it was reported that non-profit organizations operating out of Milloy's home, and in some cases employing no staff, have received large payments from ExxonMobil during his tenure with Fox News. 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."
Milloy is the Executive Director of DemandDebate.com, an organization that seeks to eliminate what it calls "bias" in environmental education. A Competitive Enterprise Institute press release says he "coordinated" the group's activities at the recent Live Earth concert in New York, at which a plane circled the event pulling a banner reading, "DON’T BELIEVE AL GORE — DEMAND DEBATE.COM."
U.S. Surgeon General
In 1998, Milloy, writing on behalf of TASSC, co-wrote an article which called for the abolition of the position of United States Surgeon General. "We have not had a surgeon general for three years. Has anyone noticed? Is anyone's health at risk," asked the authors.
Milloy has campaigned against the 1972 ban on non-public-health uses of DDT in the United States and in favour of wider use of DDT against malaria, which he claims could be largely eliminated if DDT were used more aggressively. He has been particularly critical of Rachel Carson who, he wrote, "misrepresented the existing science on bird reproduction and was wrong about DDT causing cancer."
Milloy's junkscience.com web site features The Malaria Clock: A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death, which he claims counts up the approximate number of new malaria cases and deaths in the world, most of which he says could have been prevented by the use of DDT. As of June 2007[update], Milloy's clock stands at more than 94 million dead, 90% of whom are said to have been expectant mothers and children under five years of age. "Infanticide on this scale appears without parallel in human history," writes Milloy. "This is not ecology. This is not conservation. This is genocide."
Critics have argued that the clock holds Carson "responsible for more deaths than malaria has caused in total," a charge that a footnote at the bottom of the malaria clock webpage seems to acknowledge, stating: "Note that some of these cases would have occurred irrespective of DDT use. Note also that, while enormously influential, the US ban did not immediately terminate global DDT use and that developing world malaria mortality increased over time rather than instantly leaping to the estimated value of 2,700,000 deaths per year. However, certain in the knowledge that even one human sacrificed on the altar of green misanthropy is infinitely too many, I let stand the linear extrapolation of numbers from an instant start on the 1st of the month following this murderous ban."
Milloy's claims about malaria in general are generally held to have been debunked, with many commentators pointing to the close links between Milloy, DDT-advocacy and the tobacco industry as casting suspicion on the motives for his difficult to support claims.
In 2006, following a press release by the World Health Organization recommending more extensive use of indoor residual spraying with DDT and other pesticides, Milloy wrote, "It’s a relief that the WHO has finally come to its senses." In 2007, the WHO clarified its position, saying it is "very much concerned with health consequences from use of DDT" and reaffirmed its commitment to phasing out the use of DDT.
Asbestos and the World Trade Center
On September 14, 2001, three days after terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center, Milloy wrote that the World Trade Center towers might have stood longer, preventing many casualties, had the use of asbestos fire-resistant lagging not been discontinued during the Towers' construction. Milloy's article reported that, "In 1971, New York City banned the use of asbestos in spray fireproofing. At that time, asbestos insulating material had only been sprayed up to the 64th floor of the World Trade Center towers," and cited an expert who questioned the efficacy of the asbestos-free lagging that was used on the steel in the upper floors.
Advocates for banning asbestos were highly critical of the article, questioning his motives and disputing his conclusions. The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat charged him with "insensitivity that is hard to fathom."
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", noting comments in CSPI newsletters like "Remember the saturated fat and the E.coli bacteria that could be hiding inside [a hamburger]? You can keep the taste but forget the worries with Gardenburger."
In 1999, David Platt Rall, a prominent environmental scientist, died in a car accident. Steven Milloy, at the time a Cato adjunct scholar, commented: "Scratch one junk scientist....". Cato Institute President Edward Crane called Milloy's comments an "inexcusable lapse in judgment and civility," but Milloy refused to apologize, stating "I'm sorry for [Rall's] family that he's dead. It's not intended as a slight to them. But he had a huge role to play in junk science and that's undeniable".
Registration as a lobbyist
The United States Senate Lobby Filing Disclosure Program lists Milloy as a registered lobbyist for the EOP Group for the years 1998–2000. The guidebook Washington Representatives also listed him as a lobbyist for the EOP Group in 1996. The EOP Group's clients include the American Crop Protection Association (pesticides), the Chlorine Chemistry Council, Edison Electric Institute (fossil and nuclear energy), Fort Howard Corp. (a paper manufacturer) and the National Mining Association. Milloy himself was personally registered as a lobbyist for Monsanto Company and the International Food Additives Council. Milloy denies ever lobbying, and in a 1998 email response to his registration as a lobbyist under EOP he wrote:
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.
Milloy and former tobacco executive Tom Borelli run a mutual fund called the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF). The fund has criticised companies that voluntarily adopt high environmental standards. 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.
- 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 Competitive Enterprise Institute in forming their environmental policy.
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 has written five books:
- Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, Regnery Publishing, 2009, ISBN 978-1-59698-585-8
- Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams, Cato Institute, 2001, ISBN 1-930865-12-0
- Silencing Science, Cato Institute, 1999, ISBN 1-882577-72-8 (with Michael Gough)
- Science Without Sense: The Risky Business of Public Health Research, Cato Institute, 1996, ISBN 1-882577-34-5
- Science-Based Risk Assessment: A Piece of the Superfund Puzzle, National Environmental Policy Institute, 1995, ISBN 0-9647463-0-1
Milloy's junkscience.com site lists positive comments, derived from prepublication reviews of his books Silencing Science and Junk Science Judo, published on the back cover (blurb) of those books. Those cited on junkscience.com are Philip Abelson, editor of Science from 1962 to 1984, and D.A. Henderson, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health from 1977 to 1990. Abelson's review states "Milloy is one of a small group who devotes time, energy and intelligence to the defense of the truth of science."
- Mother Jones: Some Like It Hot. May/June 2005
- Thacker, Paul D. (27 January 2006). "Smoked Out: Pundit For Hire". The New Republic. The New Republic. p. 1. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- Taking Out the Junk (Science), Interview in FrontPageMagazine.com, May 12, 2008.
- Milloy's Website, junkscience.com, accessed 20 Sept 2006.
- Milloy's history and C.V., from his website junkscience.com, accessed 20 Sept 2006.
- [dead link]
- "Junk science?". junksciencearchive.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
- Michaels, David (2008). Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-19-530067-3.
- Baum, Rudy (June 9, 2008). "Defending Science". Chemical and Engineering News. American Chemical Society. 86 (37): 5. doi:10.1021/cen-v086n023.p005.
- Samet JM, Burke TA (2001). "Turning science into junk: the tobacco industry and passive smoking". American Journal of Public Health. 91 (11): 1742–4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.91.11.1742. PMC . PMID 11684591.
- Secondhand Smokescreen, By Steven Milloy, March 9, 2001
- Secondhand Joking, by Steven Milloy Archived November 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Milloy, Steven. "www.junkscience.com".
- Stauber, John; Rampton, Sheldon (July 1999). "The Junkyard Dogs of Science". New Internationalist. Oxford, England: New Internationalist Publications.
- Activity Report, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., December 1996, describing input from R.J.R. Tobacco's P.R. firm into Milloy's junkscience website. From the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at the University of California, San Francisco. Accessed 5 October 2006.
- Philip Morris 1994 Budget Draft, available at the Philip Morris Document Archive. Accessed 5 October 2006.
- Ong EK, Glantz SA (2000). "Tobacco industry efforts subverting International Agency for Research on Cancer's second-hand smoke study". Lancet. 355 (9211): 1253–9. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02098-5. PMID 10770318.
- Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Budget Presentation, 1994, from the Philip Morris Document Archive. Accessed 5 October 2006.
- Annual Report – 1997, Steven Milloy, January 7th, 1998. Document accessed at Legacy Tobacco Documents Library on July 7, 2007.
- Philip Morris budget for "Strategy and Social Responsibility", detailing $180,000 in payments to Steven Milloy (pp. 13 & 66). Accessed 5 October 2006.
- Milloy column on global warming, published 12 October 2006, in which Milloy is described as a "junk science expert." Accessed 16 October 2006.
- Climate Change: The Denial Industry, by George Monbiot. Published as an excerpt in The Guardian on September 19, 2006; accessed July 23, 2007.
- Ultimate Global Warming Challenge, a Steven Milloy website. Accessed May 25, 2008.
- Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice, by Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com, 12 Nov., 2004
- $40,000 to the Advancement of Sound Science Center and $50,000 to the Free Enterprise Action Institute. Both organizations were registered to Milloy's home address. source: Some Like It Hot, motherjones.com . May/June 2005
- DemandDebate.com Press Release, PR Newswire, Oct 1, 2007.
- Interview with Borelli on The Young Turks, accessed on www.lastvideo.net, July 12, 2007. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Bureaucrash and the "Demand Debate" Campaign Crash Live Earth New York, Competitive Enterprise Institute Press Release, July9th, 2007.
- An Empty Uniform, by Michael Gough and Steven Milloy, The Wall Street Journal, 10 February 1998
- NCPA Idea House: Who Needs A Surgeon General? Archived December 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- At Risk from the Pesticide Myth, by Steven Milloy, July 28, 2000
- The Malaria Clock: A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Rachel Carson, Mass Murderer? The creation of an anti-environmental myth, Aaron Swartz, Extra!, September/October 2007.
- Rehabilitating Carson, John Quiggin, Prospect Magazine!, May 2008..
- Day of Reckoning for DDT Foes?, by Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com, Thursday, September 21, 2006
- Article: Asbestos Could Have Saved WTC Lives, FoxNews.com. Published September 14, 2001.
- "Criticism of Milloy's comments by the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Accessed 11 October 2006.[dead link]
- Steven Milloy (2002-08-30). "Quorn & CSPI: The Other Fake Meat". Fox News. Retrieved 2006-05-20.
- Richard Morin and Claudia Deane, "The Ideas Industry", Washington Post, October 12, 1999, p. A17
- United States Senate Lobby Filing Disclosure Program, listing Milloy as a lobbyist for the EOP Group from 1998–2000, accessed 28 June 2006. Archived January 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- Washington Lobbyists, 1996, Columbia Books, Washington DC.
- "Junk Science and the Art of Spin-Doctoring" Stewart Fist Old Dominion University College of Sciences.
- Free Enterprise Action Fund press release, criticizing Microsoft for abandoning the use of PVC in its packing materials. Accessed 11 October 2006.
- Free Enterprise Action Fund press release chastising the Business Roundtable for insufficient vigilance in the defense of capitalism. Accessed 11 October 2006.
- Free Enterprise Action Fund press release criticizing General Electric's environmental policy. Accessed 11 October 2006.
- "Strange Bedfellows: Politics and Investment Fund", from the Boston Herald. Published 24 Jan 2006. Accessed 11 October 2006. Archived March 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Thank You for Investing: A very curious right-wing mutual fund." Article by Daniel Gross from Slate magazine, published 4 May 2006. Accessed 11 October 2006.