Senior Research Manager Jared Holt commented to NPR about the alarmist surge in online rhetoric defending gas stoves following comments on health concerns by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Partisan media and politicians were quick to join the conversation and claimed that the government was going to ban gas stoves and take them away.
“It’s this really well developed reflex among hyperpartisan media outlets and influencers doing what it does best, which is isolating a situation, misrepresenting it and then stoking outrage. And using that to entertain its audience.” He expressed how in his view, ‘gas stoves are incidental to repeatedly practicing rituals of resentment, cynicism and ridicule toward regulation and groups considered hostile to conservatives.’
Gas stoves were being studied for health and climate concerns in US homes. It soon became central to the US culture war, and, as Jared notes, an opportunity for those with any stake in polarizing politics to profit.
“If it’s paying the bills, that’s a pretty good incentive for most people, I think. Especially if it’s giving you power and access to big amounts of influence,” he said.