How Fake News Happens: It’s simple! A governor tweets a Fox News graphic from a story that cites a British tabloid’s misinterpretation of a scholarly study, and a false narrative about Biden banning beef stokes political rage

How dare President Biden be invoked by a British tabloid that rather creatively linked a scholarly study to a plan Biden floated during the Democratic primary. How dare Biden be implicated in a Fox News graphic that falsely lists cutting beef sales by 90% as a requirement of Biden’s “climate requirements.” How dare Biden be targeted by the Texas governor who retweeted the misleading Fox News graphic that amplified the spin that the British tabloid put on a scholarly study. Biden is such a national embarrassment! Why doesn’t he just spend his time rage-tweeting from golf courses, like presidents are supposed to?

Gregory A. Keoleian and Martin Heller, two of the study’s authors, told Yahoo News that “to our knowledge, there is no connection between our study and Joe Biden’s Climate plan.”

“This appears to be an association made erroneously by the Daily Mail that has been picked up widely,” they continued. “Our study merely identifies opportunities for emissions reductions that are possible from changes in our diet. By no means does it suggest that these changes in diet would be required to meet climate goals.” —How a false claim about beef and Biden’s climate plan spread

The study simply explored what would happen if Americans cut their beef consumption by 90%. The British tabloid connected the scholarly study to a plan Biden published during the Democratic primary, more than a year before taking office — but that plan didn’t say anything about cutting beef consumption. The Fox News graphic suggested the 90% reduction in beef consumption was part of Biden’s official presidential policy, which it isn’t.

It’s so much easier to share a meme that mocks a position that you disagree with, rather than taking the time to research the claims made in the meme.

Update, Apr 28: yesterday afternoon Fox admitted their error.