These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Left Bias sources.
- Overall, we rate the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Left biased based on strong environmental activism. We also rate them Mostly Factual for reporting, rather than High due to the publication of misleading information regarding GMO’s and pesticides as well as a lack of transparency with funding.
Factual Reporting: MOSTLY FACTUAL
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 48/180
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a New York City-based, non-profit international environmental advocacy group, with offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing, China. Founded in 1970, NRDC today has 2.4 million members, online activities nationwide, and a staff of about 500 lawyers, scientists and other policy experts. The organization states that it seeks sustainable policies from federal, state and local government and industrial corporations.
Gina McCarthy is the CEO and president. She previously served as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration.
Funded by / Ownership
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a nonprofit that is funded through donations and grants. Although they provide tax documents, they do not list large donors, which indicates a lack of transparency. According to the right leaning Influence Watch which specifically monitors left leaning activist groups, they claim that they have received funding from the Energy Foundation, which promotes a new energy economy.
Analysis / Bias
In review, the NRDC publishes news and information related to the environment, climate change and sustainable energy. Information is broken into categories such as Our Work, which shows the topics they advocate for and how they do it. The next section links to experts in different fields such as energy, climate change and health. The last section is called Our Stories, which publishes both original articles written by NRDC staff as well republished work from OnEarth.
News articles utilize moderate loaded language such as this, Tackling Climate Change Through Diet Change, and are generally well sourced to credible outlets such as the New York Times and research journals.
Editorially, the environmental positions of the NRDC align with the left through concern for climate change, chemicals and conservation of resources. When reporting on the Trump Administration they frequently use loaded emotional language to portray Trump negatively such as this: Trump’s Cabinet of Horrors. On the flip side, they tend to report positively on Democrats who support climate action such as this: Secretary Clinton’s Announcement: A Shot of Adrenalin for Climate Talks.
When it comes to science the NRDC is generally pro-science and supports the consensus, however on some issues, such as GMO’s, they frequently report negatively or sow doubt without specifically stating it. Further, in 1989 the NRDC was involved in the “great apple scare“, where they claimed that the chemical Alar, applied to apple trees was a potent cancer causing agent. The result of this claim was a loss of 250 million dollars to the apple industry. The NRDC claimed that “the average pre-schooler’s exposure was estimated to result in a cancer risk 240 times greater than the cancer risk considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency following a full lifetime of exposure.” However, experts at the American Council on Science and Health and others countered that the tests that produced the Alar scare would have required children to drink 5,000 gallons of apple juice — per day. Other studies have concluded that Alar may produce cancer in 5 out of 1 million people, which statistically places it in the “probable” category for cancer. This does not change the fact the NRDC grossly exaggerated their claim.
Overall, we rate the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Left biased based on strong environmental activism. We also rate them Mostly Factual for reporting, rather than High due to the publication of misleading information regarding GMO’s and pesticides as well as a lack of transparency with funding. (D. Van Zandt 7/18/2017) Updated (1/27/2020)