Michael Bastasch

Michael Bastasch


  • B.A., Political Science, University of Portland (2011). [1]


Michael Bastasch is a reporter for the conservative news site The Daily Caller where he focuses on energy and environmental issues. Bastasch has published over 3,000 articles on The Daily Caller and has regularly provided a platform for climate change skeptics. [2]

According to Bastasch's LinkedIn profile, he has a long history working with organizations tied to Koch Industries. He went through the Koch Internship Program through the Charles Koch Institute in 2012, and around the same time also interned on government relations at the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation. He was also a prior Research Associate at the Cascade Policy Institute, which the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) notes has close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where Bastasch also interned in 2010. He also worked as a Koch Summer Fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. [1], [3]

Writing at CMD, Lisa Graves highlight's Bastasch's internship, saying “Bastasch is one of hundreds of interns who have been funded by Charles's newest enterprise to help turn their ideological affinity with Koch 'into careers'.”  [3]

Daily Caller Koch Connections

According to data from Greenpeace, The Daily Caller News Foundation (the nonprofit arm of the Daily Caller) has received at least $825,814 in combined funding from Koch-controlled foundations. As reported at Daily KOS, the Daily Caller was one of the main beneficiaries of climate change denial funding through Koch foundations, and “also seems to be the final destination of sorts for the conservative media pipeline.” [25]

DeSmog reported that, in 2015, The Daily Caller News Foundation had accepted $106,248 in two donations from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. The group had also accepted $60,000 from the secretive DonorsTrust in that year. [26]

Climate science denier and Republican supporter Foster Freiss, who helped found the Daily Caller, also helped bankroll the organization with a $3 million donation before it was launched in January 2010. [27]

Media Matters reported that Freiss was also a major Koch donor and regular attendee of the Koch's annual summits. The Daily Caller News Foundation was also formerly listed as a “Partner Organization” of the Charles Koch Institute. [28], [29]

Stance on Climate Change

March 5, 2017

Writing in The Daily Caller on the 97% consensus among climate change scientists on man-made global warming, after quoting climate change deniers Richard Lindzen, Bastasch claims that “consensus is not proof.” He adds, “Experts can all agree, but that doesn’t mean they are right.” [4]

“That being said, most climate scientists likely do agree humans are contributing to warming in some way […] That still leaves us with a lot of possibilities. Is 51 percent of global warming attributable to humans or is 99 percent? Scientists can guess, but no one knows for sure.” [4]

He concludes with a survey from the Koch-funded George Mason University (GMU) that found one/third of AMS members at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) believe “mostly natural or only about half-caused by humans.” [4]

He also defers to the “climate scientists” at the libertarian (and also heavily-Koch-funded) Cato Institute, which he claims have found that “climate models incorrectly predicted global temperature rise for six decades.” [4]

Global Warming “Pause”

Bastasch has repeatedly promoted the debunked theory of a “global warming pause” or “hiatus.” Sample articles below: [5]

Key Quotes

January 20, 2017

On The Daily Caller, Bastasch writes that regulations under the Obama administration had “zero projected impact” on global warming:  [6]

“Obama imposed $457 billion worth of climate regulations to avert an immeasurable amount of warming.

“Well, okay, that’s not completely right — it’s actually worse.

“That figure assumes climate models accurately project CO2-induced warming, but there’s a lot of evidence building up that most climate models have over-predicted warming for the last six decades. If the models are running hot, that actually means Obama-era regulations will avert even less warming than three-hundredths of a degree.

“In that case, they could literally have zero projected impact on future warming.”  [6]

January 10, 2017

Citing research by climate change contrarian Roger Pielke Jr., Bastasch criticizes Bill Nye for tweeting that man-made global warming was increasing floods in Northern California:  [7]

“On a global scale, there’s little to no evidence flooding events have been on the rise,” Bastasch wrote. [7]

May, 2014

Writing at The Daily Caller, Bastasch declared:

“The Obama administration and environmentalists have tried to make it seem like there are virtually no dissenting voices among scientists that mankind is causing the Earth to warm rapidly and towards a catastrophic end. But not all scientists are in lock-step with the White House on climate science.” [8]

Key Deeds

November 21, 2017

In a Daily Caller story titled  “The Real Story Behind The Heartland Institute’s Role In The Trump Admin,” Bastasch interviewed Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute followingThe Washington Post's reporting on Heartland's closed-door meeting in Houston, Texas. Bastasch said that Jim Lakely, Heartland's communication director, had claimed the article was an effort to delegitimize Heartland and its work.  [41], [42]

The tone of it is that the climate realist right isn’t happy with Trump’s progress,” Lakely told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” [42]

Bast had similar comments, saying “the left demonizes us” while pointing to the publishing of Heartland's leaked 2012 budget documents as an example. According to Bast, Heartland also never specifically told the EPA who to pick as part of a climate “Red Team.” [42]

I have never met Scott Pruitt,” Bast said. “We’ve always tried to remain arm’s length from politics. It’s never been a priority for us to engage in politics.” [42]

The real way we measure our impact is through public opinion surveys,” Bast said, referring to Heartland's surveys on public global warming attitudes. [42]

However, Bast did admit to a relationship with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, telling Bastasch that he talked frequently with Bannon regarding orders to combat climate policies, like urging Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. [42]

“Steve was an important channel for us to the White House,” Bast said. “[..] It’s changed with Steve Bannon leaving.” [42]

Bast also said that Heartland's new president, Tim Huelskamp, “has been invaluable to finding new allies in the administration,” Bastasch wrote. [42]

August 22, 2017

Bastasch promoted a study by Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) senior fellows John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy in an article at The Daily Caller. The study, titled “The application of machine learning for evaluating anthropogenic versus natural climate change,” was published in the soon-to-be discontinued journalGeoResJ. [32][33]

“The world would have warmed throughout the 20th Century even without carbon dioxide emissions from the industrial revolution, according to a new study,” Bastasch wrote.

According to Marohasy, “This suggests that even if there had been no industrial revolution and burning of fossil fuels, there would have still been some warming through the twentieth century – to at least 1980.”  [32]

The study was quickly picked up by other conservative news sources and blogs including Breitbart, Tallboke, and Watts Up With That among others. Marohasy herself wrote on it at The Spectator and at her personal blog. [34], [35], [36], [37], [38], [39]

Graham Readfearn, reporting for The Guardian, contacted five scientists to review the paper. “They variously summarised the research as 'junk science' and seriously flawed,” Readfearn said. He noted that one of the study's co-authors, John Abbot, “claimed an academic affiliation to James Cook University that, according to that university, had expired more than six months before the research was submitted to the journal.” [40]

Replying on Twitter, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt had this to say:

Speaking with Readfearn, Schmidt added that the paper was worthless “on a number of measures” and was an example of “what happens when people have their conclusions fixed before they start the work.” [40]

Readfearn contacted Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Prof Steven Sherwood, deputy director at the University of New South Wales climate change research centre; and Prof Piers Forster, director of the Priestley international centre for climate at the University of Leeds, all who pointed out serious flaws in the paper. [40]

July 5, 2017

Michael Bastasch promoted a study at The Daily Caller claiming that “adjustments made to global surface temperature readings by scientists in recent years 'are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.'” [30]

While Bastasch asserts that the study is peer reviewed, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) reviewed the document,and notes that “points almost exclusively to dataset sources, ignoring virtually all peer-reviewed studies that examine the issues that they raise.” [31]

UCS senior climate scientist Rachel Licker wrote:

There were so many egregious errors and unsubstantiated claims in this document, that I cringed with discomfort that this could be mistaken as a peer-reviewed scientific study.” [31]

June 14, 2017

Writing at The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch claimed new study “debunked science the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used to justify imposing costly regulations on U.S. industries.” The study was looking at the association between air quality and acute deaths, for which it found “little evidence.” [24]

Even Bastasch notes that the study, published by statistician Stan Young three years ago, faced challenges in getting published in a journal. It was finally accepted by the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology after being rejected in July 2015 by the journal PLOS One, which said that the EPA was already settled: [24]

EPA and other regulatory bodies have long since concluded these associations are causal so I don’t think there is much point in going over this again and again,” the PLOS One editor wrote to Young. [24]

March 14, 2017

Bastasch wrote an article in The Daily Caller discussing Scott Pruitt's statement's that “ I would not agree that [CO2 is] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Bastasch highlights defense of Pruitt's statements by noted climate change deniers Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, and Roger Pielke, Sr.  [9]

“In my opinion, this is correct and is a healthy position for both the science and policy debates,” Curry had written of Pruitt's statement on her blog. [9]

February 21, 2017

Writing at The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch promoted a research report by climate change denier Judith Curry, who had written the report a month prior for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Notably, Curry wrote her report for the noted climate change denial organization shortly after she decided to leave her academic position at Georgia Tech. [10], [11]

“Climate models show twice as much warming during the 21st Century than what’s actually been observed, according to a new report highlighting the limitations of global climate models, or GCMs,” Bastasch wrote. [11]

The report, titled “Climate Models for the Layman” argues climate models are unreliable and “not fit for the purpose of identifying with high confidence the proportion of the 20th century warming that was human-caused as opposed to natural.” [10]

December 14, 2016

Bastasch claims a study co-authored by climate change deniers Anthony Watts and Willis Eschenbach is enough to call the IPCC's predictions of global warming into question, as he wrote in The Daily Caller under an article titled “New Study Casts Doubt On A Key Metric For Predicting Global Warming.” [12]

“This study was entirely serendipitous, the result came about from pure curiosity, nothing else,” Watts told The Daily Caller News Foundation[12]

Other skeptics cited by Bastasch in the article include Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of the fossil-fuel funded Cato Institute.  [12]

“Going forward we should expect less warming from future greenhouse gas emissions than climate models are projecting,” Michaels and Knappenberger wrote of the study. They also described it as the “'death blow' to global warming hysteria.” [12]

April 25, 2016

Bastasch cited a report by Andrew Montford at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) claiming there is no connection between droughts and heat waves and global warming.  [13]

“Climate scientists and environmentalists have claimed for years droughts and heatwaves were getting worse because of man-made global warming, but those predictions have not come true, according to a new study,” Bastasch wrote in The Daily Caller. [14]

March 2, 2016

Michael Bastasch was copied on a set of leaked emails, originally obtained by E&E News, from climate change denier Fred Singer. InsideClimate News reported how, in the months before the film “Merchants of Doubt” debuted, Singer had  contacted more than two dozen bloggers, public relations specialists and scientists asking for help in derailing the documentary's release. [15]

“Can I sue for damages?” Singer asked in a October email to which Bastasch was copied. “Can we get an injunction against the documentary?” [15]

InsideClimate News noted that “Many of those copied on the email thread, such as Singer and communications specialist Steven Milloy, have financial ties to the tobacco, chemical, and oil and gas industries and have worked to defend them since the 1990s. Others seem relatively new to the denialist camp, such as climate scientist Judith Curry. All, however, have been vocal before Congress, on broadcast news or on the Internet in arguing that human activity is not the primarily driver of climate change.”   [15]

View the complete chain of Singer emails here. [16]

December 4, 2015

Prior to his testimony before congress, organized by senator Ted Cruz, climate science denier Mark Steyn appeared in an interview with Michael Bastasch at The Daily Caller. “Steyn is prepared for Democrat attacks on his credibility and lack of a climate science degree,” Bastasch wrote. [17], [18]

That’s a fair enough question because I’m not a scientist,” Steyn told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If some Democrat on that committee wants to take the hockey stick to me and beat me to a pulp, I don’t mind that.

I look at all these people bloviating in Paris. Barack Obama and the Prince of Wales aren’t scientists either,” Steyn says. “Since I’ve been sued by Michael Mann I’ve been spending more time than I thought on the science.”

Science-wise I can hold my own with ‘climate experts,'” he added. [18]

February, 2015

Bastasch wrote two pieces in The Daily Caller highlighting the work of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). The first was titled “Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead” and quotes Langeheine: [19]

The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” Langeheine had said. [19]

Bastasch wrote another piece in the Daily Caller where he claims that Langeheine's research proved that temperatures are falling globally due to a decline in solar activity. [20]

January 28, 2015

Michael Bastasch wrote at the Daily Caller that “solar radiation has been melting Siberian ice for 7,000 years,” evidence that “global warming is nothing new.” Bastasch was pointing to research from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute and published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Before Bastasch, the study had also been mentioned by Anthony Watts's Watts Up With That,  which had also republished portions of the paper's original press release. [21], [22]

ThinkProgress reported that “the Daily Caller is using the research to reinforce a common trope among climate deniers: that the climate has always been changing, and humans therefore have no effect.” However, ThinkProgress also notes that there is a problem: the research Bastasch cited “does not say any of that. It does not show that Siberian ice is “melting,” and certainly does not show that 'solar radiation' is the cause.” [23]

They contacted Dr. Thomas Laepple, one of the study's authors. Laepple told ThinkProgress that while the wording looked “very close” to his press release, “subtle changes were made” to make it seem like “the climate always warmed and therefore the human impact would not be important.” [23]

Laepple told ThinkProgress that The Daily Caller’s claim that “global warming is nothing new” was “misleading,” as it “attempts to equate a global phenomenon with a seasonal, regional, long-term trend.” In reality, he said, global warming occurs “in all seasons at a pace that is faster than anything we experienced during the last millennia.” [23]

June, 2012

After Bastasch wrote a Daily Caller story claiming that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had “nothing to do” with Florida's “Stand Your Ground” (SYG)/”Castle Doctrine” law. Bastasch said that the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) had made the claim that ALEC “drafted” the law. CMD responded that “we did not make that claim.” [3]

“Had Bastasch done any original research about CMD's actual original reporting on SYG, he would have seen that CMD is the research organization that documented how ALEC “ratified” the Florida SYG bill after it was signed into law […]” Lisa Graves wrote at CMD. “Bastasch's piece raises a question about how Daily Caller fact-checks its stories. If undocumented assertions like those about CMD are passed off as news, the Daily Caller could be said to be acting with reckless disregard for the truth,” she adds. [3]

Graves also notes that Bastasch does not disclose his past internship with ALEC in his piece. “Of course, Bastasch conveniently omits ALEC's well-documented role supporting the proliferation of 'Stand Your Ground”/”Castle Doctrine' laws across the country, which is not the same as having absolutely nothing to do with these laws,” she also notes. [3]


Social Media


Michael Bastash has written over 3,000 articles at The Daily Caller, with almost 900 of those containing the words “global warming” or “climate.” At least seventeen of his articles reference climate change “alarmists” in the title, and many oppose renewable energy such as solar and wind. [2]

View the attached spreadsheet for a complete list of Michael Bastasch's publications (.xlsx) that can be filtered by title keyword.

Sample Global Warming Publications


  1. Michael Bastasch: Reporter at The Daily Caller News Foundation,” LinkedIn. Accessed March 23, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  2. MICHAEL BASTASCH | ALL ARTICLES,” The Daily Caller. Accessed Mach 24, 2017. Archived at DeSmog.

  3. Lisa Graves. “Trained on Koch: Daily Caller Claims Fake Rebuttal of CMD on ALEC Role Promoting 'Stand Your Ground' Laws,” PR Watch, June 18, 2012. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/D7Sk8

  4. Michael Bastach. “Let’s Talk About The ‘97% Consensus’ On Global Warming,” The Daily Caller, March 5, 2017. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/tupHy

  5. Global warming hiatus explained and it's not good news,” SkepticalScience April 9, 2015. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AoFKU

  6. Michael Bastasch. “How Much Global Warming Did Obama’s Regulations Avert? NoneThe Daily Caller, January 20, 2017. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ZLSlP

  7. Michael Bastasch. “Bill Nye Blames Global Warming For Devastating Floods In Northern Cali,” The Daily Caller, January 10, 2017. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/F5MWh

  8. Michael Bastasch. “Skeptical Scientists Debunk White House Global Warming Report,” The Daily Caller, May 16, 2014. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/qTmH4

  9. Michael Bastasch. “Let’s Talk About Scott Pruitt’s ‘Denial’ Of Global Warming,” The Daily Caller, March 14, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/KAVwv

  10. CLIMATE MODELS for the layman” (PDF)The Global Warming Policy Foundation. PDF document created January 19, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  11. Michael Bastasch. “Climate Models Are Warming Earth Two Times Faster Than Reality,” The Daily Caller News Foundation, February 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4HJy4

  12. Michael Bastasch. “New Study Casts Doubt On A Key Metric For Predicting Global Warming,” The Daily Caller, December 14, 2016. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/UKUmE

  13. PARCHED EARTH POLICY: Drought, heatwave and conflict” (PDF), The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF Briefing 21), 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  14. Michael Bastasch. “Paper: Droughts, Heat Waves Are Not Getting Worse Like Alarmists Predicted,” The Daily Caller, April 25, 2016. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/sVdgU

  15. Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists,” InsideClimate News, March 12, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/V28gK

  16. “Re: Re: Orsekes: File Grievance with Harvard & Standford & UC Dear Christopher” (PDF), October 21, 2014. Archived at DeSmogblog.

  17. Andrew Seifter. “Why Is Shock Jock Mark Steyn Testifying At A Senate Hearing On Climate Science?Media Matters, December 8, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/HNq1S

  18. Michael Bastasch. “Mark Steyn Will Take On Global Warming Alarmists In Congress,” The Daily Caller, December 4, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/xmOUW

  19. Michael Bastasch. “Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead,” The Daily Caller, May 28, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/9ftpd

  20. Michael Bastasch. “Paper: Global Warming? More Like Global Cooling,” The Daily Caller, March 3, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/tZDKH

  21. Michael Bastasch. “Study: Solar Radiation Has Been Melting Siberian Ice For 7,000 Years,” The Daily Caller, January 28, 2015. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/uKyQX

  22. Anthony Watts. “Study: Siberian permafrost has been warming for 7000 years,” Watts Up With That, January 27, 2015. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2gc0M

  23. Emily Atkin. “Scientist Slams Daily Caller For Distorting His Research To Suggest Climate Change Is Fake,” ThinkProgress, February 2, 2015. Archived March 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NGIka

  24. Michael Bastasch. “DEBUNKED: Study Exposes The Huge Flaws In EPA Science,” The Daily Caller, June 14, 2017. Archived July 13, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/21dRU

  25. Why Do the Kochs Want To Hide Donations From The IRS? The Answer WON’T Surprise You!Daily KOS, June 17, 2016. Archived July 13, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zncCi

  26. Graham Readfearn. “Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism,” DeSmog, June 15, 2016.

  27. Brendan DeMelle. “Tucker Carlson’s 'Daily Caller' Website Bankrolled by Climate Change Denier,” DeSmog, January 12, 2010.

  28. Denise Robbins. “New Book Exposes Koch Brothers' Guide To Infiltrating The Media,” Media Matters, February 17, 2016.

  29. Partner Organizations,” Charles Koch Institute. Archived July 4, 2014. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/qHpZi

  30. Michael Bastasch. “EXCLUSIVE: Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data,” The Daily Caller, July 5, 2017. Archived August 14, 2017.  Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/MniZG

  31. We Fact-Checked a Bogus 'Study' on Global Temperature That’s Misleading Readers,” Union of Concerned Scientists, July 21, 2017. Archived August 14, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/gAIQH

  32. John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy. “The application of machine learning for evaluating anthropogenic versus natural climate change,” GeoResJ Vol. 14 (December, 2017).

  33. Advanced Computer Models Suggest Most Global Warming Is From Natural Forces Photo of Michael Bastasch,” The Daily Caller, August 22, 2017.

  34. Marohasy’s Machine Learning Paper Gets Schooled,” DeSmog, August 27, 2017.

  35. James Delingpole. “Delingpole: Global Warming Is Almost Entirely Natural, Study Confirms,” Breitbart, August 22, 2017. Archived August 23, 2017, Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/xyart

  36. Most of the Recent Warming Could be Natural – Jennifer Marohasy,” Tallbloke's Talkshop, August 22, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/NUEOu

  37. Most of the Recent Warming Could be Natural,” Watts Up With That, August 21, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/2dbTQ

  38. Jennifer Marohasy. “Big data finds the Medieval Warm Period – no denial here,” Spectator, August 22, 2017.

  39. Most of the Recent Warming Could be Natural,” Jennifer Marohasy, August 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/c40SL

  40. Graham Readfearn. “Why the IPA's claim global warming is natural is 'junk science,” The Guardian, August 25, 2017. Archived September 1, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/bb283

  41. This group thinks Trump hasn’t done enough to unravel environmental rules. Here’s its wish list” The Washington Post, November 15, 2017. Archived November 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/9JPgH

  42. Michael Bastasch. “The Real Story Behind The Heartland Institute’s Role In The Trump Admin,” The Daily Caller. November 21, 2017. Archived November 28, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/tCDXt