Pat Sajak, the longtime host of "Wheel of Fortune," set off a social media firestorm earlier this week when he took to Twitter to call people who support the science of climate change "alarmists" and "unpatriotic racists," who are "knowingly misleading for their own ends." But yesterday (May 21), the game show hit back at critics, saying his comments were intended as a joke.
"Of course I was joking. Just mocking the name-calling that is directed at global warming skeptics within and without the scientific community," he added later.
There is consensus on the topic within the scientific community, with 97 percent of climate scientists agreeing that climate change is real and that human activities over the past century are causing the planet to warm. Yet, some 23 percent of Americans still believe global warming isn't happening, according to a November 2013 survey conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
A spokesperson for "Wheel of Fortune" said the show had no comment, according to Politico.
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Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.