Will Media Crack the Door on Climate Coverage?
January 14, 2013
With the noteable, glowing exception of the bright, brilliant and essential UP with Chris Hayes, coverage of climate issues, even in this year of searing heat and falling records, continues to be abysmal. Apparently, coverage of the biggest issue of the millennium is not yet considered essential enough to bump Honey BooBoo and Kim Kardashian off the mainstream media.
Could that be changing?
Even In Record-Breaking Year, Broadcast Climate Coverage Remained Minimal. In 2012, the U.S. experienced record-breaking heat, a historic drought, massive wildfires in the West, and Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice extent shattered the previous record low and the Greenland ice sheet saw thegreatest melt in recorded history. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 was the warmest year in recorded history for the contiguous U.S. Yet despite these illustrations of climate change, the broadcast news outlets devoted very little time to climate change in 2012, following a downward trend since 2009:
In Four Years, Sunday Shows Have Not Quoted A Single Scientist On Climate Change. Of those who were asked about climate change on the Sunday shows, 54 percent were media figures, 31 percent were politicians and not one was a scientist or climate expert. This is consistent with a previous Media Matters analysis which found that none of the Sunday shows quoted any scientists on climate change between 2009 and 2011. By contrast, two-thirds of those interviewed or quoted on the nightly news programs in 2012 were scientists. [Media Matters, 4/16/12]
Sunday Shows Obscured Scientific Consensus On Climate Change. Not only did the Sunday shows shut out those who accept the science of climate change, but they also failed to inform their audiences that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and is driven by human activity. Only 11 percent of coverage implied that scientists agree on global warming, while 44 percent failed to correct a guest who questioned the science. By contrast, 60 percent of nightly news coverage alluded to the scientific consensus.