Same Sad Story of Mainstream Media Climate Coverage: Paralysis

November 28, 2018

In response to last week’s attempted burial of the National Climate Assessment, mainstream media sprung into action with the depressing-as-usual assortment of brainless talking head climate denialists presenting “the other side..”

With some bright spots, it’s still atrocious and unbelievable that a moron like Danielle Pletka, above, an AEI shill, could get anywhere near a purportedly serious discussion of hard science.

Katharine Hayhoe twitter Thread via Threadreader:

Let me share a sad reality. @AC360 asked if I could join them tonight or talk #NationalClimateAssessment. I just arrived at @TED, and I really need to practice my talk, I replied. Please! they said, we will send a car! Ok, I said. It’s important. I will do it. (story continues..)

I get my hair and make up done, we drive across the city, I do the interview, Anderson is lovely, the whole thing takes three hours …. and they don’t air the interview. Instead, they give more airtime to Santorum, so he can to continue to spread disinformation.

I don’t get paid for any of this – but I think he does, doesn’t he? And this is not the first time this has happened. Chris Hayes’ program canceled three times, once when I was literally in a chair with that earpiece in my ear. When @MSNBC called me again this week, I said…

… I would be delighted to talk to you, but in order to be a wise steward of my time, I need a guarantee the interview will air, barring a major disaster, an assassination, or the end of the world. They did not reply.

Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not whining or complaining. I am enormously grateful for any and all media who wants to talk climate, and equally grateful for the opportunity to do so. I talk to high school newspapers, Christian podcasts, and even sports blogs!

But time is the most precious resource we have, and there is not enough to go around – so when we choose how to spend our time, it just makes sense to be sure it will be used profitably and not squandered. 

So twitverse, tell me: what wd YOU do with such requests in the future?

Here, on the plus side,  Anderson Cooper does address the attempt to bury the report on a Black Friday news dump.


So how about getting actual scientists on to answer these questions, guys?
As opposed to lying shills with no science background whatever?


20 Responses to “Same Sad Story of Mainstream Media Climate Coverage: Paralysis”

  1. mbrysonb Says:

    Corruption is a powerful force — see the long read at the Guardian today, regarding trust (in reporting, science, politics etc.). In recent years, trust- especially in the English-speaking world, but not exclusively- has been systematically, deliberately blown up by special interests (consider Trump, Brexit and the disaster of Australian politics’s rush to cruel racism and science denial), Once trust is gone, there’s nothing left but choosing who to ‘present’ on your show, who will draw the bigger audience, be the most entertaining and lively. Trump has been a boon to media in general, and news in particular– neither his supporters nor his detractors can take their eyes off the *hit-show. And there’s a very big audience (deliberately built with help from special interests, real research and media shills) for denial of climate science. Why not drop the scientist and bring on the paid liar, if the paid liar is better for ratings? Of course our civilization may collapse in a few decades, but what’s that got to do with the number written on my next pay check?

    • ecoquant Says:


      Of course our civilization may collapse in a few decades …

      Could be. But, even if it did, I am interested in what happens just before that. Surely, it won’t be a sudden drop off a cliff. There will be some kind of steady worsening. It’s likely that that worsening will include last minute desperate measures to try to arrest deterioration of conditions, done in a chaotic, confused manner, out of failure to understand what’s going on and what’s needed. There’ll probably be some non-negligible amount of finger-pointing, too.

      What’s clear is that if this were to happen, then there would be some singular event, which would, among its many other effects, harm economic infrastructure. So, at the same time that additional expenditures are needed for adaptation to these changes, there would be a need to vastly more aggressively wean off fossil fuels. And there would probably be a need to drawdown atmospheric CO2. The thing is, in these circumstances, I don’t see the latter being economically possible. It’s at the fringe of economic imagination right now, given the US$100/tonne CO2 it costs, even with a vibrant global economy.

      So, this is the painting-ourselves-into-a-corner phenomenon. We’re thrashing around in an ever tightening net.

      Trump and his apologists are popular pablum for a group of people who don’t want the lives and the comforts they’ve known to change. It’s the person whose stock has dropped 30% below where they bought it, and they are hoping it’ll get back to where it was, or the homebuyer who placed a bad bet on a house, dumped a bunch of money into it, and the neighborhood’s prices have receded well below their purchase price. In the end there’s no one to come to their aid, so there’s a collective wish it weren’t so.

      People, including many progressives who accept scientific evidence, just don’t want to hear how bad it could be, might get, and how inadequate the measures that are being taken are in the face of where we are. They want optimism, hope. As Dr Kate Marvel has commented, we need courage, not hope, to face climate change.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Thank you for Kate Marvel’s wonderful essay—-eloquent, even poetic, and puts into words what has been in the back of my mind for years. The more that rational fatalism takes hold, the sooner we may attempt to take positive action before the catastrophe.

        RE: collapse of civilizations, a useful read is THE LONG EMERGENCY: SURVIVING THE END OF OIL, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND OTHER CONVERGING CATASTROPHES OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, James Howard Kunstler, Grove Press, 2005. He thought that the depletion of the planet’s fossil fuels would be the major triggering factor, not foreseeing the impact of fracking, but his description of “what happens” as the end approaches is one of the best I’ve read.

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