Network climate change coverage dropped 80% from 2009-2011

Funny, I guess something must have happened to fix the planet so that we might “stay the course” while I wasn’t looking! Suddenly, despite the big “ClimateGate” manufactroversy which should theoretically have driven all sorts of crazy TV coverage, the networks have all but gone silent on the topic.

Since 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a climate bill and a major climate conference took place in Copenhagen, the amount of climate coverage on both the Sunday shows (Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week) and the nightly news (NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and ABC World News) has declined tremendously. This drop comes despite a series of newsworthy stories related to climate change in 2010 and 2011, including a debate over comprehensive climate and energy legislation in the U.S. Senate, a series of record-breaking extreme weather events, notable developments in climate science, the rise of so-called “climate skeptics” in the House of Representatives, and a deal struck at the most recent UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

Apparently Donald Trump got way more coverage. And yet, despite his best efforts, he’s very unlikely to cause economic and humanitarian calamity in the near future.

Worse yet, on those shows, 50% of the guests are politicians (two to one for the Republicans, naturally), 45% media personalities, and 5% “other” which I assume might include actual climate scientists. So almost everyone discussing anthropogenic global warming on the news, during what little coverage the topic gets, actually knows what the hell they’re talking about.

What I’ve learned from MediaMatters’ analysis, hosted on ThinkProgress, is that people no longer care about climate change, even though it’s definitely still happening, and it’s definitely humankind’s fault. Apparently the smokescreen machine put up by the fossil fuel industry and the Party of No Responsibility For Our Actions has succeeded in obfuscating the truth of the climate crisis. I can only hope the pendulum will swing again and people will realize that the longer we wait to take action, the more painful the switch off fossils will be.

Network climate change coverage dropped 80% from 2009-2011

2 thoughts on “Network climate change coverage dropped 80% from 2009-2011

  1. 1

    Meanwhile glaciers melt and disappear.
    More Tyndall gases fill our air.
    In a thousand years,
    We’ll suffer still
    From the efforts of that sort of shill.

    Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating
    Our poor ‘ole planet’s gonna take a beating.
    We really know but wish we don’t
    Easier to blame scapegoats
    Pretend this will just go away,
    If only it could be that way.

    Our planet is in carbon trouble,
    A cauldron boiling, bubbling, smothered.
    Its okay, grandkids will pay
    When we wake up to this one day.

    Arctic sea ice disappearing,
    Species shifting, storms a’veering
    Study follows study, all those science papers
    Ears filled with fingers that’s the caper
    Sing La-la-la-la, just enough.
    Won’t make it vanish, we’re just more stuffed.

    (Someone who knows how to make decent rap videos – be my guest and go ahead. If this can be of any use, make it so.)

  2. 2

    Although I don’t doubt complicity by the fossil fuel industry, I think the news organizations themselves hold the lions share of the blame. News organizations are supposed to make profit (they haven’t been a public service for at least 4 decades now in the US), and the only way to make increasing profits is to jump from controversy to controversy fairly rapidly. Political news (which seems to me to have grown substantially in the last few decades) is proving to be a great self-sustaining model of constantly new twists and turns with the added benefit of being dirt cheap for the new organizations to cover.

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