Tuesday, March 08, 2016

During the Most Important Year for Climate News, TV Coverage Fell

US broadcast network minutes of climate coverage in 2014 and 2015. (Illustration Credit: Media Matters for America) Click to Enlarge.
Media Matters for America has published a report detailing US broadcast news coverage of climate change in 2015, and their findings are stunning.

2015 was a banner year for climate news.  February, June, October, November, and December were each their respective hottest months on record, and 2015 shattered the record for hottest year.  The pope delivered a climate encyclical.  Investigative journalists at Inside Climate News discovered that Exxon knew about the dangers of human-caused global warming while it funded a climate misinformation campaign, and the New York attorney general launched an investigation into the company’s behavior.  President Obama’s Clean Power Plan went into effect, and he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.  And most importantly, 195 countries agreed to cut carbon pollution as much as possible to stem global warming.

Despite all these critically important stories, as in the presidential debates, climate change was largely absent from US broadcast news.  Climate coverage fell in 2015. 

Most of the decline was due to ABC, which only spent 13 minutes in 2015 covering climate change – three times less than even Fox.  While Fox’s coverage increased, most of the network’s climate segments featured interviews with guests who criticized efforts to address global warming.

The Sunday shows (ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday) and the network nightly news programs (ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News) each aired a combined 73 minutes of climate coverage in 2015, down a total of 8 minutes (a 5% decline) from 2014.  The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) NewsHour program aired more segments addressing climate change (58) than the other nightly news shows combined (48).

Read more at During the Most Important Year for Climate News, TV Coverage Fell

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