Today LCV, Sierra Club, and Media Matters for America delivered more than 72,000 petitions to ABC, NBC, and CBS demanding that these stations provide more and better news coverage on climate change.
The petition campaign was launched following a recent Media Matters study which found that last year ABC’s World News aired only one segment on climate change, NBC Nightly News did only four segments, and CBS devoted just seven to this critical issue. That means there were only a combined 12 segments on climate change on the major newscasts in 2012, a year that brought extreme weather including record heat waves, droughts and Superstorm Sandy.
The study also showed the amount of airtime that these stations gave climate change since 2009, and it’s clear that the climate crisis is getting less coverage, not more:
These news programs should connect the dots between climate change and the extreme weather that is causing hardships for families across America. Providing better coverage of the climate crisis and extreme weather events is not only necessary, but shows like PBS NewsHour have already shown that it’s doable.
Last year, PBS NewsHour devoted 23 segments to covering climate change—almost twice as many segments as the other networks combined! PBS NewsHour's coverage included interviews with 29 climate scientists, including NASA scientist James Hansen, who shared his findings that climate change has increased the probability of heat waves, wildfires, and other extreme weather. These segments were compelling and informative, and treated climate change as a reality.
This is in sharp contrast to how the other networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC, cover climate change, because instead of treating it as an issue with overwhelming scientific consensus, they portray it as a “two-sided debate” by bringing on climate-deniers and giving them as much “expert” status as actual climate scientists. This only perpetuates the false debate that polluter-funded think tanks have instigated to cast doubt on whether we should take action to address the climate crisis at all.
This new year shouldn’t bring the same old coverage. We need to continue to stand up for science, and demand that our news networks bring the coverage we deserve—by connecting the dots between the extreme weather and climate change, and providing the American public with the facts: global warming is not a disputed “theory,” it’s a reality.