President Donald Trump’s statements and actions largely drove the global warming debate last year, consuming the vast majority of broadcast media time devoted to the topic, according to a report released Monday.
The liberal group Media Matters found that “79 percent of the time that corporate broadcast networks spent covering climate change, or 205 out of 260 total minutes, featured actions or statements by the Trump administration.”
Nightly news shows on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox were largely focused on Trump administration statements and actions, and “[v]irtually all coverage of climate change on Sunday shows — 94 of 95 minutes — revolved around the Trump administration,” Media Matters’ report reads.
More than half of major broadcast coverage focused on Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Trump made the announcement in June, pledging to leave an Obama-era agreement to impose new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
More recently, Trump set off reporters when he suggested in a cheeky tweet that record cold temperatures on New Year’s Eve were evidence against manmade global warming. Not long after, Trump said activists no longer call it global warming because it was “too cold.”
Media Matters and other liberal pundits fretted the media’s narrow focus on Trump’s “Paris decision and climate denial” distracted from “[a]ttacks on the Clean Power Plan, auto fuel-economy standards, and other important climate policies.”
“And the corporate broadcast networks often missed important climate stories that did not involve Trump, including developments in climate science and the impacts of climate change on extreme weather, public health, and the economy,” according Media Matters.
Other liberal pundits fretted at the lack of global warming coverage in general, including writer Eric Holthaus who once admitted to seeing a therapist to come to terms with Trump’s 2016 election win.
There was just 4hrs and 20min of coverage on climate change in 2017 — in total — on the four major TV networks.
That is completely unacceptable.
We’re plummeting headlong into one of the greatest challenges in the history of our species and almost no one is talking about it. https://t.co/3v4OS1nHrv
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) February 12, 2018
Media Matters noted that while CBS and PBS led in global warming coverage last year, the group fretted the fact that both networks let “deniers” on air. The group further fretted that network global warming coverage “heavily featured climate denial.”
Nineteen percent of the networks’ climate-related segments mentioned that Trump has called climate change a “hoax,” and 37 percent of those did not rebut that claim by noting the scientific consensus around climate change or affirming the reality of climate change,” according to Media Matters.
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