Record shattering weather events are becoming more and more commonplace around the planet. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration 2012 will go down as one of the ten hottest years on record since weather tracking began in 1880. Heat waves like the one recently seen in Australia, where temperatures reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit, have set off massive wildfires. Record levels of ice melt in the Arctic have led to rising sea levels.
And, yesterday the Natural Resources Defense Council released an interactive map of the US pinpointing over 3,000 weather records which were broken in 2012. While scientific reports pile up about the undeniable existence of climate change, US media coverage on the issue is diminishing.
A recent study released by Media Matters has found that broadcast news has featured fewer and fewer climate change stories since 2009. While nightly news shows had a slight increase in climate reporting when compared to 2011, climate coverage on Sunday morning talk shows has continuously declined since 2009.
In addition to less coverage of climate issues, the coverage that did occur was markedly partisan. In 2012 there was not a single Democratic politician discussing climate change and in nightly news shows Republicans were quoted 60 percent of the time on climate change. Media Matters also found that not a single scientist was quoted on any Sunday morning talk show about climate change. Instead, these shows turned to media figures and politicians.
Meanwhile in the print world, the New York Times recently decided to dismantle its Environment Desk transferring its 7 reporters and 2 editors into different departments. While the paper announced some cost cutting measures, the decision to eliminate the environment desk is, according to Dean Baquet the managing editor, completely unrelated to financial problems at the paper saying that it was “purely a structural matter”.
Guest: Max Greenberg, Environment & Energy Researcher at Media Matters for America
Visit www.mediamatters.org for more information.
Click here to read the report on media coverage of climate change.