While scientists are declaring Climate Change a Planetary Emergency, US mass media mention Climate Change less.

America's miasma of misinformation on climate change

According to a stunning analysis by Media Matters, the Sunday morning current affairs shows averaged about one hour each on climate change in 2009, compared to averaging 21 minutes apiece in 2010 and only 9 minutes per program in 2011.

CBS had the least climate change coverage, devoting four minutes to the topic in three years. Altogether, in 2011, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox spent twice as much time discussing Donald Trump's "will he, won't he" run for president rather than climate change. In fact, NBC's Meet the Press devoted 23 minutes to Trump that year – but not a single minute to climate change.

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As Kari Marie Norgaard points out in Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life, not mentioning Climate Change in public is one way denial manifests.

  • Failure to pay attention to the unusual weather,
  • failure to connect that weather pattern to Climate Change,
  • and failure to discuss the issue

are cultural norms of denial which can flourish even when the  individuals privately admit to Climate Change.

Tags: cultural norms of Climate Denial, ignoring climate change

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Replies to This Discussion

Jason Mark notes the decline in media coverage and offers an explanation.

Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone Article Was a Hit — So Why Didn’t It ...

Media coverage of climate change peaked in late 2009, during the Copenhagen summit, and has since dropped off dramatically. The decline in climate change coverage has occurred in both print articles worldwide and television broadcasts in the US. The American media has also done a piss-poor job of connecting the record-breaking heat waves and summer wildfires to climate change.

The media has a hard time wrapping its (herd-like, Borg-like) mind around climate change because climate change is the kind of story that calls into question the foundational assumptions of our economy and society. Unlike many other environmental issues, climate change isn’t just a local concern: clean up this one river, protect this one forest. Nor is it just a technical glitch that can be solved by a little more transparency or a few well-targeted regulations. Climate change, like no other political controversy, reveals the impossibility of having infinite economic growth on a finite planet.

The most lucid take on this comes from Naomi Klein’s 2011 article in The Nation, Capitalism vs. the Climate. Here’s Klein’s main point:

“The fact that the earth’s atmosphere cannot safely absorb the amount of carbon we are pumping into it is a symptom of a much larger crisis, one born of the central fiction on which our economic model is based: that nature is limitless, that we will always be able to find more of what we need, and that if something runs out it can be seamlessly replaced by another resource that we can endlessly extract.”

The media’s built-in bias for staying close to the center of economic orthodoxy isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. So, then, what is to be done? Here I’ll defer to the wisdom of awesome media critic Robert McChesney: Our best bet is to democratize the media. We can’t wait for major media outlets to tell the hard truths about the climate change threat. We have to do it ourselves — with our blogs and our independent media outfits, our NGO newsletters and our dinner table conversations. We can also do it through our social media tools. [emphasis mine]

McKibben’s article was a success because many people are hungry to hear the cold, hard truth about global warming.

US TV covered Biden's smile twice as much as Climate change during presidential campaign.

STUDY: TV Media Covered Biden's Smile Nearly Twice As Much As Clima...

The choice to make the bars point downwards was a good one, here, highlighting the negative of celebrity "news" far overwhelming our survival on this planet.

Mainstream Media Fails Again: Girlfriend Killing Buries Climate Cha...

Mary Ellen Hart points out how even NPR hammers home the athlete kills girlfriend story hourly and relegates the Climate Change Rally and arrests of prominent protestors to an online blog. Many media ignored the climate change rally all together.

The Losers:

* If the NY Times mentioned it anywhere on their site, it was buried - deeply.
* Nothing was found in the LA Times, either.
* Washington Post picked up the AP story and put it in their Courts and Law section - yeah, I consider that buried.
* Ditto for Bloomberg News, which had it cross-posted from one of their blogs into their sustainability section. (Read: If you are really concerned about the environment, here's your daily feed, buried here.)

***The REAL Losers: the US public, and future Americans.

Indeed!

And tell me again about the media's supposed "liberal bias"....

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